Craig B. (Zonker) from RENTON, WA Reviewed on 6/10/2007...
BMG Club edition
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I Lied and Told them I Love Them
My Uncle Stu | Boston | 05/30/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I forgot about these guys. I recently rediscovered these CDs deep in the recesses of my collection. I took them out, loved them, was suddenly a big Blues Traveler fan again. And then, just like that, it was gone. I tried to listen a second time through a couple days later. And I had had enough. It was a little miniature recapitulation of my original relationship with he group.
There was a time in '91, I think, or thereabouts, when Grateful Dead were having this huge insurgence and the "jam scene" was a new concept. People all around me, all of a sudden, were very into Blues Traveler. They played on my college campus, and then I saw them live a couple times at Red Rocks in Colorado. Good shows. Rolling Stone ran a cover story on the new bands coming up that were modeling themselves on the Dead, as far as focusing on unique, improvisational live performances and allowing fans to bootleg and trade shows. If I remember right, Blues Traveler was the featured band of the new generation, with Phish, Widespread Panic, and the Spin Doctors getting their own blurbs. Good ol' '91.
Popper's singing grated on me a little, that deep quavering vibrato that changes notes so many times on the same syllable that it just becomes waterlogged garbles. But he really is amazing on the harmonica. He sings hard and then he blows hard. Personally, I liked the old fat Popper, not the post-gastric bypass Popper. That's my own selfish thing. I like the idea of the lovable loser guy getting on stage and coming alive with manic intensity. But the gastric bypass is a good operation, I'm happy for him that he's lost the weight.
They're pretty fun for a little bit. But, then, like any small ensemble, their music started to all sound the same. Popper's harmonica is still great, great when he collaborates with other musicians, but the songs got boring.
Thumbs up, high energy live performance. This is good music to keep around deep in your collection, and occasionally bust out. The key for me is little doses. "
Excellent live cd showcases the band at its best
Quentin Xavier | USA | 12/31/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an excellent gem that too few people are aware exists. Everyone remembers Blues Traveler as "that band with Runaround and Hook." Is this a bad reputation to have left on pop music's ever dwindling attention span? Not at all. Is it a disservice to the band's talent? Yes. While both of those songs are great, catchy tunes that deserved every bit of radio play they had, the band's true talent is within their live shows. One of the few jam bands still currently producing music, Blues Traveler is the definition of live charisma. This album is a wonderful example of that charisma.First off, John Popper's harmonica skills are astounding. I'm no expert, but I'd like to see any number of players try and top his diversity, speed and melody. He makes some of Kinchella's guitar parts seem insignificant.Not to say that Kinchella, Sheehan and Hill don't hold their own. This is an excellent band. Sheehan is an excellent bassist, Kinchella is very rythmically incline and holds the songs together nicely with his laid back grooves. He also has some red hot bluesey solos that are pleasing to the ear.This brings us into the music that they've chosen for this double-disc release. The music is so well played, so convincing, so beautifully careless, every bit of it flows together perfectly. A fine example is the "go-low-go" epic on the second disc. This is one of the most exhausting, yet thoroughly satisfying jams I've ever heard. They even manage to throw in Beck's "Loser" for good measure. There aren't too many bands that I can think of that are capable of pulling something like that off.This band is all about musicianship and the love for their live set. This is one of the finest albums I've ever heard, as well as one of the very best live cds in my collection. Popper and the boys are in fine form. It makes me yearn for a chance to see them play. I think I could then die a happy man!"
This CD can't be summed up in one sentence!
Quentin Xavier | 07/28/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wow! This CD is absolutely awesome. While there are a couple small disadvantages to playing live (for instance John Popper is unable to background sing for himself, which can easily be done in studios), there are many more advantages that this band has completely mastered! I've bought live CDs in the past that I didn't think were that great, but this one is actually very cool! Blues Traveler really knows how to improvise and ham it up. I'd reccomend this CD set to anyone. It was an excellent addition to my collection, and it's especially cool if you already own some of their other CDs because then you can really tell how much more great music John Popper and the crew give you with this one. This band really understands music. I love it!"
Great Live Album
Steven Sly | Kalamazoo, MI United States | 10/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Blues Traveler has always been known first and foremost as a live band. This two disc mammoth live recording from the mid-90's captures the band in all of their jamming glory during the pinnacle of their career. I remember back in the early 90's when Blues Traveler was lumped in with Phish and the Spin Doctors as the next big things in the jam band scene. The band reached a phenomenal level of popularity (although never got as big as Phish), but seems to have fallen off the radar a bit in recent years. I have never had the chance to see this band live, but from the performances captured on this CD, they must be killer in concert. I have seen a lot of great harmonica players over the years (Kim Wilson, Fingers Taylor, and Rod Piazza to name a few), but I don't think any of them can touch John Popper. He has a style that is uniquely his own and some of the stuff he plays are on a level that rises far above the pack. This live album has it all and includes the hits "Runaround", "Mountains Win" (now best known for a beer commercial) as well as two songs that were new at the time "Regarding Steven" and "Closing Down The Park" both of which are great tunes. The album also includes several covers including "Imagine", "Low Rider", and "Looser". All of these are done differently from the original versions with Blues Traveler putting their own unique stamp on the tunes. The rest of the album is full of instrumental virtuosity and Popper's warbley vocals mostly done at a breakneck pace. Every member of the band shine continually throughout the two disc set with one frenetic solo after another capturing the essence of what is best about this type of music. All in all this is a fantastic live album and would serve as a great introduction to the band for a newbie."