Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

20May/092

It’s a Bleedin’ Board! Earth Day with the Excitable Boy

Welcome to the first of a series of reviews about my favorite bootlegs. Today's feature is a short but very sweet set from Warren Zevon. And, to steal a phrase from my longtime Deadhead buddy Barry, "It's a bleedin' board!" (Translation= a mint soundboard recording)

The date is April 22, 2000. We find Warren playing a set at the lovely Moore Theatre in Seattle, Washington on Earth Day as the opener for, in his words, the "great, great band Little Feat."

As was his custom in the later years when playing short solo sets, he began by playing "Werewolves of London." This version is dead-on with a few references to Jimmy Buffett, which have become a favorite running joke between my daughter and me.

This segues directly into a very spirited rendition of "Excitable Boy" which features some great piano runs before coming to a quick close.

Song three is one of my all-time favorite Zevon tunes, "Seminole Bingo," a tale about a junk-bond king who runs away to Florida, buys a double-wide trailer and blows his money on an Indian reservation. Quintessential Zevon.

Number four is another bit of genius as Warren is a magician who fights the ways of love in "I'll Need a Volunteer." The lovable loser who can't stand himself is a common theme throughout his career and it's brilliantly presented here.

Next up is one of Warren's most poignant love songs, "Don't Let Us Get Sick." Not one of my favorites musically, but the strength of the lyrics is undeniable.

At this point, the piano goes to the wayside and out comes the twelve-string. If you don't have the album Learning to Flinch or didn't see Warren live in the 90s, you may not know what a good guitarist he was. Apparently, he was a little manic at times which is what kept him from playing too much on earlier recordings.

Having often referred to himself as a folk singer, he plays what is probably his greatest folk song, "Poor Poor Pitiful Me," which he introduces by saying "I wanna play something that there's a remote chance you may have heard before." Yeah, like a million times on pop radio by one Linda Ronstadt and some other female artist (Teri Clark?) who also took it way up the country charts. This one paid the mortgage a few times over. Other than the guitar going out of tune during the intro, a very solid performance.

"Now I'm gonna play a song from my new album (crowd cheers). Some of you, many of you may find this offensive. I just wanna remind you that if anyone asks, my name is Lou Reed."

What follows is an absolutely stunning take on what could be my favorite Warren song ever, "My Shit's F*cked Up." Stellar guitar playing, funny lyrics and a song that applies to all of us. Ironically, what started as a joke became all too relevant shortly thereafter.

"Here's a song about a gentleman who's not around to celebrate Earth Day with us but, he liked his bacon."

The Excitable Boy's tribute to The King, "Porcelain Monkey," is a killer. Another great folk song, this time about a legend who couldn't keep it together. I'll never forget having to explain to my daughter what velveteen is.

Being pressed for time, we roll right into the slightly transformed "Detox Mansion," another classic from the catalog. Elizabeth Taylor, yardwork, golf, laundry and rubber rooms.
What a life. Absolutely killer guitar as Warren's effects pedal enables him to lay down a rhthym track of himself playing, lock it in, play a solo, lock it in and play another solo over the top.

The set comes to end by moving right into "Lawyers, Guns and Money," sounding very powerful as Warren bangs away on the strings and has fun with the words, going so far as to ask for "lawyers, guns and meatloaf."

What you have here is Warren playing and singing very comfortably,skillfully and genuinely enjoying himself. The crowd LOVES him all the way through and sounds as if it wanted much more than 42 minutes. A real treat in its entirety and a must have for your Zevon collection.

"It's a Bleedin' Board" will be a regular feature of mine so join me as I explore a wide variety of bands and soloists that have been captured live. Also look for future editions of "The Stereo Dictator's Guide" which provides background on great artists and albums of the past. The first one was posted a few weeks back and covered the "last of the full-grown men," Webb Wilder.

Enjoy the weather and take the Cavs in six over Orlando.

Download the complete zip of the Moore show here.

zevon10.jpg

Warren Zevon at Indre Studios
Philadelphia, PA
January 18th, 2000

photo by Mark Silver

  • Kristi

    Wow, the quality is great.

    And My Shit’s F***ed up is a good’un.

    I love live recordings… many times prefer them, so I’m glad it’s gonna be a regular feature for you here.

  • kevin

    Hi Kristi,
    Glad to see that you enjoyed the show 9 years removed.

    I agree that live is often better and that’s why I will be back with many more reviews.