Live from the Fall
First Appeared in The Music Box, February 1997, Volume 4, #2
Written by John Metzger
Blues Traveler's latest release Live from the Fall is a collection of material recorded throughout their 1995 Fall tour. The selections do a fantastic job of displaying the band's various musical styles and capturing the feel of their best concerts. The first set kicks off with a powerful Love and Greed with John Popper's high-spirited harmonica solos leading the way. Mulling It Over picks things up another notch as Popper, guitarist Chan Kinchla, and bassist Bobby Sheehan offer a trio of tight-fitting and overlapping solos. This leads to the previously unreleased Closing Down the Park — a slow, bluesy song which makes a political statement. There's a pair of scorching solos from Popper and Kinchla, followed by a haunting and eerie blast of feedback from Kinchla which will take you by surprise. Regarding Steven makes an appearance here as well. This one was previously available on the CD single of Run Around. Regarding Steven is an excellent ballad from Popper, whose vocals really shine on this song. Other highlights from the first disc include a delicate take of 100 Years with a powerful guitar solo from Kinchla, a kick-ass Gina with two jams that threaten to distort into total chaos, a Grateful Dead-inspired But Anyway, which is reminiscent of Fire on the Mountain (check out Sheehan's bass playing!!), and an incredible version of Mountain Cry that concludes the set. If the rest of this disc doesn't get you, this rendition of Mountain Cry will carry you away with its Allman Brothers-meet-Led Zeppelin's Since I've Been Loving You-atmosphere.
The second set opens with Alone, which has really grown over the years and fits quite nicely in a set-opening role. The song creeps in but quickly builds in intensity as Kinchla takes over with a spiraling guitar excursion. Sheehan also gets a chance to solo and delivers a tasty, bouncing bass line. But it's Popper's exquisite vocals that make this 16-minute version rise above the rest. Popper's vocals also transform The Mountains Win Again into a stellar work of art, and Kinchla only adds to the emotions of the song with his guitar playing. The popular concert trilogy of Go Outside and Drive, Low Rider, and Run Around appropriately appears here in fine form as Popper and Kinchla playfully toss in bits of Soul Man, Send in the Clowns, the Peanuts theme, Beck's Loser, and Inch Worm. Live from the Fall concludes with a beautiful cover version of Imagine, which the band recorded for the John Lennon tribute album (Working Class Hero: A Tribute to John Lennon a few years ago. Throughout the two-disc set, the band has never sounded tighter; its playing is better than ever; and it packs an amazing amount of emotion and intensity into each performance.
Live from the Fall is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 1997 The Music Box