Live At The Fillmore

Lucinda Williams writes and performs heart-searing roots rock on the rarefied level of AOR demigods like Tom Petty and Neil Young; she's also opened for Petty and Young. So the least she deserves is her own Seventies-rock-style double live album, recorded at San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium, no less. She and her impeccable three-piece band give her songs' meticulously recorded original versions a run for their money; led by Doug Pettibone's Crazy Horse-esque lead guitar, they deliver "Changed the Locks" (from 1988's Lucinda Williams) with the spiteful fury of Bob Dylan circa '66, and crack open the downcast title track of 2001's Essence, transforming it into a brawny rocker. The twenty-two-song collection suffers from bloat, uneven pacing and an overabundance of tunes from 2003's World Without Tears. But it's still an effective summary of Williams' career as a prophet of, as she puts it, "all that's alarming, raw and exposed."