What You and I Have Been Through
First Appeared at The Music Box, December 2002, Volume 9, #12
Written by John Metzger
Blues Travelerís recent album Bridge should have erased any doubts that the band was back and at the top of its game. However, those desiring proof that the groupís concert performances have also suffered little since the passing of bassist Bobby Sheehan need look no further than What You and I Have Been Through, the first in what promises to be a regular series of live recordings. Thatís not to take anything away from Sheehan, whose untimely death ó another rock ínĎ roll tragedy ó left some might big shoes to fill. But Tad Kinchla has done much more than just an admirable job, allowing the band to continue without skipping a beat.
For the record, more than half of What You and I Have Been Through features songs that also appear on Bridge. But like any jam band worth its weight in gold, Blues Traveler blows them wide open, offering different interpretations that are as good ó if not better ó than the originals. Most notable is an expansive rendition of Rage, on which guitarist Chan Kinchla and guest saxophonist Carl Young intermingle solos over the songís writhing rhythm. Equally strong is an intense coupling of You Lost Me There and All Hands as well as a powerful pairing of Carolina Blues and the previously unavailable tune Pattern.
Nevertheless, What You and I Have Been Through isnít without its share of oddities. Despite the many tremendous versions of Blues Travelerís songs that are contained on the album, itís not as cohesive a concert document as the bandís two-disc set Live from the Fall. Indeed, as All Hands begins to mutate into Run Around, the song fades out. Granted, the world might not need another take on this overplayed, yet classic tune, but the abrupt ending is a bit jarring, to say the least. Likewise, the discís final cut (a hip-hop rendition of The Path, featuring Radioactive) drifts off into silence before reaching its conclusion. No doubt, both of these edits were designed to fit as much quality music as possible onto this 72-minute album, but in both cases, the listener is left hanging mid-groove. That might not be a problem for some bands, but for one such as Blues Traveler, whose fans tend not to ignore the music but to sink into it as itís happening, this is akin to climbing Mt. Everest and stopping before one can catch the view from its summit. Still, What You and I Have Been Through succeeds, in spite of itself, as a testament to the potency of Blues Travelerís legacy.
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2002 The Music Box