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Boz Scaggs * GREATEST HITS LIVE * Reviews

Recorded Live August 27, 2003 at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, CA

Released:  August 10th, 2004
Formats:    DVD/CD
Genre:    R&B
Studio/Live:  Live
Label:    Gray Cat Records / Zoe Records

Distributor:  Rounder Records U.S.
   
THE BAND:

Boz Scaggs - Vocals, Guitar
John Ferraro - Drums
Drew Zingg - Guitar
Matt Bissonette - Bass
Jim Cox - Organ and Keys
Michael Bluestein - Piano and Keys
Rich Armstrong - Trumpet
Charles McNeal - Saxophone
Monet Owens - Background Vocals
Barbara Wilson - Background Vocals

TRACKS:

  1. Lowdown
  2. Slow Dancer
  3. Heart of Mine
  4. It All Went Down the Drain
  5. Harbor Lights
  6. Jojo
  7. Ask Me 'Bout Nothin' but the Blues
  8. Breakdown Dead Ahead
  9. Look What You've Done To Me
  10. I Just Go
  11. Georgia
  12. Miss Sun
  13. Lido Shuffle
  14. Runnin' Blue
  15. Loan Me a Dime
  16. We're All Alone

 

Boz Scaggs - Greatest Hits Live
DVD from Universal Music & VI [UK]
Release date: 03 August, 2004


Posted by Paul Roy
December 05, 2004

There I was, coffee in hand, just beginning to start my channel surfing on the sunny, summer, Saturday morning of August, 7, 2004, when I happened to stumble across Boz Scaggs' performance on the Today Show, as part of their "concert on the plaza" series. I had not even realized that Boz was still performing these days, and was quite surprised at how great he looked, and, most importantly, how great he still sounded - nearly 30 years past his prime. This performance and others were primarily undertaken to promote his just released Greatest Hits Live DVD and CD sets. I now, of course, had to run out and buy the DVD.

Greatest Hits Live was taped live at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, on 27 August 2003, and was captured by seven cameras in high definition video. This intimate venue was the ideal place to see a Boz Scaggs concert, as the hall is stunningly beautiful, the small crowd is right on top of the band, and the acoustics are fantastic. After keeping a rather low profile throughout the '80s, following his heyday in the '70s, Scaggs became increasingly active throughout the '90s and on into this decade. This show covers a wide range of his career, going all the way back to his self titled debut album from 1969, with "Loan Me a Dime", all the way up to his 2001 Dig album, with "I Just Go".

The concert begins strongly with an energized version of "Lowdown", that features some fine, funky bass work by Matt Bissonette, who seems to be playing with just about everybody these days, and an exceptional guitar solo by Drew Zingg. The ballad "Slow Dancer" follows, which shows off the beautiful vocal talents of background singers Ms. Mone't and Barbara Wilson. They play an integral role on almost every song this night. Another ballad follows, and then we are treated to the bluesy, pop sounds of Earl King's "It All Went Down The Drain". You would almost swear you were listening to a Robert Cray performance during this song. The delicate Silk Degrees ballad "Harbor Lights" is performed next and things continue in this fashion - ballad, r&b song, ballad, blues song, etc - for the rest of the show. My one personal critique of this performance is that most of the songs are played very faithfully to the original versions, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but I enjoy seeing this style of music cranked up an extra notch when played live, such as maybe adding a touch more distortion to the guitars, and improvising a little more on the instrumental passages. Compare Toto's live performances versus their studio stuff, to see what I mean. "Breakdown Dead Ahead" and "Lido Shuffle", two of Scaggs' more rockin', upbeat songs, for instance, both sounded a little tepid, when they should have brought the house down.

Speaking of Toto, David Paich, who co-wrote many of Boz Scaggs best songs, handles the audio production of this DVD, and does an absolutely fantastic job. This is truly one of the best sounding concert DVDs of its kind. The video quality was even better. Shot in Hi Definition and presented in widescreen, it simply doesn't get any better than this. The camera work only enhanced the viewing experience by focusing mostly on slow, lingering, sweeping shots of all the musicians, from various angles that placed you right into every different seat in the house. The stage lighting was minimal, consisting mainly of white and blue spotlights, and the theater lights remained dimly lit for the entire show. This helped to created the perfect mood and atmosphere for this intimate setting and wonderful performance.

