Music Journey: Dave Matthews Band – Live Trax Series 1 Review

As you may or may not know, I love Dave Matthews Band. I have set out this summer to listen to and review each of the 20 Live Trax concerts. You can read more here.

Here is the first review:

I forgot how much I dig this Live Trax. Being the first one it had to be one of main reasons that I have continued to buy almost every single Live Trax(all 20 of them) over the course of the last few years when this all started.

According to Wikipedia:

Live Trax Vol. 1 is the first release of the Dave Matthews Band‘s Live Trax series. This two-disc set was released on November 2, 2004 and features the band’s live performance at the former Centrum Centre in Worcester, MA on December 8, 1998.

The show featured songs from all of the band’s four albums at the time: Remember Two Things, Under the Table and Dreaming, Crash, and the most recent Before These Crowded Streets. The five members of the Dave Matthews Band were joined by guitarist Tim Reynolds and keyboardist Butch Taylor throughout the duration of the show. Songs such as “Don’t Drink the Water”, “#41”, and “The Last Stop” featured guest banjo player Béla Fleck in addition to the rest of the band. During “#41,” saxophonist Jeff Coffin from Béla Fleck and the Flecktones guested with Béla and the rest of the band for a 20-minute jam which featured an interpolation of the Flecktones’ song “Sojourn of Arjuna” off the album Left of Cool.

I am more of a DMB fan without Butch Taylor on the keyboard as I like the rock vibe and louder feel to the shows since his departure, but listening to this Live Trax and recently listening the deluxe Weekend On the Rocks 8 CD three night show I have forgotten how he brings a great vibe to the band.

Live Trax brings me back to the days of Leroi and Butch and the vibe is so much more chill and I love it.

Here is the setlist of the show
1 Seek Up
2 Linus and Lucy
3 Pantala Naga Pampa » Rapunzel
4 Satellite
5 Don’t Drink the Water
6 Jimi Thing 7 Stay (Wasting Time)

Disc 2
1 #41
2 So Much To Say » Anyone Seen the Bridge?
3 Too Much
4 Drive In, Drive Out
5 Tripping Billies
6 I’ll Back You Up
7 The Last Stop

This show starts off with Seek Up which is an 18 minute jam to start the show. What an opener! A great start to the show that really gets things going in the right direction.

However, the one downer to this show is the Linus and Lucy jam that follows. I like the little Charlie Brown solo, but not 7 minutes of it. Give me a about a minute or two and then move on to the next song. This is what I don’t miss about Butch Taylor. To me this was 7 minutes of concert time that could have been added to any of the other great songs or more jam time with Bela Fleck.

I like the recovery of PNP into Rapunzel. I know it has been done over and over, but I love this combo and don’t think it will ever get old to me. It just has a great summer vibe. I always sing at the top of my lungs to this one. The drums make me do that dumb finger drum playing thing that we concert goers do when jamming. The little Dave scream at the ~3:50 mark I love! It is the small things that make me love a show.

Satellite is Satellite and you know what you are getting with this song.

However, when he moves into Don’t Drink the Water with Bela……WOW! Love it. Great jam with Bela on the banjo. A great pick up to the show. This is a great song without any guests, but having Bela just makes it better. Then he moves right into Jimi Thing which is a great transition. A 13 minute Jimi Thing jam works at this point in the show. My man Boyd tears up the violin on this song. Not only Boyd, but everyone in the band has their moment of glory to show off their skills. Timmy on guitar, Leroi, and the rest of the crew just jam this song out. I forgot how great this version of Jimi Thing really is. I am moving that song version to my DMB Fave playlist right now.

The show just does not slow down when from Jimi Thing it slides right into another favorite of mine, Stay. But, I must straight to the jam of all jams and of course I am talking about #41.

Bela Fleck joins the crew and this is one of the best jams. I cannot remember what other versions are out there in the LT series, but I don’t know if this #41 jam will be beat. Leroi destroys the brass on this song. You also have Jeff Coffin joining which he shows why he is now added to the live crew after the death of Leroi. Adding a little banjo, Dave on guitar and of course the drumming is top notch quality I am not sure if there is 20 minutes of music that gets any better than this. The little banjo/guitar solo after the 8 minute mark is so cool. It almost makes you want to learn to play the banjo! The last thing I can say about this song is the end when Dave sings his little outro, “Maybe I will…..” Words cannot do this song justice. Yes, this song moved over to my ultimate DMB Setlist playlist. Not sure if it will be topped and not sure where it will end up in my setlist, but I think it will last the next 19 Live Trax listens. Tough to outdo this version.

Quickly moving on to the rest of the show as I have rambled on quite a bit already, the band moves right into So Much To Say with an Anyone Seen The Bridge that I live. So Much is standard with every show, the The Bridge was very cool. I would love to hear this version live. They then move onto another standard of Too Much. Then they pack a one two punch with Drive In Drive Out which I just love the emotion followed by a great Tripping Billies.

