Available now on Blu-ray for the first time, this full concert video and 2-CD set from the iconic Little Feat celebrates 20 years since its initial recording. And while this edition is a change in available format- previously it was solely a DVD/CD offering- and the original content remains the same, it is an opportune time to revisit the Feat of two decades ago. With the current lineup of the legendary band enjoying a resurgence, and even talk of a new album, dropping in on this edition- for those keeping track, Little Feat 4.0, approximately- it’s great to see the group’s late greats, drummer Richie Hayward and guitarist Paul Barrere, in terrific form.
In fact, the entire band was up to the challenge of being recorded, and filmed- in high-def that has aged very well- before an enthusiastic sellout in St. Louis. There are the expected perfunctory crowd shots, but mostly the focus is on the Feat, led by co-founders Hayward and keyboardist, Billy Payne, and including Barrere, percussionist Sam Clayton, bassist Kenny Gradney, guitarist Fred Tackett, and relative newcomer, singer Shaun Murphy.
Murphy, as a frontwoman, does most of the moving around, interacting with fans, playing percussion during the many jams, and generally pushing what was some of the new material at the time. While showcasing a few of the newer ones- exclusively on Disc One- Murphy gives three of her best, lighting up “Cadillac Hotel,” and then on the back-to-back pair of “I’d Be Lyin’” and “The Blues Don’t Tell It All.” On the classics in the repertoire- dominating the second disc- she’s a quite capable stand-in for the band’s late leader, Lowell George. Really, though, it’s the melding of the two that makes this exceptional show a winner for 2003 Little Feat; a group that was in work-mode, over a half-decade into Murphy’s tenure, and very much a vibrant ensemble in the midst of a return to its jamband roots.