Little Feat Live
As with all video/audio projects from this era, there are some slight issues. Bill Payne, who stands when he plays the keyboards, has dirt on the seat of his pantslet’s hope it’s dirt and unfortunately he is shot from behind too much of the time. The camera operators not to mention the film editor were far too fond of shots from below, so the band is most often seen from right against the stage, in “The Pit” as it were. The close ups of George, in his purple shirt and too small cowboy hat, and the rest of the band, shot from the side of the stage, are terrific though. Several tunes, unfortunately including “Oh, Atlanta,” appear only on the CD part of this CD/DVD package, which I assume means there are technical problems with those portions of the film. Sonics, especially when you are talking about a live show and midSeventies portable recording gear, are usually an adventure. Like many older live recordings, this one lives in a sort of flat midrange with very little low frequency response. There are drop outs and burps in some spots. Though I did not experience it for myself, I hear from those who have that the 5.1 surround sound mode is about as well done as can be expected considering the age of the source material.
None of these issues however, detracts from the band’s performance or the joy of seeing the penultimate version of Little Feat back on stage groovin’ again as only they could. The monster energy present in the closing triplet of “Tripe Face Boogie,” “Feats Don’t Fail Me Now,” and “Teenage Nervous Breakdown,” makes this among the best live Feat, from the band’s classic era, that’s yet come to light. And be sure to read those liner notes by Stereophile contributing editor John Swenson!
For those unfamiliar with the band’s legacy, Rhino Records has again released a huge bargain (as low as $53 online) for those who still play CDs, in Little Feat, Rad Gumbo: The Complete Warner Bros. Years, 1971-1990 which gathers the band’s 11 studio and live albums up to Representing the Mambo which is the second record after the death of Lowell George in 1979. It also comes with an extra disc Outtakes from Hotcakes that collects demos and outtakes from the band’s entire career.