He then slows things down with I’ll Back You Up which I love this song. However, I would have liked to see him keep the energy level up with another big one, but I enjoy this song so I cannot complain too much. They then close the show with a stellar The Last Stop. A 20 minute rendition that blows the show up and brings everything to an amazing close.

That sums up Live Trax #1 for me. I am out and ready to move on to Live Trax #2.

Have you listened to Live Trax #1? If so, what are your thoughts? Until Next Time……..

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Music Journey: Dave Matthews Band – Live Trax Series 1-20

Listening to DMB Live Trax 1.

So Good.

My goal is to listen to all 20 live recordings in this series, review them all, and create master playlist.

Let the journey begin.

Dave Matthews Band - Live Trax Volume 1

A great way to start as this concert contains Bela Fleck and Timmy during the year of 1998 which some argue being their best year of touring.

Review coming soon.

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Greatest Package Receieved in Mail This Summer………

Listening to night 2 of this magical weekend of music from last summer when I was able to experience my favorite band, Dave Matthews Band, at Wrigley Field. We had VIP tickets and lived it up good for a weekend.

Finally, to make things even better, they officially released the weekend of music so I have a high quality recording of the two shows to remember them by.

Of course, I had to buy the deluxe package which included a very cool box to store the goodies, a sweet firedancer on the inside with the music, a booklet of photos, and a small press of a picture of the vine with the Dave sign.

You forget how great the band is until you go back and listen to the shows again. As I listen to the music I find the little bits here and there that I did not notice while standing on the field dancing and singing along.

Things just don’t get better than this.

If you know me, then you know that I have literally hundreds upon hundreds of cd’s of Dave from easily over a 100 official releases(I am including each disc as one knowing that one show can be 1-3 discs) to 20 years of bootleg materials. Yes, I have listened to almost of them and yes I am that nerd that listens to find the subtle differences in playing styles, Davespeak, added elements, etc.

This show will always be special to me. Many great stories, great people, great location, and two fantastic shows. These discs are going to be worn out in my car and on my computer and ipod(s).

He played Good Good Time and Last Stop which are two songs I have always wanted to hear in the 18 times I have been to his shows. Now, I just need him to play Halloween.

And I need to find a way to get to the Caravan this summer.

What has been your favorite concert you attended?

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Music Journey: Pearl Jam – Stop #1: Ten – Alive, Why, Black

The journey continues with track #3 “Alive”

This song tells a story. A story that many can relate to. This song slows things up a little bit after the first two jams. This is a sing a long song for sure.

The chorus always has me singing at the top of my lungs “I’m still alive”

The most powerful lyrics come right after the nice little solo piece when Eddie sings:

“Is something wrong?” she said
Of course there is
“You’re still alive,” she said
Oh, and do I deserve to be?
Is that the question?
And if so…if so…who answers…who answers…?

WOW! And to hear Eddie sing these words really makes you want to sit in your bedroom and journal and ponder “Do I deserve to be?” As an adult I don’t have the same thoughts as I did growing up(thank goodness), but these lyrics are still ones to be processed. Who gets to decide?

Don’t forget the unbelievable guitar to end this song. It just builds up and ends with a smack to the face to get you ready for “Why Go”

Why Go probably one of the lesser known tracks on this album, but not any less of a song. Just as Eddie winds down on “Alive” the drums kick in for this track, followed by the guitars and we take off again on another ride. Eddie is angry. The music is angry and it just adds more fuel. Love it and of course you have to sing along with the the line, “Why go home?” And yes another guitar solo and will rock your socks.

From this jam we move onto “Black”. A nice slow, mellow vibe. Acoustic and Eddie to start and just a another song that grabs you and takes you on another little ride.

Sheets of empty canvas, untouched sheets of clay
Her legs spread out before me as her body once did
All five horizons revolved around her soul
As the earth to the sun
Now the air I tasted and breathed has taken a turn
Ooh, and all I taught her was everything
Ooh, I know she gave me all that she wore
And now my bitter hands chafe beneath the clouds
Of what was everything?
Oh, the pictures have all been washed in black, tattooed Everything…

I take a walk outside
I’m surrounded by some kids at play
I can feel their laughter, so why do I sear
Oh, and twisted thoughts that spin round my head
I’m spinning, oh, I’m spinning
How quick the sun can, drop away
And now my bitter hands cradle broken glass
Of what was everything
All the pictures have all been washed in black, tattooed everything…

All the love gone bad turned my world to black
Tattooed all I see, all that I am, all I’ll be…yeah…
Uh huh…uh huh…ooh…

I know someday you’ll have a beautiful life, I know you’ll be a star
In somebody else’s sky, but why, why, why
Can’t it be, can’t it be mine

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Music Journey: Pearl Jam – Stop #1: Ten – Once and Even Flow

The memories this cd brings back to me. I had this on cassette tape. I listened to this tape nonstop all day everyday growing up. I remember singing at the top of my lungs to this tape while in the shower as if the water could help my vocals sound like Eddie Vedder.

