It is comforting to know live albums have not vanished completely from today’s music scene. With their unique sound, live albums create an ambiance that makes listeners feel like part of the concert experience.
Although a live album is rumored to be in the making for the Dave Matthews Band, it has yet to be released. In the meantime, fans can satiate their desire for live Dave Matthews with his latest release, Live At Luther College (RCA). On the album, Matthews only performs with his good friend, Tim Reynolds. The album was released Jan. 19, the same day Matthews and Reynolds kicked off their acoustic tour.
The album features the 1996 acoustic performance of the two musicians at the CFL Theatre in Decorah, Iowa. The two-disc set consists of 23 songs, three of them previously unreleased. Live At Luther College is Matthews’ second live album, however it is his first live release with Reynolds.
Live At Luther College brings together many popular DMB tunes, along with some unreleased songs true fans will appreciate. The album features familiar tunes such as “Satellite,” “Crash,” “What Would You Say,” “Ants Marching” and “Two Step.” But the album also focuses on Matthews’ earlier songs such as “One Sweet World,” “Minarets,” “Seek Up” and “Halloween.” Although long-time fans automatically will recognize the unreleased songs “Deed is Done,” “Little Thing” and “Granny,” those fans who do not know them will be in for a treat.
Reynolds’ popular song “Stream” is a worthwhile addition to the album. Although he does not sing, he is an extremely talented guitar player. He contributes to many of DMB’s albums and recently appeared as a guest artist with the band, as it wrapped up its 1998 U.S. tour in the fall.
The overall quality of the album is excellent, mixing together Matthews’ luring voice with his and Reynolds’ abilities on acoustic guitar. Many live recordings tend to eliminate the down time that occurs between the songs during the concert. But Live At Luther College is recorded in its entirety, even the “Davespeak” – Matthews’ little anecdotes and moments of comic relief before and after songs. The inclusion of these tidbits elevates the album to a level many live albums fail to reach.
Matthews and Reynolds play at small venues that normally house between 2,000 and 3,000 people, so it is not surprising that their performances consistently sell out. The talent and dedication of the DMB and Reynolds is undeniable and overpowering. Their popularity proves that they have earned their much deserved respect and have found their niche in the music industry.