Listener Supported

With Listener Supported, Dave Matthews Band fans finally get a live album they can be proud of. 1997's flaccid Live at Red Rocks captured the band before its onstage incarnation clicked into the top-grossing, well-oiled concert behemoth it is today. Meanwhile, Matthews and guitarist Tim Reynolds' 1999 unplugged double-disc set, Live at Luther College, missed the boat entirely, stripping Matthews' material of the rhythmic interplay it sorely requires. What makes this official double live disc stand apart is its concision. The playing on Listener Supported is aggressive but not excessive; the album's restraint makes DMB's collective virtuosity feel earned. A surprising song selection helps immeasurably: In addition to hits like "Too Much," they throw in unreleased concert faves like "True Reflections" (sung by charismatic fiddler Boyd Tinsley) and impassioned covers of "All Along the Watchtower" and "Long Black Veil." Matthews even folds a verse of Little Feat's "Dixie Chicken" into "Crash Into Me," an endearingly spontaneous moment of jam-band synchronicity. If you're an aficionado of Matthews' world-beat-funk-folk special blend, you'll definitely support this offering.

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