Is it not amazing how singing in the shower or car you have those moments when you feel like you are really singing as good as the lead singer?

This album starts off with “Once”

Could you not ask for a better opener with the slow build up to start which is like getting in a little jog to loosen up the joints for a long run. Then, “BOOM” Eddie starts singing and the guitars take off.

“Once upon a time I could lose myself”. Such great lyrics. The ending with Eddie singing, “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” is such a great closer and prepares your for the beautiful track “Even Flow”

I have to pause my music because I cannot listen and type at the same time.

How did I not add “Even Flow” to my favorite PJ song on my earlier post? Am I stupid. This was the song that I used to think I sounded like Eddie.

Once again very simple lyrics that can be read in a multitude of ways.

Freezin’, rests his head on a pillow made of concrete, again.
Oh, feelin’ maybe he’ll see a little better set a days, ooh yeah
Oh hand out faces that he sees time again ain’t that familiar, ooh yeah
Oh, dark grin he can’t help when he’s happy, looks insane ooh

Even flow, thoughts arrive like butterflies
Oh, he don’t know so he chases them away-yeah
Oh, someday, yea, he’ll begin his life again
Life again, Life again

Kneeling, looking through the paper though he doesn’t know to read, ooh yeah
Oh, praying now to something that has never showed him anything
Oh, feeling understands the weather of the winters on its way
Oh, ceilings few and far between all the legal halls of shame, hey

The guitar is awesome in this song. Eddie once again delivers big time. I used to play the guitar during the verse portion of this song. I wish I knew how to play.

As you can tell this cd is a personal favorite of mine. Everyone has those albums that you know by heart no matter how long it has been since the last listen. This album is one of them. For personal reasons and just the fact of growing up this album was always a source of release. (Pause) I love the end solo on this song. Sorry I lost my focus

I will end this post here and continue on with some more thoughts and insights into this album tomorrow.

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Pearl Jam: Reissues and Festival

Oh yes, I want this. Oh yes, I will have this.

You cannot go wrong with Pearl Jam. The guitar, the lyrics. There is so much to the music. Yet, you don’t have to go deep to enjoy PJ.

Since I am broke this summer after a new roof and baby, the Dave Matthews Caravan is out of my summer plans. The three day festival I estimated will cost me about $900 when all said and done.

However, I still need my live music fix. Pearl Jam is going to host a festival. I may have to look into this if they ever unveil the date and location.

I am getting distracted here.

What I want to know is – What is your favorite song and why of Pearl Jam?

My two personal favorites are Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town and of course the blazing song Evolution.

But, Betterman is so unstoppable along with any song from Ten.

I think it is time to start a music journey and go through each album again.

This weekend I will start with Ten. Feel free to join me.

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Hot Music Debate: Guns N Roses – Use Your Illusion 1 or 2: Which is better?

I just want all of my fellow blog friends and viewers that I have been in a constant mind debate over the last 3 days trying to decided which album is better by Guns N Roses

Use Your Illusion 1

Use Your Illusion 2
I will let you know that as of this posting I have listened to each album at least 3 times and closing in on 4. Before I post my final decision you might want to give both a listen and come up with your own choice and rationale. 
This is serious music talk. I cannot stop thinking about this. When something gets stuck in my mind it does not leave until there is resolution.
I will post my final answer in a day or two. Until then listen to two unbelievable fantastic rock n roll albums and possibly one of the best compilations of music ever assembled in the rock n roll era.
Just as heads up, I am looking for other possible albums by other bands to compare. Do you have a good suggestion? Leave it in the comments. 
I love talking music and have not done so on this blog in quite some time.
Just another heads up. I am also working on a list of the best epic songs of all time. I will be following the guidelines from this post to compile my list. Yes, a few GnR songs are in my consideration pool.
Happy music listening!
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Musical Journey: Stop 3 – Ornette Coleman

My next stop is the world of Ornette Coleman. I sat down and listened to Something Else!! I truely mean this when I say that this is not my typical listening. A man with a saxophone. Jazz musical notes flying everywhere. I don’t understand jazz and have maybe listened to one or two jazz records prior to this. There are no vocals, just Ornette tearing up the saxophone. I am not going to try and analyze this album because my lack of jazz knowledge would not do him justice. But, I will say a couple things…..

1. I actually liked this album. For some reason I kept envisioning him playing for the Cosby family and watching Heathcliff “Cliff” Huxtable and Claire smiling and dancing while the family watched before joining in before too long.
2. I listened to the whole album at once so it cannot be that bad if it held my interest.

