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MaryJanes2ndLastDance

The Positive side of TPATH Live

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I know, I know, for some people it's all positive, but...what do you particularly enjoy about seeing TPATH live?

 

For me, it's when they extend a song, when Tom encourages Benmont to keep soloing, when Mike shreds his guitar and they go off on musical tangents.

 

Sure I like to criticize the set lists and I think mine and others are valid perspectives that would improve the shows for both band and fans, but what do you enjoy when you're there?

 

Is it the communal energy? Hearing the crowd sing loudly along to Free Fallin' or I Won't Back Down?

 

Despite whatever criticisms they have of themselves, I don't think I've ever heard them sound unprofessional, and any mistakes either become part of the concert, like when Tom forgets the lyrics on occasion or quickly moved past.

 

Perhaps the best is when Tom, Ben and Mike achieve an instrumental interplay over Steve and Ron. Oh, with Scott Thurston as well.

 

Or when Howie was in the band and they're all grooving along while Mike unleashes a solo.

 

Sure, they can play fast songs, but they really excel at that rockin' midtempo groove, like It's Good To Be King or Saving Grace.

 

Oh, I also enjoy some of the goofiness, some of the strange outfits, some of the set design, the giant treehouse, psychedelic dragon and so on. And of course, the residencies!

 

What do you think? What elements of the seeing them do you enjoy?

 

cheers

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To me this is the best live band in the world. Even more so in recent years, when I detect an extra notch of heavy, or just mature, an extra bass and drums dimension in the mix in the 2010s. I would honestly say that it IS indeed all positive, in terms of "how". What ails is the general approach and spunk in terms of "what". All else is beyond fine, thus the sometimes frustration on my side. These guys are the best and they just seem to be getting better with age!

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when I detect an extra notch of heavy, or just mature, an extra bass and drums dimension in the mix in the 2010s. I would honestly say that it IS indeed all positive, in terms of "how". 

 

 

 

I think I should've named this topic, "What do you love about TPATH live?"

 

 Anyway, I like that extra heaviness, I figure it's the influence of Mojo. Another reason I'd enjoy hearing the return of deep cuts, and see them performed with that heavy style.  Finding Out would be great.

 

I also really loved the version of Too Much Ain't Enough from the summer of 02 tour. 

 

cheers

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Not that they don't enjoy playing hits or faster numbers, but my impression is they most enjoy playing songs with a good midtempo groove, like Two Men Talking, or Tweeter. I wonder what a show would look like if they simply played only what they wanted to play and not what they expect the audience to hear? I guess it would be a lot of covers, which is a shame. 

Keeping to the positive, they do a great job with the midtempo numbers, especially when the rhythm keeps going and Mike and/or Ben solo.

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Not that they don't enjoy playing hits or faster numbers, but my impression is they most enjoy playing songs with a good midtempo groove, like Two Men Talking, or Tweeter. I wonder what a show would look like if they simply played only what they wanted to play and not what they expect the audience to hear? I guess it would be a lot of covers, which is a shame. 

Keeping to the positive, they do a great job with the midtempo numbers, especially when the rhythm keeps going and Mike and/or Ben solo.

I don't think it would be a shame at all! I think some of the best live moments are the covers. Like when Tom wanted to give us "just one moment in time...when everything would be all right!". The best thing about their shows is the feeling I get inside when they all play together...whatever it is. Sure, I agree about the setlist issues that have been gone over here and I sometimes "complain" about them too, but I have never felt disappointed before, during or after a TPHB show--and I have never left one without wanting more, even if it the same.

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I understand where you're coming from and it's good with how Tom organizes the set list, as he enjoys pulling out the covers.

I just think for every cover, there could've been an original song, be it a deep cut or even something from the most recent album.

I'm glad I stopped seeing TPATH live when I did, enjoying that concert (as I had tours previous) rather than being disappointed with setlists and covers and such as time went on. Now I can just come on here and rant! ;)

 

cheers

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I think one of the greatest things about TPATHB live is that they have been playing live for nigh on 40 years. They are in a pretty rare and elusive and exclusive club as a multi million album selling rock and roll band to be still playing live and living after all that time with most members still original members....hell even Steve 'the new guy' drummer has been there for 22 years, and Ron came back again from his bikini store! :D

I really treasure all the live footage down the years especially be that audio or video official and unofficial, the different eras of the band, the way they evolved, the ways they changed, even the ways they stayed the same in some ways but not in other ways. I like comparing the different sounds...the difference in what Stan and Steve brought to the band, the difference between Ron and Howie...how Scott was brought in to 'fill out' the live versions of Jeff Lynnes studio handiwork...and how his harmony and backing vocals give Tom a sense of comfort.

