Yahtzee! Richie Kotzen sure has been rolling boxcars as of late. Over the last two weeks he has scored a Billboard Top 30 album thanks to “Hot Streak” by The Winery Dogs, embarked on a sold out tour with The Winery Dogs and released a new live DVD with his solo band.
Anyone who is familiar with Richie Kotzen’s vast solo catalog is aware that he usually handles all the instrumentation and production. Obviously, that isn’t possible in a live situation. Richie has always surrounded himself with very capable musicians for his live shows however he tends to change lineups from tour-to-tour. For the past five years, Richie’s band has included Dylan Wilson on Bass & Mike Bennett on Drums. The fact that Richie, Dylan and Mike have been playing together for almost five years is very evident.
Filmed a Akasaka Blitz in Tokyo back on February 2nd of this year, “Richie Kotzen Live” is touted as Richie’s first proper live DVD release in terms of Hi-Definition audio and video. With that being said, I was curious how it’d stand up to his “Bootlegged In Brazil” release. “Bootlegged In Brazil” featured Johnny Griparich on bass and Dan Potruch on drums. That DVD captures magic without all the bells and whistles that Hi-Def has to offer.
None of the material presented here is older than 2004 with half being from 2009-2014. While I’d love to hear some songs off his 1990’s albums but as he has stated in interviews, he prefers to play material that best represents the artist he is today. We all know there is nothing worse than seeing a band perform songs they have no attachment to on any given level.
I was really stoked about the inclusion of “War Paint”, “Walk With Me” and “Cannibals” as those songs had only been released within the previous six months prior to the show. One thing was missing in “Walk With Me”, the THEREMIN! A few other standouts of this DVD were Dylan & Mike’s solos and Richie playing the drums at the beginning of “Help Me”! Included in the set were “Fear”, Doin’ What The Devil Says To Do” and “You Can’t Save Me” from his phenomenal album “Into The Black”. No matter how many times I hear any material off of that album, by whatever lineup, they never get old due to how he presents his material live. “Peace Sign” and “Go Faster” were nice to hear. As someone who doesn’t have a musical bone in his body, the musicianship on this DVD is jaw dropping from a fans point-of-view.
Instead of a note-for-note recital of the songs you get a chance to witness something new from show to show. While staying true to the songs core, the band often improvises, heading off into some mind-blowing free-form jams. The chemistry of this lineup is unreal! Dylan and Mike handle the background vocals very well which was lacking with some lineups in the past.
Clocking in at just over one hour and forty-two minutes. This fourteen track live dvd is just as the title says, LIVE. No overdubs, no studio trickery, just three world class musicians doing what they love! There isn’t any interviews or behind-the-scenes featurettes between the songs. You get the gig as it happened. NO pesky interruptions. I’m not against interviews or behind-the-scenes featurettes but put them as “bonus features” so you don’t kill the vibe of the live experience.
One of the things I really enjoyed about the presentation of this show were the non-conventional or “funky” camera angles used. You don’t get the feeling of multiple cameras mounted to tripods shooting the show, you feel a part of the experience on-stage. The edits are smooth and well-timed not rushed like many live DVD’s and Blu-Ray’s. The production elements of the DVD are on par with the performance. The audio is stellar at normal volumes or cranked to eleven! Overall, this DVD captures a moment in time of one of the best power trios in the music industry!
Richie Kotzen “Live” track listing:
01. War Paint
02. Love Is Blind
03. Bad Situation
05. Walk With Me
07. Doing What The Devil Says To Do
08. Peace Sign
09. Drum and Bass Solo
10. Help Me
12. Fooled Again
13. You Can’t Save Me
14. Go Faster
Richie Kotzen:Vocals & Guitar
Dylan Wilson:Bass Guitar & Vocals
Mike Bennett:Drums & Vocals
Richie Kotzen Live DVD Teaser
Richie Kotzen “You Can’t Save Me” from “Richie Kotzen Live” DVD
Purchase Richie Kotzen Live DVD here:
Official Richie Kotzen website:
Follow Richie Kotzen on Twitter:
Official Richie Kotzen Facebook:
Official Richie Kotzen Instagram:
Official Richie Kotzen YouTube Channel:
Follow Richie Kotzen on Periscope: