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The Matthews Band Comes Alive!

By Jake Vigliotti
April 15, 2007

I think all of us, the hopeful DMB fan, are wanting the same thing from this fallís studio session : We want to hear DMBís version of Sgt. Pepperís. I just donít want this to be their Let It Be.

With that in mind, I was thinking the other day about the new album. You know, the one that we know absolutely NOTHING about? I was thinking thatís a good thing. In fact, I donít want to know a thing about a new album. Whyís that? I donít want a new album.

Wait! Iím sure youíre already typing jake@antsmar... when I stopped you. What I mean is we donít need a Studio album. Since the Lillywhite/Busted Stuff/Everyday junk, the band has Ďproducedí 25-ish songs (not counting the Dave solo stuff):

Hunger for the Great Light
Louisiana Bayou
Hello Again
Smooth Rider
American Baby
You Might Die Trying
Old Dirt Hill
Stand Up
Steady As We Go
American Baby Intro
Stolen Away on 55th and 3rd
Out of My Hands
Everybody Wake Up
Trouble With You

Ė and Ė

Sugar Will
Joy Ride
Good Good Time
Idea Of You
Break Free
Canít Stop
Kill The King
and a soundcheck song that it seems half the country heard last year (weíll call it Run While You Can for simplicity, but you know I hate naming DMB songs).

If I asked you to put all of the songs in order of greatest to weakest, there would not be too many people who would put any Stand Up song above any of the raw, live, songs. In fact, you could make the argument that Hello Again, the only song to survive the 04 sessions, is the best of the studio cuts of Stand Up. Hell, there is a soundcheck song (the beloved 7.3.03) and a scrap of a song (6.17.04) that are better than Stand Up!

See what Iím getting at? Iím not calling into question the methods of writing/producing in the studio at Charlottesville, but rather that the band is capable of putting together excellent tracks while on tour. So why bother even recording in studio?

It seems like a new, fresh idea would be for the band to sit down at the end of a tour (even this one), and listen to a few tracks. Lets just say that Dave really likes the 8.25.06 version of Shotgun (not for real, of course) donít re-record it in the studio; literally use that version for the album! Fans would certainly still buy it, despite the fact that there is a free-fan recording of it available.

SIDEBAR: They could be real fancy and make all the live tracks for this hypothetical album in 5.1 stereo, and release it on a DVD. This would also eliminate piracy of it (or at least make it a hell of a lot harder), and it would give fans that ďTrueĒ live feeling; with Boyd coming out of the Stage Right Speaker, and Roi out the Left.

I realize that the band has written most of the recent stuff in studio sessions, but the songs really matured on the road. Just look at Stand Up. Practically every song has changed from the album version to the live performance. Louisiana Bayou changing the most. Those songs have improved during their time on the road. If DMB released Stand Up now, for the 1st time, based on the live performances rather than the studio cuts, it would be liked a lot more, thatís for sure.

Since weíre playing the Hypothetical Album game, you have your choice of 4 new songs from last year (5 if they want to throw in a Ďnewí live song and make it Run While You Can). Then you have three from the prior 04 unreleased work. Thatís 8 already! Naturally, theyíll come up with a few here and there, so letís just say for simplicities sake they work 3 into the mix this year. Hereís the album:

Idea Of You
Sugar Will
Joy Ride
Kill The King
Break Free
New Song 1
New Song 2
Canít Stop
Run While You Can
New Song 3

All recorded in beautiful, 5.1 surround sound. All available at the end of the tour, just like the plan for the current studio cut.

Iíd buy it.

Of course, I should get a free copy, after all, I produced it.

The views and comments expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of antsmarching.org.


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