The best part of the show was when Boz and the band came back out for the encore and led things off with the big band sounds of "Runnin' Blue". This song had Scaggs and Zingg trading licks back and forth on these huge hollow-body electrics, and featured short solo segments by each of the band members. They finally opened up and cut loose. "Loan Me A Dime", a slow blues jam from Scaggs' 1969 debut solo album, which originally featured Duane Allman on guitar, passionately kept the jam going. Scaggs definitely put together a fantastic band that was more than able to do his legendary songs justice. The evening ended appropriately with Scaggs' most famous ballad, the gorgeous "We're All Alone", which left the crowd on their feet begging for more.

This is truly a remarkably produced concert DVD, with everything you should expect, and more, including Hi Definition video, a 16x9 widescreen presentation, Dolby Digital stereo and 5.1 surround sound, DTS surround, and even SRS Circle Surround, which allows a 5.1 surround mix to be stored or transferred over a two-channel track. The special features included a short "Backstage With Boz" segment that showed backstage footage of this show, as well as from his But Beautiful tour. The sound was very poor on this segment and the level was often so low that you could not hear what was being said. Also included is a photo gallery, and a performance of "Harbor Lights" from the But Beautiful tour, which featured a completely different band than what played on Greatest Hits show.

At sixty years of age, Boz Scaggs is convincingly performing like he is still in his prime. That smooth, soulful, unique voice of his still sounds marvelous, and his songs are still inspiring.

Setlist
Lowdown
Slow Dancer
Heart of Mine
It All Went Down the Drain
Harbor Lights
Jojo
Ask Me 'Bout Nothin' but the Blues
Breakdown Dead Ahead
Look What You've Done To Me
I Just Go
Georgia
Miss Sun
Lido Shuffle
Runnin' Blue
Loan Me a Dime
We're All Alone

Rating:
Performance 8/10
Production 10/10

 

Legendary Peformer Get's His Due On Memorable Performance In San Francisco

By Keith Hannaleck
8/20/2004

Artist: Boz Scaggs
Title: Greatest Hits Live
Format: DVD
Label: Zoe

Boz Scaggs is smooth, there is no getting around it, and he always has been that type of performer. I have always appreciated his distinct vocals and the fact that he is an excellent multi-instrumentalist. I also respect the consistency he has managed to maintain throughout his career. With all of this said, it is appropriate and due time that a recent performance of a greatest hits compilation was produced for the DVD format.

Greatest Hits Live finds Boz in good voice and playing the guitar in an inspired vigorous way, for a warm and intimate hometown crowd in San Francisco at the Great American Music Hall.

It does not look like he has missed a step after all these years. He surrounds himself with some of the best talent in the business. The two backup songbirds, Ms. Monet and Barbara Wilson,
compliment Scaggs wonderfully. Ms. Monet does a nice call and answer with Boz on a few occasions during the performance.

What I found critical to the sound of this band was the fact that there were two keyboard players, Jim Cox and Michael Bluestein. They create a double layer of sweet sound for the rest of the band to
ride on, hence the guitar, bass, drums, and brass have plenty of groove to dig into before there parts kick in.

Scaggs plays all of the best of his long career, the big pop oriented hits like "Lido" and "Lowdown," bluesy numbers "Runnin' Blues" and "Loan Me A Dime," and the jazz tinged funky number "Jojo," it's all covered. What a wonderful performance this is, and the sound and picture are first rate. This could not have been a better performance to put out on DVD. Yes indeed, Boz Scaggs still has what it takes; he is a class act and joy to watch perform.

Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck-http://www.muzikreviews.com

 

Boz Scaggs - Greatest Hits Live

~ Hal Horowitz, All Music Guide

In 2004 Boz Scaggs released his first, and what is likely to be only, officially sanctioned live disc in an extensive career. With 35 years of experience and 13 albums of material to choose from, it also substitutes as a reasonable best-of, although Sony/Legacy's 1997 double set My Time did an excellent job of recapping his studio hits. Even if it's a byproduct of the associated DVD recorded at the same August, 2004 San Francisco gig, this is a lively and professionally performed show that makes up in soul what it lacks in spontaneity.

Live hits' discs coming in the twilight of the artist's career are typically dicey affairs, often used as a backdoor way for a new label to release some of the act's best material, the originals of which they do not have rights to. While that may be the case here, this is far from a fast way to make a few bucks off Scaggs' catalog. The seven-piece band (plus two backing vocalists) offer perfect, occasionally inspired renditions of a relatively unsurprising set list. The show is a terrific mix of the lovely, but sometimes sappy Scaggs ballads such as "Heart of Mine," "We're All Alone," "Slow Dancer" and "Look What You've Done to Me" with the blue-eyed funk-pop of "Lowdown," "Jojo," "Georgia" and "Lido Shuffle." The songs that ultimately work the best and are the loosest are the blues-based tracks, in particular a sumptuous version of Bobby "Blue" Bland's "Ask Me 'Bout Nothin' but the Blues," and nearly a half-hour on disc two dedicated to the jazzy jump blues of "Runnin' Blue" and a fiery "Loan Me a Dime."

