28 June 2019 (released)
08 June 2019
There are many live recordings of Gov’t Mule but this sounds as fresh as a daisy with all of their trademarks in place and some outstanding playing on show. The whole thing was recorded at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester NY, a favourite venue for the band.
It was recorded in April last year and the DVD element features footage from 9 cameras, beautifully filmed and sumptuously lit. But for me, the most important element is the music and so I will concentrate on that.
The basis of the band is well known – Warren Haynes on guitars and vocals, Matt Abts on drums, percussion & vocals, Danny Louis on keyboards, trumpet, guitar & vocals and ‘newcomer’ Jorgen Carlsson on bass with photography, cinematography and direction by Danny Clinch.
The package comes in a variety of formats:
a 2 CD/2 DVD deluxe package (the CD and DVD feature entirely different track lists and includes bonus videos of “Soulshine” and “Traveling Tune”), two separate double-vinyl packages, digital, Blu-ray and a 2-CD package (featuring audio from the film) – so you have some decisions to make.
The sound quality on the 2CD/2DVD package is superb – it is clearly a live performance. but the atmosphere adds to the sound and every element of the band is clearly laid out in the soundstage.
As to the music itself, if you are a fan of Gov’t Mule then most of these tracks will be familiar but as with every live show from ‘The Mule’ they jam and play with the music so that no track is ever played exactly the same twice.
Warren Hayes guitar playing is their main weapon and as you would expect from a man who has played with the Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead he plays with a certain ‘jam’ mentality as does keyboardist Danny Louis and they are ably abetted by Abts and Carlsson so the music is allowed to flow, naturally, to wherever the leads take it.
The track listing goes back to the origins of the band and more modern material but at no point does it feel like a ‘best of’; these are songs that the band wanted to use for this recording, that are still meaningful to them and to their audience and so you get a stunning version of ‘Life Before Insanity’ and extended ‘Blind Man In The Dark’ plus a beautiful take on the title track amongst a huge number of other tracks.
In my opinion, this is a special release for Gov’t Mule – their 25th anniversary – but it is also one of the most accessible releases.
Great from start to finish.