My day has already started off on a rather disturbing note following my 5500m swim (click HERE) so this evening I’ve doing absolutely everything in my power to erase this image from my memory bank with two hours of good ‘ol tempo spinning at the St. Catharines YMCA. It’s likely not going to happen and I’m only going to end up with a wire test tube brush up my nose when I get home in a desperate attempt to scrub the image out of my brain pan altogether but for the time being, this spin and the ‘Live at Luther College‘ album by Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds will have to do.
After the bootleg industry was revolutionized by CD’s in the late ’80s, it seemed that every contemporary recording artist had at least one bootleg on the market. It wasn’t that studio outtakes were suddenly available – it was just that it was easier than ever to record, press, and distribute live concerts. Rock bands who jammed, whether they were hard rockers like Pearl Jam or noodlers like Phish, were in particular demand since, as the adage goes, no two shows were exactly alike. Given this insatiable appetite for new live records, it’s a wonder that more artists didn’t make like Dave Matthews and launch a series of official releases of notable live shows. It especially makes sense in Matthews’ case, since his band sounds better and is more adventurous in a live setting than it is in the studio, as the first installment, ‘Live at Red Rocks‘, illustrated.
This is that albums follow-up.
However, instead of featuring the band, it’s Matthews alone acoustically, supported by his friend, session guitarist Tim Reynolds. The double-disc album was culled from the duo’s 1996 tour, and not surprisingly, the bulk of the material focuses on Matthews’ first two albums for RCA. What is surprising is that the songs arguably sound better in this setting, since all of the group improvisations are stripped away, leaving the songs to speak for themselves. Accordingly, Matthews isn’t nearly as eccentric in his vocal tics, letting the music flow simply and engagingly. It’s easily my favorite Dave Matthews offering with the results being as entertaining as they are engaging; ‘Minarets‘, ‘Typical Situation‘ and ‘Warehouse‘ being the best examples by far.
And, thank Christ! too, given that if it were any less engaging I’d still be still here in the spin studio looking out across the gym floor mentally fixating on the eyeful of old man dick I received this morning. From here, I’m going home to eat steak, watch ‘Big Brother Canada‘ and, hopefully, a quick session of “hide the salami” with the wife before bedtime.
Here’s hoping anyway…