Scaggs is in terrific voice throughout, the band adapts remarkably well to a varied set list and the live sound is crisp but not sterile. Many of the arrangements, especially of the pop songs, don't differ substantially from the originals, but the effect is lively and with slightly more drive due to the live setting. The rather forced between-song patter very present in the DVD is edited out for the audio version, which provides a better musical flow. Some of these songs never charted, and were not even particularly popular. Many tracks from My Time and even three from the slimmer Hits! collection are missing. But these are minor complaints for an extremely well produced, immaculately played, stylishly presented and dynamic look at Scaggs' diverse catalog.

 

William Royce 'Boz' Scaggs' 1976 masterpiece, Silk Degrees remains one of the sultriest snapsots of 70s blue eyed-soul. The sort of sound that punk was supposed to supplant, it was secreted in many a collection long after Year Zero had been and gone and it still sounds as fresh as a daisy. Scaggs was, of course, always about far more than just that one record. Even then, it was not overnight success for the sharp-suited guitarist. He had already been playing for well over a decade and, after touring Europe in his early twenties, went on to make his name with the original Steve Miller Band (he and Miller being school friends from Texas).

Going solo in 1969, he cut a beautiful southern soul/R&B album for Atlantic at Muscle Shoals, before signing to Columbia in 1971. Always his own man, after achieving enormous worldwide success, he sat out most of the 80s, running his restaurant in San Francisco. His music, right up to 2003's But Beautiful album possesses an earthy, woody resonance that has kept it real and has never slavishly attached itself to any passing fashion. And in this current world of Joss Stone authenticity and the £50 man, Scaggs again proves to be just the ticket.

Greatest Hits Live finds Scaggs at the peak of his game at this rare performance, which is also available on DVD. He is happy, relaxed and clearly able to find a musical life that is a nourishing balance between past and present. Recorded at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco in August 2003 and produced by long-term collaborator, David Paich, this is more than a hoary old hits run through - it acts as a perfect introduction to a frequently overlooked talent.

Acutely aware of the potency of the Silk Degrees material ("Lowdown" opens the set, "Harbor Lights" and "Georgia" are featured, "Lido Shuffle" closes it and "We're All Alone" is the final encore), but not strangled by it, this collection is an ideal indicator in getting the balance right. The blues jams get a trifle much at times, especially when "Loan Me A Dime", a survivor from that very first Atlantic album nudges the 15-minute mark; but on gorgeous works of melancholy such as "Slow Dancer", or the sprightly hop of "Breakdown Dead Ahead", Scaggs and his crack eight-piece band are clearly enjoying themselves. Just muso enough to please those who crave technical excellence, the performances avoid cliché and retain a freshness.

A welcome surprise, indeed.

Reviewer: Daryl Easlea

 

Boz Scaggs: Greatest Hits Live

Anthony Nield
18-03-2005

There’s a whiff of opportunism to greatest hits concerts. They work well under festival circumstances where a proportion of the audience will not be familiar with the nuances of an artist’s back catalogue. But for a devoted fan base there's an element of simply going for through the motions, playing the same old same old, and of course, money isn’t too far away. After all, these are the songs which have brought the performer their success, so why not cynically wheel them out again and make a little bit more?

Boz Scaggs : Greatest Hits Live does exactly this, just under two hours of “his most recognised work” (to quote the sleeve blurb) as backed by a seven piece band. They’re a tight unit, perfectly proficient and ultimately sterile. They don’t sound like a band who are particularly enjoying themselves, rather one who have been rehearsed to death, so much so that they never once break a sweat. Each track is note perfect to such a degree that you may as well go and by the original record, were it not for the fact that each number is rendered indulgent with a minimum track length of rarely less than five minutes.

