The Tea Party – LIVE: Intimate & Interactive (DVD)

i&i 2007 Linus Entertainment

I’ve liked this band since I first heard their debut single “The River” from their Splendor Solis disc back in 1993.  I’ve been a total fan since their classic The Edges of Twilight disc was released in 1995.  A band of total pros making incredible music, if perhaps taking themselves a tad too seriously at times.

Live: Intimate & Interactive was recorded for the Canadian program MuchMusic (in 1998 following the Transmission CD and 2000 following Triptych), in a very intimate setting with a very appreciative audience.  Watching this DVD was a reminder of why The Tea Party’s performance in November 1995 at The Varsity Theatre in Baton Rouge, LA (opening for Ian Moore) remains to this day the best live performance I’ve seen from any band in my life.   The variety of instruments and sounds was/is just incredible…especially when you consider that they’re a three piece.

While Jeff Martin is the front man and definitely a stylish guitar player (he’s known for numerous alternate tunings) with plenty of chops, it’s Jeff Burrows and Stuart Chatwood who steal the show for me;  Burrows with his tasteful and powerful drumming and Chatwood with his multi-instrumental talents to go with his excellent bass playing.

These guys are in total command of their experimental, yet still ROCK, sound and it’s evident right off the bat on “Army Ants” where Martin’s guitar doesn’t sound like a guitar at all in certain parts.   From there, it’s into the classic “Fire in the Head” and on to one strong performance after another.

Highlights for me include their performances of “Transmission,” “Save Me” and the show centerpiece “Sister Awake.” As I said in the opening paragraph, at times these guys seem to take themselves a little too seriously, but the bottom line is they always deliver.  Consummate professionals and songwriters who are willing to take risks.  I only wish they were still together…

Rating:  4.5 out of 5


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