BLUES TRAVELER: ALIVE WITH PLEASURE

With a healthy 72:13, this live Blues Traveler disc has changed my idea of the new Blues Traveler that re-emerged in 2001. I saw three live BT shows that year, with the new members on bass and keyboards. I loved the new lineup, but I was seriously disappointed with the sound production every time, and mostly with Brendan Hill's drum kit. Since the snare drum had absolutely no commanding 'pop', the drums just sounded like a mushy warm wall of 'thuds'. I actually wrote to the band's manager, in an effort to let the sound crew get their act together because the performances were there, but this did not sound like a professional band. John Popper himself has often said he doesn't like to go to concerts all that much, because he thinks they're boring. I can only say they are past boring when the sound is not there. This brings me to the new CD that has given me the Blues Traveler live 'fix' I never really got last year. Being a fan since 1992, (during a hearty Travelers and Thieves era) there was some 'fixing' to be done.

First is the appropriate title: What You and I Have Been Through. The band certainly has been through enough highs and lows. The start of the CD is a greeting from Popper to the freshly devastated locals of NYC. He proceeds to dedicate a very Hendrix-influenced "Star Spangled Banner" that goes into a high quality "Slow Change." As soon as the 3:00 mark hits, this tune soars, and it's when I knew the rest of the CD would too. The very end of "Slow Change" suddenly (and brilliantly) cuts into a surprise mellow piano jam. Some other highlights include "Pattern." This is one of their strongest songs ever, with the writing as intricate as a progressive rock band, but with a funk meter. Another track that makes this CD a winner is "Rage." It features a very key special guest saxophonist Carl Young, and the tune has a funny paradox as Popper yells "RAGE!!!" that goes into a super jazzy and mellow jam. It works really well!

As a long time fan, I was glad to not see "Runaround" and "Hook" on this CD. The sound is good, and the drums sound like drums again. I recommended this CD for both the hard cores and the beginners that don't know how well Blues Traveler actually jams on stage. (They started as a Miles Davis-Bitches Brew-type band.) I look forward to the next show, and if it's near Wisconsin, I'll see you there!

Peter D'Amore
JamBase | Wisconsin
Go See Live Music!

http://www.bluestraveler.com

[Published on: 12/12/02]

Take full advantage of all JamBase has to offer by signing up for an account!


You'll receive

show alerts

when your favorite artists announce shows, be eligible to enter contests for

free tickets

, gain the ability to

share your personalized live music calendar

and much more. Join JamBase!