All I can say is “wow!” The Mule is burning white hot on both of the two live shows in this double DVD set.
The first show was recorded at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston back in 2004. Warren Haynes and the boys knock it out of the park during two red hot sets that begin with “Bad Man Walking” and include tight versions of classics like “Temporary Saint,” “Slackjaw Jezebel,” and “Blind Man in the Dark,” as well as the always great “Beautifully Broken.” The outstanding moment during this show is the “Devil Likes it Slow” > Drums > Burro of Brighton Jam > My Separate Reality” medley. Awesome.
Disc two was recorded in Chicago in 2006 and rocks from beginning to end, with “Bad Little Doggie,” “Rocking Horse,” “32/20 Blues,” and an incredible medley that really shows the band’s ability to improvise like never before. Beginning with “Game Face” > “Mountain Jam” > “Game Face” .... then comes a power outage. Matt Abts keeps playing his drum kit, and pretty soon, Warren, Danny Louis and Andy Hess are all behind the kit, playing in an impromptu drum circle. Finally, the power comes back on and Warren kicks back into “Game Face” before ending the show with “Thorazine Shuffle” and the encore, “Reggae Soulshine.” Earlier in the same show, there is a moment where the keyboard becomes possessed and screams loudly. Later in the show, Matt’s drum stool breaks, and he comes close to falling into the drums. Even the ghosts in the machine don’t sway the Mule. They abide like the Dude.
With over five hours total running time, including the music video for “Million Miles from Yesterday,” A Tail of Two Cities is two great Mule shows, warts and all. An amazing collection that views quite well on a large screen plasma TV with Bose speakers cranked to eleven.
-Michael Buffalo Smith