As I mentioned on another thread, the same set list elephant in the room doesn't kick in to full force until after 2002...the more I listen to bootlegs pre and post 2002 the more convinced I become of that, there was enough 'buried treasure' around then in the live shows to explore then, slimmer pickings of deep buried treasure post 2002. If I have any regrets it is that I didn't get to see the band live prior to 2012 for that very reason. When I did get to see them I was totally blown away.

Another major positive or 'what i like best about TPATHB live is the sheer joy of watching Mike Campbell doing what he does best. You could watch and listen to what Mike is playing for the whole show and ignore everything else if you really wanted to and be totally blown away. It's a zen like persona on stage he has, i've always found it fascinating, you can't fake that presence. I also love how self contained Ron is on stage, he barely moves at all, totally immersed in his playing. One night he did take three steps to his right torwards Steves kick drum and it was like :o wow! 

Benmont is the glue that keeps everything together, and certainly takes his playing seriously just as well as he plays. I get the impression that if any of the others were going to start slacking, then Benmont would be in their faces telling them off afterwards.

Steve really does drive the live tempo of the band and is essential to the whole feel of a live show in a huge arena for the band especially in present times. The drums are really miked up the hilt for a crunching and booming heavy sound in the arena...very noticable on last years tour. Steve does what it says on the tin and if Tom wants him to do what it says on the inside of the tin then Steve can do that too! 

Tom's vocals have really matured live down the years. In the earlier days live there was a raspy tone, then a nasel mid throat vocal style to a more languid and balanced 'in the pocket' vocal delivery in recent times.

There's a lot to like in the live sound of this band and half the fun is comparing the different live eras down through the years!

 

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That's a really good rundown of the band, dollardime. I think you nailed the roles each of 'em have on stage and how well they fit together. Funny about Ron's lack of movement. 

I recall seeing the Echo tour and really enjoying it, from the songs they were playing and the stage set up, that was a pretty good concert and I didn't even like the album! While I disagree a bit when the setlists became so static, it was exciting getting to hear new songs, that is, songs I hadn't heard before on that tour, such as Jamming Me.

That was a good surprise when they opened with it! And of course, I've mentioned it before but the intro to Don't Come Around on this tour is superb. Into The Great Wide Tour also had a lot of new songs and old classics and even the acoustic American Girl. 

Much like Jamming Me, it was good when they played Too Much Ain't Enough, especially with it jammed out and super-fast.

cheers

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I enjoy this sort of thing, and think it would be better overall if Tom had more of this loose approach to the songs in concert. There's a playfulness here and I know this was because he forgot the lyrics but I think, as Shelter mentioned, if the band isn't going to switch up the songs night to night, at least they can vary how they play them from night to night.

cheers

 

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What are some of your favorite live TPATH performances?

In no particular order...
 
1) Even the Losers from the '89 bootleg. I like both electric and acoustic versions but this one is just special, perhaps because of the long drawn out pause towards the end, just a stripped back, vulnerable touching version.
 
2) Two Men Talking Mannheim 2012---An excuse to jam. This and the night before, an excuse to let Ron Blair have the spotlight!
 
3) Running Down A Dream from '89---the longest version I've heard, with a bit of interesting harmonics (?) from Mike towards the end. If someone has a longer version with the solo extended even further, please share.
 
4) Psychotic Reaction from Take the Highway---Stan singing, high energy, Mike (or Tom) raking the strings, what is not to enjoy?
 
5) Kings Highway from '93---Far superior to the original; weak bombast that's not enough to be anthemic nor a good pop-rock song, stripped back to a delicate, tender tune, way more powerful by being slower and gentler.
 
6) Travelin' Light from Jazz Fest---thanks to Redford for introducing me to this one. 
 
7) Melinda maybe from Live anthology---not sure what version to pick; but a definite live highlight.
 
8) Too Much Ain't Enough from Red Rocks '02---They really energized this song on that tour but this remains my favorite, for the extra riff thrown in towards the end during the double-time part, feels like the whole band is about to explode on stage.
 
9) DiamondHead from '95---not sure from where at the moment but Mike throws in a bit of the Breakdown riff and the solo from Smells LIke Teen Spirit. It struck me today that it had been  aear since Cobain died, maybe that's why he threw it in. Who knows, but he transofmrs the noisy manic aggresive original into an echoey, spacey lament. Powerful Amazing.
 
