Bob Weir & Rob Wasserman
First Appeared in The Music Box April 1998, Volume 5, #4
Written by John Metzger
I've been waiting a long time for Bob Weir and Rob Wasserman to release an album. Tours were infrequent and more often than not seemed to skip wherever I happened to be living. Tapes are still difficult to come by, and many are horrendous audience recordings that can really test your patience in trying to hear the music behind the hiss and crowd noise. Therefore, I was particularly excited about Live, which more than lived up to my expectations.
Live is as extensive as it can possibly be, filled with 77 minutes of incredible music, most of which was pulled from performances in the Fall of 1988. It's hard to believe that this was the first time that these two talented musicians played together, given how well their sound meshed right from the start. Weir is a tremendously underrated guitar player whose unique lead rhythm style comes to life on these duet performances. Wasserman also has a method of playing that is uniquely his. Together they create an incredibly rich, dynamic sound.
The Winners, a Rudyard Kipling poem that Weir set to music, rides Wasserman's bass line, which at times sounds like more than one person is performing. Weir gives Looks Like Rain a passionate vocal treatment, and his guitar locks with Wasserman's bass to create a subtle undercurrent to the song. It drifts almost effortlessly into a superb rendition of Little Feat's Easy to Slip, which contains an extended beautiful jam, fitting of this classic tune.
Eternity, a song Weir and Wasserman wrote with Willie Dixon, is pulled from a 1992 performance, but fits nicely into Live's composition. Wasserman's bass drives the jazzy central jam, and Weir's acoustic guitar playing adds a gentle counterpoint during the verses. There are many other outstanding performances here as well, including tender renditions of This Time Forever and Shade of Grey. Live was long overdue. Hopefully Ratdog, Weir and Wasserman's latest venture, won't wait quite as long to record an outing of its own.
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 1998 The Music Box