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Live at Radio City Music Hall

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Review

In some ways, two and a half hours of acoustic Dave Matthews with Tim Reynolds seems like it would be a snore -- especially since a boatload of these 27 songs range between five and nine minutes! The Dave Matthews Band can get away with such excesses as a group, but in this intimate setting on such a large stage? It's either truly wonderful or something of an exercise in intense ego run riot, right? To be fair, this is not a snore. Reynolds is a hell of a guitarist. He is not one given to random excess and never pretends to be a guitar hero -- though he is. The program is simply that this pair brings out Matthews' tunes from both the DMB and his solo recording and plays them for an audience full of adoration and gratitude. And, for the most part, it works. The opening blues moans that introduce "Bartender" let the listener know that this is no ordinary acoustic show. Renditions of "Crush," "Gravedigger," "Some Devil," and "Crash into Me" are gorgeously done here. There is a conviction in Matthews' voice that is missing on a lot of the band's live records. Likewise, "Grace Is Gone" and the cover versions like Neil Young's "Down by the River," Daniel Lanois' "The Maker," and Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" are also wonderfully done. There is also a new song called "Sister" that Matthews overly explains, but the song's terrific. There are a few dull moments, but over the entire course of this set they are actually few and far between -- unless Matthews' voice gets to you after a while, and then perhaps you're in trouble. When Matthews is lazy (and he often is), the results can be samey sounding -- but he's not here. He understands implicitly that his singing is more important than it is with the DMB, and it needs to carry the weight. Reynolds adds so much in terms of color and texture -- whether he's playing straight, using effects, playing slide, or inventing some new scale to play a solo in, he transforms what might be merely intimate and engaging into something (mostly) compelling. Even the nine-plus-minute "Dancing Nancies" works like a charm because Reynolds is able to create an alternate voice with his lead guitar playing. His solo on Young's "Down by the River" actually mimics (on acoustic guitar) the songwriter's, by going into a somewhat extended single-note hammer until it becomes trancelike -- he could just as easily have shown off. For Matthews fans, this is essential. For those on the fence about Matthews, this is document enough to win you over to his talent as a songwriter -- without spending the fruitless time that DMB recordings take up. For those who liked Some Devil, his solo effort, this document will provide further enjoyment. It's as solid as an extended presentation can be and is, for the most part, thoroughly enjoyable. The great contribution it does provide is to demonstrate what a guitar-picking wonder Reynolds is, even more so than on earlier collaborations between these two. Somebody should sign this guy up, and quick. ~ Thom Jurek
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Bartender Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 8:27
  3. 2 When the World Ends Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 4:13
  4. 3 Stay or Leave Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 4:9
  5. 4 Save Me Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 4:41
  6. 5 Crush Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 7:54
  7. 6 So Damn Lucky Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 6:51
  8. 7 Gravedigger Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 4:19
  9. 8 The Maker Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 5:16
  10. 9 Old Dirt Hill (Bring That Beat Back) Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 5:49
  11. 10 Eh Hee Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 5:0
  12. 11 Betrayal Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 5:31
  13. 12 Out of My Hands Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 5:22
  14. 13 Still Water Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 2:22
  15. 14 Don't Drink the Water/This Land Is Your Land Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 6:9
  16. 1 Oh Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 5:7
  17. 2 Cornbread Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 4:36
  18. 3 Crash into Me Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 6:4
  19. 4 Down the River Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 5:45
  20. 5 You Are My Sanity Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 5:57
  21. 6 Sister Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 3:44
  22. 7 Lie in Our Graves Dave Matthews Band 8:53
  23. 8 Some Devil Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 5:11
  24. 9 Grace Is Gone Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 4:12
  25. 10 Dancing Nancies Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 9:3
  26. 11 #41 Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 5:47
  27. 12 Two Step Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds 6:28

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