Live at Folsom Field, Boulder, Colorado
Like spiritual predecessors the Grateful Dead, the Dave Matthews Band have long been dogged by the accusation that they're really only capable of hitting their most soaring peaks in a live setting. But rather than bob and weave in an attempt to shake off that tag, the DMB seem willing to accept it -- in part, at least -- by punctuating their catalogue with numerous concert sets. This two-disc collection, which dates back to July 2001, might be the most adventurous (and certainly the most fiery) of their half-dozen live offerings. Much of Folsom is given over to material that was, a that point, not even officially released -- although, admittedly, diehards were certainly familiar with songs like the foreboding "Digging a Ditch" and "Bartender," both of which would later show up on Busted Stuff. Fans at the show respond most strongly to old standbys like "Crash into Me," presented here in a loose-limbed rendition that's more spry than usual, and "What Would You Say," but the musicians seem more intent on picking apart the intricacies of the then-fresh Everyday material. That's most evident in the sly, conversational tone that bassist Stefan Lessard and drummer Carter Beauford take on a free-and-easy "When the World Ends," as well as the elegant, torchy tenor that Matthews himself adopts on "Angel." As per usual, the band get a bit overwrought here and there, pushing "The Space Between," for instance, into the quicksand of prog-fusion. For the most part, however, Folsom is a perfect example of the connection between band and audience -- and the positive energy the collision can generate.