Although The Band called it a day in the late 1970s (as famously documented in Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz) they did re-emerge in the early ‘80s, albeit with an altered line up. This time, there was no Robbie Robertson and although Richard Manuel would initially reunite with the group, sadly, he took his own life in the middle of the decade. Nonetheless, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson and Rick Danko kept on keepin’ on (to borrow a phrase), eventually cracking a new audience through their 1993 LP, Jericho. This recording, Live in Charleston 1994, is a live representation of their work in this era.
While the album is mostly made up of live takes from the aforementioned Jericho record, it is the old jazz standard, ‘Caledonia’, which begins the show. The up-beat, funky and blues-esque ‘Remedy’ then follows – only being let down by the various inconsistencies in the sound which plague the first few numbers. Towards the end of side 1 however, this appears to have been addressed somewhat and classic Band numbers like ‘It Makes No Difference’ and ‘The Weight’, Bob Dylan’s ‘Blind Willie McTell’ and Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Atlantic City’ all come out wonderfully played and relatively unscathed.
The set concludes with the encore; ‘Blues Stay Away From Me’, also from Jericho. While the 12-bar blues number is a pretty solid listen in itself, the live recording fades to silence before the song reaches a ‘real life’ conclusion, providing very little closure to the set being presented as an album.
Christopher James Sheridan
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‘Atlantic City’ – live in 1994: