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Tony Levin

Live in Madison, WI, March 23, 2003

Review by Gary Hill

This band never fails to deliver a smoking show! They came into Madison on a mini-tour for their Double Espresso live album. One quick note about the venue. They played Luther's Blues in Madison, a venue that I had never been to before. I have to say, this place is impressive. It has to be one of the finest venues in the midwest. It combines an intimate setting with a true concert experience atmosphere. I will make it a point from now on to try to catch bands here. The outside of the place is definitely understated, but once you make it upstairs into the actual club, it is all high-tech class.

Now, back to the show. This group is made up of four consumate music veterans, and the experience shows in the band's performance. The only complaint I have from this show would be in the performance of guitarist Jesse Gress. While the vast majority of his showing on this night was extremely strong, there were a couple places where he lost me, seeming to be a bit noodly at one point and just plain lost at one other. In his defense, though, perhaps it was this reviewer's perception.

Highlights of the evening included the group's take on Peter Gunn (this time out with snippets of Pink Panther thrown in for good measure) and a recent addition to the set the band's version on John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance". That last number featured a great vocal arrangement from the band, and was especially poignant considering the current state of world affairs. The rest of the set was similar to the previous tour. Notable changes were the dropping of "Dog One" and "Bella". The group opened with King Crimson's "Sleepless" and the closing encore of "Elephant Talk" provided a nice bookend. These guys come across as very down to earth, taking time to talk at length with the crowd. Also to be praised is the fact that they seem to really enjoy what they are doing.

If you still have not caught these guys live, you are really missing out. This is one of the best prog shows on the road these days, and worth seeing over and over.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2003 Year Book Volume 3 at
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