Thursday, December 10, 2020

Year In Review 2020 - Favorite Live Show #SaveOurStages

The live show is a slippery thing. There are lots of variables at play, most having little to do with the performance itself. Does the venue have enough bathrooms? Is it going to rain? What day of the week is it on? Did I have a shitty day at work before hand? Did tickets cost waaay too much? All of this effects one's opinion of a live show before the band even tunes up and with reason, but when the stars align, there is no place RtBE would rather be then in the moment of magic occurring spontaneously from the stage.

Live Music Has No Equal!
Taken By The Fantastic Megan Donohue

RtBE has used that same introductory paragraph for years now. It hurts as we read it in 2020. Live music is everything and this year mostly robbed it from us. Live streams during the year of Covid-19 will make up the bulk of this list and we hope this is the only year we ever have to suffer through so little live music, but who knows... 

We watched a lot of live streams and tried to promote them as much as we possibly could for the artists, various charities and the venues who rely on the revenue. Hopefully all survive through 2021 and things can trickle back into action. #SaveOurStages 

Honorable Mentions:

The first live stream that we saw during the early days of lockdown easily was one of our favorites. The truth is RtBE was almost in attendance for this live show but missed out on it last minute and to be able to watch it at the start of this nonsense was a joy.  Our favorite tune from the night was the duo of Ivan Neville and John Scofield leading the band through a lesser known BB King tune, "Never Make Your Move Too Soon".

In June the Preservation Hall Jazz Band held a live stream with some high profile guests to raise money for their venue, mission and band. It was a great night of varied music and memories from the Hall and their friends. 

While Phish had many cool live streams during their Dinner and a Movie series this year, it was this particular stream from the band that inspired RtBE to return to the glory years of Phish, 1997-2004. We truly enjoyed the band all summer (and beyond) like we haven't in years. It was like calling up an old friend and picking up right were you had left off. 

This show from Virginia '97 was the impetus we needed to reconnect with the Vermont quartet, easing our Corona Virus summer of no live music pain. The performance itself was a great one containing hyped up versions of "Ghost", "David Bowie", "Wolfman's Brother" and more insanity.

New Orleans live music is a whole other world; the city lives on the tunes. While Preservation Hall is known world wide it is the local artists who keep the city humming and Ryan Scully is one of those. His new album New Confusion was written, recorded and celebrated with this record label release stream during the pandemic. This performance with the band TenGallonTinFoilHat made us miss the Big Easy even more than we thought possible...until we can get there again, this was the next best thing. 

Go here to check out the full stream The video starts about a minute in.

RtBE lives for and loves The Last Waltz, and really love catching live revivals of it, combine that love with some of our favorite New Orleans musicians and you got a stone cold winner. Funkier in spots than the original with some standouts being George Porter Jr.'s singing/soloing "Further On Up The Road" and Ivan Neville delivering a great "Don't Do It" which really got things bumping. A standout vocal performance from Erica Falls on "It Makes No Difference" was a show stopper while Jake Eckert delivered a dynamite "Ophelia" and played lead guitar throughout. 

With Stanton Moore anchoring the house band and a brilliant horn section of Brad Walker, Jeff Albert, and Scott Frock, each guest was accented wonderfully during the show which supported a good cause. As mentioned earlier in this round up, the city of New Orleans is crying out for a return of live music, here's hoping it comes soon.

The trippy trio was back at it and expertly pulled off some unexpected tunes on this late in the year live stream. RtBE are long time fans and this stream was the first time we got to hear Les, Lar, and Herb get down on Anti-Pop tunes, which were all great. Highlights were an elongated "American Life", Eclectic Electric", and closer "Southbound Pachyderm". Some fiery playing from a couple of old turds as les commented. 

RtBE Favorite Live Show of 2020:

After we saw the Drive-By Truckers play Webster Hall in late February we added it as the first show on RtBE's list of possible favorites for 2020, little did we know that it would be the last live show we saw all year. (The next was supposed to be Soul Rebels Brass Band the night NYC shutdown)

Not much competition for DBT, but they had a great year, releasing powerful music and RtBE will always catch them when they play NYC and beyond. This show was a hefty one, in a excellent venue and the band delivered the goods touching on all aspects of their career. Highlights on this night were the incredibly fluid "Made Up English Oceans", the heavy metal riffs of "Lookout Mountain" and a cover we love to hear them do, "The KKK Took My Baby Away". 

Hopefully we won't have to wait to long for that to happen again in a live setting. There is no online video from this show so here is just random live DBT to scratch the itch until we can see them (and any live music) again. 

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