5 out of 5
Produced by: ?
Culled from Mostly Ape tracks and some tracks from (presumably) the same era – some on the Gas Up outtakes disc, some not – that pick and choose mentality, picked and chosen from one of the group’s strongest albums, boils Drums & Tuba down to their most awesome essentials: tracks where they rock out and tracks where they groove, and all those moments those two styles dart and weave ’round one another. What’s left?, ye may ask, and I answer: early D & T suffered from a whole lotta jam, and latter releases found the group appreciably exploring, but some of those explorations created too much space between more excellent tracks.
Live, as presented, ditches all of that (not that it doesn’t have its place, but this focus on the goods is exactly what you’d hope for in a live set), and also, I believe, smartly cuts out the downtime the group required to record loops between songs. So it’s pick up and play, adding in a bit more of an organic edge that was sometimes lost on their Righteous Babe releases. The recording is damned excellent, with crisp horns and drums, clear but not overwhelming effects, and blazing guitar, all the better to capture the amazing solos in the epic opener and closer.
The uniqueness of the tracklist alone makes this a must have, but even if you’d heard them before, the exact selections, sequencing, and fidelity are all prime, marking Live as a key release for D & T.