Blues Traveler On The Rocks

Of all of the bar bands that got label deals in the second wave of the alternative music signing spree (i.e. Blind Melon, Gin Blossoms and Kenny Wayne Sheppard), Blues Traveler’s material has probably survived the best, if only because they’re among the last ones standing. The incredibly truncated companion piece to their double DVD, Thinnest Of Air, On The Rocks, offers a scattered look at Popper and company’s Independence Day 2003 show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Denver, CO. As far as live CDs go, On The Rocks leaves a lot to be desired. While the disc may serve to cement the band’s place as the best jam band since Phish, song selection was obviously not placed at a premium. Songs begin to stretch as though waiting for Popper to remember the next set of lyrics as he repeats one line over and over again (as on the Ziggy Marley-graced, "No Woman No Cry”) or simply drag an extended outro into a segue ("Save His Soul”/"Hook”) that stays interesting for the first 30 seconds before your eyes start getting heavy. Popper’s voice has aged very well and still sounds exactly like he is the love child of Tom Jones and Steven Page of the Barenaked Ladies. His band rips through the songs masterfully in a particularly interesting fashion, but it’s impossible not to feel bored as the record progresses and the songs get easier to forget than tell apart. There may have been some performances worth culling from Thinnest Of Air, but if there were, they were all left off of On The Rocks. (Sanctuary)