Yet the musicians aren’t really at fault here - they are, after all, just session players - it’s the material that they’re working with that provides the problems. Scaggs specialises in a brand of MOR that is jazz-tinged and blues-inflected. But the MOR aspect constantly wins out, rendering the emotion that should be integral to either influence utterly benign. Maybe there is a depth to his parade of love songs, but this performance simply doesn’t demonstrate any. Much like the backing band, he’s got each number down to a tee (this is all about craftsmanship as opposed to art), giving the impression that he is, as the ‘greatest hits’ tag confirms, simply providing the audience with what they want. Yet surely if he had given greater consideration to what he was performing by selecting the songs that said the most to him rather than the record buying public, or the ones that currently got him excited, he would be compelled to a more involving, more live gig, thereby rewarding the concert goers to a far greater degree.

Indeed, from the various shots of the audience (the concert is perfectly adequately filmed on high definition favouring an unobtrusive, slowly gliding approach) their reaction rarely breaks beyond a polite smile and brief, muted applause. Almost predominately white, and undoubtedly middle class, such is their lack of any true delight that even when they do finally get on the feet - about a hour in - all they can muster is gentle swaying. According to the sleeve this concert was a homecoming gig performed at the Great American Music Hall in Scagg’s hometown of San Francisco, but only by reading this would you know; the in-between song banter is inauspicious and sounds as though it’s been rattled off numerous times before, the music likewise.

The Disc

Recorded in 2003, the concert looks and sounds fine on disc. The high definition video looks as good as can be expected, i.e. without the sheen that 35mm would have provided, and is presented anamorphically at a ratio of 1.78:1. As is typical with music releases the choice of sound options extends to DD2.0, DD5.1 and DTS. Each is crisp and clear, though the latter is undoubtedly the most favourable as it goes some way to beefing up Scagg’s sound.

A handful of extras are also provided, though nothing of particular note. An additional version of the song Harbour Lights is provided, this one taken from the ‘But Beautiful’ tour with a smaller different band, though the overall effect is the same as that which appears in the main concert,. Also present is a brief photo gallery of colour and black and white stills, plus a 15 minutes featurette entitled ‘Backstage With Boz’. This piece is a montage of pre-gig material taking us through the soundcheck, eavesdropping on inaudible banter between the various band members and taking vox pops from expectant audience members as they queue outside the venue. It’s an agreeable piece and fairly diverting, but as with everything else ultimately inconsequential.

As with the main feature none of the extras come with subtitles.

 

- Amazon.com

Singer-songwriter-guitarist Boz Scaggs has kept a fairly low profile since his heyday in the '70s and '80s--a circumstance more than rectified with Greatest Hits Live, a great-looking, great-sounding concert recorded in San Francisco in 2004. For the most part, this is Silk Degrees-style Boz, drawing from a large catalog that favors ballads (some quite lovely, like "Harbor Lights," "We're All Alone," and "Look What You've Done to Me") and deft pop-R&B-jazz à la Steely Dan (albeit with more soul and less verbal wit and sophistication). But while "Lido Shuffle," and other expected hits are here, so are several grittier, bluesier moments, including Earl King's "It All Went Down the Drain" and extended versions of the big band blues "Runnin' Blue" and the slow lament "Loan Me a Dime" (a tune from Scaggs's 1969 solo album that featured great guitar playing by the late Duane Allman). With a fine band, 16 songs, a running time that approaches two hours, some of the best DVD sound you'll ever hear, and crisp, clear visuals, Greatest Hits Live is a portrait of a veteran, durable artist who's still in his prime. --Sam Graham

Product Description
* His first ever live DVD * Filmed in high definition video * Mixed in stereo and surround sound * Bonus features include extra track, 15 minute documentary, and photo gallery From his early days with the Steve Miller Band, to his smash hits as a solo performer, Boz Scaggs has been a respected musician for decades. Greatest Hits Live features Scaggs in concert at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, and as Scaggs himself says, "It's not just any band that can pull off this song list." From the jazz-tinged "Harbor Lights," to the desperately blue "Loan Me a Dime," to hit songs including "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle," Greatest Hits Live provides a powerful overview of the artist's most recognized work.

1. Lowdown
2. Slow Dancer
3. Heart of Mine
4. It All Went Down the Drain
5. Harbor Lights
6. Jojo
7. Ask Me 'Bout Nothin' but the Blues
8. Breakdown Dead Ahead
9. Look What You've Done To Me
10. I Just Go
11. Georgia
12. Miss Sun
13. Lido Shuffle
14. Runnin' Blues
15. Loan Me a Dime
16. We're All Alone

FAN REVIEWS

Boz Scaggs LIVE at the Great American Music Hall:  Fans in attendance for the filming of the 'Greatest Hits' and 'But Beautiful Jazz' DVD discuss their experience. Read

 

www.bozscaggs.org
Boz Scaggs Official Archive

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