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Listener Supported

music reviewmusic reviewmusic reviewmusic review  out of 4 Music Review: Listener Supported

Artist: Dave Matthews Band
Genre: Rock/Pop
Release Date: November 1999

Review by SShepard
4 stars out of 4

This latest double live album release from the Dave Matthews Band, is an engaging and delightful example of the appeal of the Charlottesville, Virginia five piece. The album's clever title pays homage to the rabid brethren who have been packing in arenas and amphitheaters since 1995 and thrive off the spontaneity and energy of the band's smooth and unique sound. Much like 1997's "Live At Red Rocks", "Listener Supported" showcases the band's snappy pop numbers, Mr. Matthews clever and thoughtful lyrics, and the ever present under-currents of a jazz band hard at work.

The album gets off to a ripping start with Rapunzel and also drops the first hints as to the real star of this show, horn player Leroi Moore. Mr. Moore's sax playing for the ending "jam" is sultry and smooth with the rest of the band popping and snapping to a glorious climax. #41, a fan favorite, is a testament to Mr. Moore's flexibility as he swiftly maneuvers between a flute and his saxophone. His nearly four minute sax solo is breezy and in perfect harmony with the always changing tempo of Carter Beauford's drumming.

Mr. Moore also gets cooking on Jimi Thing, which is lyrically a clever ode to nature's finest herb. The groove is part soul, part funk, and Mr. Moore takes his time whipping his sax into a frenzy of high notes and nearly bringing down the house. Both #41 and Jimi Thing are off Disc 1. Other standouts of Disc 1 are Crash Into Me which features the band building slowly to a downright sexy peak while Mr. Matthews sweetly sings his heartfelt pleas for attention as well as #36, a groovy mellowed out improvisational number.

Disc 2 is almost as engaging as the 1st but it certainly doesn't start out that way. Too Much, one of the band's most recognizable radio songs is a bore as is the following True Reflections. Violinist Boyd Tinsley is successful with the lead vocals on True Reflections but the song is lacking the playful energy of the other songs. One of the strangest enigmas of the album is Two Step, a down-home stomp in 6/8 time with a call for everyone to celebrate. The song rails with passion until the ending jam, which is given to supporting keyboard player Butch Taylor. Taylor's stiff playing causes the song to meander to an almost dead halt before Mr. Beauford can save it with a knock your socks off drum fill that lasts in the neighborhood of 1 minute and 10 seconds. The rest of disc 2 is the band at their finest. Granny swings with catchy harmony as does the set closer Stay, and the band turns in a powerful and grinding version of Don't Drink the Water. Water moves the band into great issue oriented song territory as vocally it's sung from the point of view of the greedy, slave-owning, white man and chronicles the banishment of the Native American Indian off North American soil. However the crown jewel of Disc 2 is a cover of the Johnny Cash song Long Black Veil. Mr. Beauford provides an eerily catchy backbeat and the musicians gel perfectly for a dark and beautiful tale. In the right kind of mood Long Black Veil can move you to tears. The album closes with a nod to Bob Dylan with a ferocious version of All Along the Watchtower.

"Listener Supported" is not for everybody but it should be. It's refreshing to listen to 5 musicians as opposed to pretty faces and loud guitars. With yet another live album and sold out tour after tour the Dave Matthews Band are moving, dare I say, into Grateful Dead territory in appeal. Are the Dave Matthews Band the Dead? Obviously not but they don't have to be. The times are different as well as the players but the appeal is the same. It's about the joy and release of great live music and "Listener Supported" is a celebration of it.

Track Listing, DISC 1: Intro, Pantala Naga Pampa, Rapunzel, Rhyme or Reason, The Stone, #41, Crash Into Me, Jimi Thing, #36, Warehouse

Track Listing, DISC 2: Too Much, True Reflections, Two Step, Granny, Stay (Wasting Time), #40, Long Black Veil, Don't Drink the Water, Intro To All Along the Watchtower.

The writing of individual authors is the property of their respective owners and is used here with permission. Please do not duplicate their work or distribute it in any form without the prior written consent of the author.

Reader Feedback

great review! This guy is right on the money with his comments about this album.    --jc lebowski III

This review's got great I feel even worse that I passed on the tix to see the live show.    --Toni Fav

Stellar review! SShepard has his finger on the pulse of not only the band, but on the music itself. Superb!    --Kilgore Trout



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