Tim | Shenandoah, IA USA | 09/01/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"My first reaction to Live: What You and I Have Been Through was - is my hearing failing? The album sounds like what I would imagine a bootleg recording to sound like. If that is what you are in to, then plunk down the change. If you are expecting a full range of sound and a well mixed recording capturing nuances that make up for not being there, then buy another album. If this were the first exposure I had to Blues Traveler it would have been the last. Don't let this be the first BT work you buy."
Blues Traveler Breaks Out a Few Interesting Grooves Here
vhodgkinson | Plantation, Florida United States | 08/25/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Live is good for Blues Traveler - gives it the open-air feel of a bluegrass outfit jamming at the All-American tradition of fairs and festivals. And all-American seems to be what BT wants to symbolize, not only in carrying on the American Blues tradition, but also in starting this album with the national anthem. John Popper gives an impressive echoey rendition that leaves listeners no choice but to see him, perhaps as he sees himself, as the Jimi Hendrix of harmonica. No doubt, he puts harmonica where it's never been, evident in the album's last track recorded with Radioactive, "The Path." Punctuated with instantly gratifying scratches, punchy drums, and straight up funky rhythms on bass and guitar that make your gut do flips. One wishes the whole album were like this.In reality, Blues Traveler wavers in and out of musical brilliance. The improvisations, though technically deft, run uncomfortably Phishy in length and direction, which just gets boring after a while. And then there's the tempo problem - what's the hurry, man? Cramming as many notes and lyrics into as little time as possible brings out the 90's signature whine-on-speed in Popper's voice. Though every note is clearly and harmoniously reached and arguably upbeat, it still sounds too rushed. When BT does manage to slow down a little, they play oh-my-god amazing. The Kinchla brothers on bass and guitar have a great precision and a grounding, funky style, and not enough praise can be given to Ben Wilson on keys, adding a depth and jazz dimension to the group's sound. And in the spirit of collaboration, Blues Traveler does not skimp in showcasing their talent throughout several intros, solos, and duets. See track 7, "Back in the Day" and track 9, "Lost Me There" for B3 magic, and track 8, "Rage," for yummy smooth soulful groovy everything.Musically, Blues Traveler is evidently moving in the right direction - they just need continue developing into the New Blues Traveler to avoid sounding like they're imitating themselves, not an easy thing to do with a frontman as distinct as John Popper."
Nice for fans, but rather superfluous
R. Josef | New Haven, CT United States | 06/28/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The second of Blues Traveler's live albums, this seems to be sort of a desperate stopgap release. The title seems to refer to a number of recent traumas for the group -- 9/11 (hence, "The Star-Spangled Banner"); the death of original bassist Bob Sheehan; John Popper's health issues; and the loss of their record contract after the failure of the "Bridge" album.
Still, if nothing else, this CD proves that the group has survived with their musicianship intact. Unlike "Live from the Fall", none of the group's sprawling jams are documented. However, a bunch of the songs, such as "Rage", "All Hands" and "The Path" are extended, allowing lots are opportunity for solos. Popper's harmonica is more prominent on the songs from "Bridge" then it was on the studio versions. Funk influences show up here, an element the band hadn't explored all that much before. Guest Carl Young adds some cool sax riffs to "Rage"
You do have to credit the band for not pandering to its audience with the song selection (At the end of "All Hands", the track fades just as the band strikes up "Runaround"!). The five songs from "Bridge" are looser and less slick than the originals, so that is a plus. Besides our National Anthem (an impassioned, mournful harmonica solo), there are two other songs that have never appeared before on a BT CD -- "Pattern", which Popper also did live with his side project, Frogwings; and "The Path", a track from an unfinished album which the band only released through its website. The contains the weakest points of the album -- stupid attempts at rap by someone calling himself "RadioActive", and the track fades out before it's done.
Still, you do get the feeling that the band just put out the CD to keep themselves in view. It's a solid release, but not necessarily representative of their best live or studio work. Other albums would be a better starting point for new fans, but try this out if you like what you've heard on "Straight on Till Morning", "Bridge" or "Live from the Fall".