Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Random Review #26 Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds - Live In Las Vegas

C4R11CD14 Before I start I must confess I LOVE THE MUSIC OF DAVE MATTHEWS with or without the band. At my last count I have 37 Dave Matthews CD’s 26 of which are live recording, a number of which are box sets,  half a dozen live DVD’s  you get the picture don’t you..........

I’m a lightweight in comparison to most DMB fans just look at the websites Ants Marching and Dancing Nancies to understand the dedication of his fans.
Whenever I go to see Dave Matthews play it never ceases to amaze me the number of fans from North America that are travelling round Europe to see all the shows and do this on a regular basis.
 The one time I saw Dave Matthews play without his band was in Newcastle City Hall, which holds about 1500 people I would go as 75% of the audience were American, amazing but slightly weird! 

So to the music, the band experience you get with DMB is usually three hours of extended jams of songs that could last 5 minutes or could last 20 minutes depending on the mood of the band, off the wall covers, as well a set list that will change every night, and could change half way through the set, guests that come and play and an all round good time if you like that sort of thing! As much as I adore this band I am yet to find anybody else I know who likes the band, much as I try to convert, I think they are like Marmite, you either love them or hate them and everybody I know hates them!

So onto the solo recording, (with Tim Reynolds) Dave Matthews loves playing music and tours/plays gigs all the time. (They are supposed to be having a year off this year, but have just announced four 2 day festivals to be held across America in the summer with The Dave Matthews Band headlining each night) So he often plays gigs with his good friend Tim Reynolds (now part of the band I think) for fans, for fun, and for charity. I have 3 live records of Dave and Tim concerts and have been lucky enough to see them play once. This recording is the newest of the three I have.  The release of this album was significant in that it was the first live recording of material from their last studio album Big Whiskey and the Groo Grux King.

When Dave plays solo you get a much closer rendition of the songs as they are not stretched to include jams, the songs are stripped down two guitars and one voice, and on this recording this works beautifully for most of the recordings.

The tracks cover all over Dave’s body of work covering most of the DMB studio albums his solo album and also tracks that as yet haven’t been recorded. Dave has no beef with people recording concerts and sharing them online, in fact in the early days used to allow fans to plug into the mixing desk to get a better quality! I read an article where he said that this allowed him to build his fan base prior to having a record deal and therefore gave him a stronger bargaining tool when negotiating with the record company. 

This recording showcases a lot of the newer material and listening to it, I have to say that some of it doesn’t work as well as when played with a full band. I would never have said that of previously recording but songs like Funny the Way It Is and Shake Me Like a Monkey are stronger when the band plays them.
Having said that there is much to love on this recording, Alligator Pie, wrote for his Daughter Stella which has the great line of “Daddy when You Gonna Put Me In A Song” after his other daughter Grace was name checked in Grace is Gone. Tim chips in with a couple of instrumental pieces which so case his undeniable talent however add very little to the album. It also included the beautiful Christmas Song, my favourite Christmas song ever. (Christmas play lists don't have Band Aid and Slade in my household!)
I always find that Dave’s enjoyment of playing live comes across on all of his recording and although this is my least favourite of the three solo recordings I have, it is still great. 

If you haven’t heard Dave Matthews before I would check out the latest studio album Big Whiskey and The Groo Grux Klan or his greatest hits The Best of What’s Around which has a studio and Live disc so you can get a feel about what they do. 

The video is from the Las Vegas concert and is Christmas Song and is brilliant (but then I would, coming from a guy who has a Dave Matthews Band bottle opener!)

Mark 7/10

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