A couple things about Ornette Coleman(pulled from many websites)
1. Born March 9th, 1930
2. Played the violin, saxophone, trumpet and was also a composer
3. His playing was unorthodox and his playing bothered many musicians and he become controversial for his style of play

Something Else was his first album released in 1958. This album is said to have shaken up the jazz world because he combined blues and jazz together. He did not follow the typical jazz structure of the time and instead began the new jazz concept of free jazz.

Once again, I feel that I have learned to appreciate a new type of music. I am not sure that I will listen to this album again with all the other music available, but glad I took the time to listen to it. Now, I am off to David Bowie Young Americans

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Musical Journey Stop 2: Joni Mitchell – Ladies of the Canyon

Joni Mitchell – Ladies of the Canyon(1970)

This is not my kind of music. However, I am treating each new album with a clear vision, as little of a bias as possible, and then trying to actually sit through the entire album and write what I feel.

As I was listening to the album I came across some info that I was not aware of about old J.M. This was her third album and her first gold album. As I listened to the opening title, Morning Morgantown, all I could feel was waking up in the Spring time to a fog over a lake while sipping decaf green tea and deciding which flowers to place in the vase for the day. I am not being at all sarcastic here as this is a great feeling to have while listening to music during Spring Break.

She covers Woodstock which was also performed by CSN(Crosby, Still, Nash) which many like her version much better. And of course the song Big, Yellow Taxi. This song makes me realize that I am getting old because I first heard of this song when the Counting Crows covered this song a couple years back. I am a huge CC fan. Obviously, I love the CC version better as this is the one that I am more familiar with. However, as other songs are being covered in the pop world today I find myself saying the same thing my parents told me over and over, “That is a cover. The original is so much better. OR Boy, they really ruined a great song.” If you really sit and think about the lyrics to Big, Yellow Taxi you cannot help but feel the need to help the world.

Joni Mitchel does not tour after the release of this album. She spends time writing and painting and the music she crafts during this time will lead to her Blue album which was a huge success. Anyways, back to the album. She adds the piano to almost half of this album where she has proved mastery of another instrument besides her legendary acoustic guitar.

I have to mention that I love the album art. I am a big visual person and I always gauge a cd or vinyl by the artwork. I think it is such a cool image. I get the sense of a simple person on the outside who has a whole world of knowledge to share from the inside.

All in all, a good album. I am sure that this was a big hit around certain circles during this time. A few songs stood out to me, but some of them I would probably never listen to again. I digged Morning Morgantown, Big Yellow Taxi, and Woodstock. I am glad I gave this a listen. It opened my eyes to some more of her music and once again reminded me that great music exists all over the time spectrum and an electric guitar is not always necessary.

On a side note, this was a drastic change from my first stop with Frank Zappa. I am still processing his albums that I purchased.

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Musical Journey Stop 1.1: Frank Zappa – Apostrophe

Apostrophe was released by FZ in 1974. This was his 18th studio album release. How many did he release?(let me Google…..80 albums is the most common answer with 57 alive and 23 after his death. He had success with his single, “Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow” which runs right into Nanook Rubs It on the album. Once again the lyrics are as bizarre as Sheik Yerbouti. I understand why Amazon recomended this album after my interest in Sheik Yerbouti. I must admit that he is not my typical music, but ever since I heard Sheik Yerbouti I cannot stop listening and reading about his guy. His music is not something you can just pop in your car on your way to work. You have to almost study it, listen to it several times to absorb everything that is going on. There are several layers of music taking place. What I like about Zappa the most is when he just plays music. His lyrics are great at first when listening to see what he will talk about next(protecting a pet seal while singing about Nanook), but they can quickly lose the “shock” value. What I love most is his guitar. Take Apostrophe for example. He really just plays and tears up the guitar. I love it. Then he moves on to the next song and it is so different, but enjoyable(this would be referring to Uncle Remus).

This album was the one that moved him from cult like status to general mainstream. How can you not find yourself wanting to hear a song called, “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow”? Upon reading about this album many critics say this album along with Over-Nite Sensation are both examples of Zappa going back to Mother of Invention form(I have not listened to enough of the early stuff to comment on this). Once again Zappa hits upon society in his lyrics. The song Uncle Remus(which I had no idea was the name of a character in the Disney film, Song of the South). He questions the civil rights movement and makes it clear(through his bizarre lyrics) that there is still much work to do to bring equality up. What was even more controversial at the time was not his music, but his band as he had women, Hispanics, African-Americans, and Caucasians all together.

Well, after listening to this album four times straight and reading lyrics and researching online this is what I came up with. Take it or leave it, but I am not done with Frank. I have many more albums to discuss because he has now become my little side project on this Musical Journey project(hence the label 1.1 instead of 1.5). I hope you enjoyed and will see you later, alligator.

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