10) Don't Come Around Here No More from Take the Highway---to my knowledge the only version (though really this whole tour) where the band stretches out that ending while Tom egnages in his showbiz schtick with the ex-presidents. While that may or may not get old to watch and I've never been impressed with the peae sign, pretty lame, as a symbol it looks like a bird's talon ro something, musically the really go the sitance. On top of it, the whole song prior to it intoro and all make this something special.

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There's so much to enjoy about TPATH live, whether it's being there in person or listening to a recorded concert (and possibly watching it as well).   For me it was seeing and hearing the band re-create the many album tracks I enjoyed, not just re-create them but put a different spin on them from the album versions.   I also liked the experience in person of just seeing them, and thinking "These are the guys!", "These are the guys who did those great songs on the albums!". 

Also, they were such a great live band; sometimes with other bands you'll be a bit disappointed with live performances (luckily I have not been to many shows by band's I enjoyed where I was disappointed, but it has happened), but not these guys.    And the way they could change their own songs a bit over the years - usually they'd perform a song pretty faithfully to the studio version on the first tour where that song was played, but after that they'd evolve the performance, with extensions, different instrumental parts, etc.  Some bands just try to play note-for-note the same on every tour, year after year, and these guys definitely didn't do that, they were real musicians not robotic human jukeboxes.  

I do also like seeing the band perform, just to see how they did it.  Sometimes I'll think that Mike was playing a guitar part but it turned out to be Tom.  Or it's fun to see Tom play keyboards on Luna, as he did in the Rock Goes To College video, or the various members singing backing vocals (usually Stan in the early days, then more Howie and eventually Scott, but with some by Benmont and even Ron at times).  Fun to see Phil Jones appear on stage at times to play percussion, or see the horn section on the Southern Accents tour, see Bobby Valentino playing fiddle on Stories We Could Tell in the UK, etc.  

I also often like hearing the banter from Tom, except when it's scripted, which was fairly rare.  Even when he did the "Psychedelic Dragon" bit, he would actually change it a little from time to time.  He'd also change the introduction and even the name of the instrumental commonly known as Ben's Boogie.  Tom had a great sense of humor, and it would often come through during the banter parts.  Though I'm also glad that he didn't go on very long with the banter, and got back to the music.  He hardly ever got political on stage, and never for very long; he seemed to realize that the fans weren't there for politics, they were there for the music.  

In terms of the band playing their own songs or cover songs, I've already said I greatly prefer when they play their original songs.   But that's not to say that they didn't do some great and energetic covers, so that was a nice bonus.  The recorded cover songs that particularly stand out to me are Bye Bye Johnny on the North Carolina '89 radio concert, partly because it sets up such a great concert; Route 66 of the '77 Rockpalast video concert, partly because it's an encore from a great show, and both Tom and Mike are playing their "arrow" (Gibson Flying V) guitars, which were part of the band's logo; and Louie Louie from Utrecht '82, including the false start.     And I've enjoyed too many more covers they've done to name individually. 

Also far too many great originals to name that I have loved hearing again and again.  I could list the entire video concert of Devore '82 (Us Festival) or Oxford '77 video (Rock Goes To College) and so many more.  And just to name two contrasting but great performances of the same song, I particularly like Straight Into Darkness as played in the Milwaukee '83 video (which is an extended version of that song, I think the longest performance they did of it), and then the Buffalo '86 performance of it, on video for Farm Aid II.    The Farm Aid II version is appealing since it takes place on a sunny afternoon outdoors, Mike, Stan, and most of the band wearing sunglasses, and Mike using a "wah pedal" on his guitar to change the sound a bit from the earlier versions of it.   Seeing them play in the sunshine makes me feel almost as if I'm there, on that warm sunny day. 

Along those same lines of live music in the warm sunshine, I also love the snippets of the rooftop performance in St. Petersburg FL, which was presumably early 1985 (seen in the MTV Southern Accents special).  Very reminiscent of The Beatles rooftop concert, except on a nice warm day instead of a cold one. I wish they would release that entire video, if it still exists (probably no chance of that).          

 

       

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I've been going to TP concerts since the early 80's.  One of the few bands I never missed right down to the last time I saw him during the 40th anniversary tour.  Always knew it would be an amazing show because the band is so professional, experienced and tight.  Consummate performers.  I am most fond of the lineup with Stan and Howie but I take nothing away from the final lineup.  I think the energy those guys created on stage among themselves just flowed out into the audience.  Tom set out to create a rock-n-roll band and he did just that.  Those guys enjoyed playing together as well as enjoyed the songs and you could just feel it.  Break Down has to be one of my fav live songs because the audience was always so into it.  It brought everyone together to bring the house down every single time.

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