Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds - Live In Las Vegas

Dave and Tim are back for the third go round of live acoustical music. Following up on the exceptional Live At Luther College and Live At Radio City, Live In Las Vegas continues in the vein of excellence set by their previous live recordings. Two men, two guitars, one amazing night of music, all captured live for your listening pleasure.

Live In Las Vegas follows the tradition of Dave and Tim pounding out the hits, reinterpreted in acoustical form. This time around, the latest tracks from Big Whiskey are included along with standard favorites, a fine remake of Kashmir, a lot of Dave’s solo stuff, and a new song. Once again, another fine recording from start to finish has been captured.

The two disc set opens with a great version of Eh Hee, the song that’s been performed live, but never put down on a studio record. The acoustical version of this song is strong and captures the essence of the lyrics much more than the full band version. It is a great opener to this set.

The new songs from Big Whiskey sound amazing stripped down. Squirm is more powerful without the drums and horns, and Shake Me Like A Monkey focuses on the vocals and lyrics, allowing this song to really grow in the acoustical form. The Big Whiskey tracks alone are reason enough to buy this set, but there is so much more packed into it than that.

The classic standards, Dancing Nancies, One Sweet World, Bartender, and the always amazing Two Step sound as incredible as ever and most of the songs (Bartender is the exclusion) have been on both previous Dave & Tim albums, yet they still sound fresh and exciting on Live In Las Vegas.

The new song, Little Red Bird, is decent but not one of the best Dave Matthews songs ever. I could live with or without this track. As usual, the lyrics are deep and meaningful, but the song lacks a punch or a chorus that would pull it all together. Perhaps it’s because we’re hearing it for the first time in an acoustic format.

As usual, Dave’s solo stuff gets spotlighted here, and it’s a great forum for his incredible solo songs that understandably don’t get much attention during the full band live shows. Stay Or Leave, So Damn Lucky, Save Me and Some Devil all sound as excellent as they have on Dave & Tim discs past. The one disappointment of the solo stuff is that there was no performance of Grey Blue Eyes. That is my favorite song from Some Devil and I would love to hear how Dave & Tim would play it.

Tim Reynolds does a solo version of the classic Led Zeppelin song, Kashmir, and it is jaw dropping. Listening to this song and realizing that it is just one man on the guitar is mind boggling. It shows how talented Reynolds is. He is an incredible guitarist that should be mentioned with the greats.

Overall, Dave & Tim have released another exceptional acoustic concert for fans to enjoy. If you don’t own any of the Dave & Tim recordings, this is a great one to start with. If you own them all, this needs to be added to your collection. A superb gallery of songs played by two incredible performers, Live In Las Vegas is definitely a big winner.

Ryo’s Rating: 9 (out of 10)

Track Listing
Disc One:
Eh Hee
Dancing Nancies
Grace Is Gone
Alligator Pie
One Sweet World
Loving Wings
Grey Street
Kundalini Bonfire
Christmas Song
Funny The Way It is
Stay Or Leave
Shake Me Like A Monkey
Lying In The Hands Of God

Disc Two:
So Damn Lucky
Little Red Bird
Save Me
You & Me
Some Devil
Typical Situation
Two Step

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