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Out There Live Live

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Audio CD, Live, September 25, 2001
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Dar Williams - "As Cool As I Am"


The initial idea came in a flash. Dar Williams was driving on an isolated highway, crossing from New York into Ontario, surrounded by frozen fields, silver trees, and empty sky, when inspiration struck.

“I thought, ‘I want to write a biker song!,’” Williams says with a laugh. “And then my second thought was, ‘I want to write an epic biker song.’ ... Read more in Amazon's Dar Williams Store

Visit Amazon's Dar Williams Store
for 15 albums, 12 photos, videos, and 8 full streaming songs.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 25, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Razor & Tie
  • ASIN: B00005O68S
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,495 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. As Cool as I Am
2. If I Wrote You
3. Spring Street
4. I Won't Be Your Yoko Ono
5. February
6. The Ocean
7. Better Things
8. Iowa
9. End of the Summer
10. We Learned the Sea
11. Are You Out There
12. When I Was a Boy
13. What Do You Hear in These Sounds
14. After All
15. The Babysitter's Here
16. The Christians and the Pagans

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

There was a time when Dar Williams flubbed her chords, forgot her lyrics, and could only make it through a set due to the enthusiastic support of her fans. Now she's a seasoned and poised folk-rocker and a mesmerizing live performer, although this recording fails to reflect it. Sadly, her magnetic personality and energy seem lost here. Recorded during her 2000 tour behind The Green World, Out There Live too often falls short of both her lush studio recordings and her vibrant stage performances. Although upbeat numbers like "As Cool As I Am" and "Are You Out There?" nearly summon the patented Williams charm and verve, her more plaintive, quiet songs, such as "February," "End of the Summer," and "When I Was a Boy," sound exhausted and flat. No new songs or covers are included, most arrangements vary only slightly from existing studio recordings, and Williams frequently sounds downright bored. Her endearing stage banter is captured in a few song introductions, but it is not enough to carry an album that will please only die-hard fans. --Sally Weinbach

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 33 customer reviews
I have never seen her live, but would love to have the chance sometime.
Nil d'Entremont
I highly, highly recommend this CD, as a true gift to yourself or a friend.
Suzanne Simpson
She is a true talent, with music that can be appreciated over and over.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Keith Levenberg on October 9, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This album collects some fantastic performances. Dar plays with a talented band that on many tracks adds beautiful flourishes and improvised touches to songs that now sound more interesting than their studio versions. ("As Cool as I Am," "The Ocean," and "Iowa," the last with a new guitar solo, all stand out; "Are You Out There," unfortunately, loses quite a bit of its ethereal charm and now sounds more like a traditional folk song.) The sound quality also merits praise. The excellent recordings here contain more "oomph" (for lack of a technical term) than Dar's studio albums, providing increased clarity and presence.
All that being said, this album has some serious problems. For whatever reason the applause at the end of each track is faded to absolute silence before the music on the next track begins, effectively shattering the illusion that listeners are being treated to a preserved Dar performance. I have never heard a live album that appeared so fully cut-and-pasted.
Moreover, this unquestionably needed to be a two-disc set. The inclusion of Dar's song introductions and banter with the audience is laudable, but the few songs (really only two) featuring them only serve to remind listeners of how many must have been snipped out. A second disc would have allowed these important bits (the biggest appeal of seeing Dar live) to be preserved in addition to featuring more songs. No performer would go on stage for only 70 minutes for a regular show, so why should anyone consider a 70 minute live album adequate?
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sean Harding on September 25, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Dar Williams gives a great live show, and the idea of bringing that home in the form of a live album is very appealing. But it's difficult for most artists to shove the excitement and emotion of a live show into a CD, and Dar is no exception. Out There Live is a very nice collection of Dar's songs. I think that most of the versions on this album are at least as good as the ones on the studio albums. And the tidbits of between-song banter we're given are entertaining. But it really doesn't convey the magic of a real Dar Williams show. I just don't think that feeling can be communicated on a CD.
Buy Out There Live and enjoy it for what it is: a bunch of great versions of Dar's best songs. But don't expect it to be a substitute for going to a show.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan B Whitcomb on September 27, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Like death and taxes, live albums seem to be inevitable pieces of any recording artist's discography whose career spans more than 10 years. They serve to fill in the gaps between studio albums and also act as an interim greatest hits collection (which will invariably follow 2-3 years later). But what are they really for? Some artists never seem to come across as well in studio albums as they do live (Cheap Trick and Peter Frampton come to mind immediately). Others illustrate just how much of an artist's appeal is just studio magic.
Dar Williams is one of my favorite entertainers. She has the rare ability to make even a large crowd feel intimate and friendly, and her banter is always quirky and endearing. Though an experienced performer, she still seems a bit awkward and hyper in front of an audience but she always seems genuine and sincere, which is a refreshing change from many performer's scripted exchanges. The trouble with this album is that very little of the magic of Dar's live performances comes across.
Many "live" albums are so touched up and tweaked so much that they might as well be studio albums with audience noise dubbed in. "Out There Live" isn't one of those: it sounds like an off-the-board recording. I admire Dar for taking this warts-and-all approach. This album features a slightly hoarse sounding Dar delivering fine (if not really inspired) performances of her best known songs. The mix pushes Dar out in front of the band, so sometimes the overall sound is a bit murky. Because the tracks fade out the cheering tracks it feels less like a concert album than a collection of live tracks.
So how do I rate this album? It pales beside both her studio recordings and her live performances.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. M. Carey on September 28, 2001
Format: Audio CD
While I've never really been a huge fan of live albums, I really enjoy this disc from Dar - not a seamless concert but rather a collection culled from what seems to be different shows. Included amongst the songs are some of the introductions and descriptions she offers when performing, which provide at least a peek into what a Dar concert is like. But there aren't too many of those and they're not too distracting, allowing the music to speak for itself.
For the most part, the collection is very balanced, with songs from all of Dar's albums, although her first, The Honesty Room, is not as well-represented as the others - the exclusion of You're Aging Well is my only complaint and, I think, a real loss. The pieces that are included illustrate Dar's range and highlight her fantastic lyrics - it's kind of a 'best of' album performed live with a few unexpected songs thrown in.
Any fan of Dar's music will appreciate this disc, and those who are not as familiar with Dar or who haven't seen her in concert will at least get a general idea of what her shows are like. My only criticisms of the CD aren't really flaws - just things that, as a hugenormous fan of Dar's, I wish she'd included - even more of her dialogue, a few other songs, etc. But even though I love all of Dar' s music, I do not often really like CDs of live music (with the notable exception of Van Morrison's One Night in San Francisco - brilliant!), so I was actually a rather tough audience for this one and was really surprised at how much I like it! While nothing can fully recreate a Dar show, this CD offers a glimpse into one while also providing a nice compilation, terrifically performed, of Dar's wonderful music.
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