September 19th, 2007
Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds
Live at Radio City
By Shane Handler
Recorded April 22, 2007 at New York City’s famous Radio City Music Hall, this two disc set (also available on DVD) captures Dave Matthews and habitual collaborator Tim Reynolds in their big venue glory, apart from their famed Luther College show from 1996, previously released on CD. The twenty-five songs captured on Live at Radio City cover most of Matthew’s career – and from the very first track, “Bartender,” it’s perfectly clear why this Dave and Tim thing is so successful. Reynolds’ oddball turnings give Matthew’s compositions an unpredictable energy alongside his emotive vocals.
The pensive “Stay or Leave” blossoms with Reynolds’ delicate leads, alongside new numbers like “Old Dirt” and longtime staples “Dancing Nancies” and “#41.” The jabberwocky vocals of “Save Me” and the redneck pokes on “Cornbread” lighten the mood, but the banter of military benefits to our vets comes miss-directed.
Another DMB song you love to hate, “Crazy,” sounds pretty damn good with Reynolds’ fiery guitar work intertwined. Matthews puts a unique spin on Neil Young’s “Down by the River,” with his spastic vocals and of course not to be ignored is Reynold’s novel guitar work. He shines on the aforementioned song and on his solo numbers – “Betrayal” and “You are my Sanity.” There are a few throwaways (“Sister” and “Out of My Hands”) but where “Lie In Our Graves” begins formulaic, the song bursts into a crazy mid-tune improv, to an appreciative and roaring crowd.
Say what you want about the Dave Matthews Band, and their rah rah “Ants Marching,” frat rock clap-a-longs. Stripped to the bone, you’ve got one of the best singer-songwriters around. Live at Radio City is further proof.