There is nothing better than artist that delivers a surprise and Matt Nathanson did just that. On Wednesday of last week, he made an announcement that he was dropping a live album and you could pre-order it on vinyl or many bundles on Thursday at Noon EST. So, I set a reminder on my calendar and when 12:00pm hit, I was on the site and the album was ordered. And to make it even better, you were sent an email and able to download the album immediately in a digital version. And to make it even better than better, you got a deluxe edition with another 36 tracks. That was over 3 hours of music…hell yeah!!! And the album would drop to the general public on Friday so I got to hear it day before everyone else (except those other fans that ordered).
The main standard album is mostly an actual show that was recorded on his 2019 tour called the “Song Wheel” Extravaganza Tour at the legendary Paradise Rock Club in his hometown of Boston, MASS. What was really cool about this tour is that it was an acoustic show with just Matt and his friend Aaron. And another really cool aspect is the tour included a big wheel called the Song Wheel. There were a ton of songs around the wheel and he would spin it several times during the show and let the wheel decide what song would be played next. This is exciting because basically each show he played would be different than the show prior. That is almost unheard of in today’s technical and choreographed lighting shows where every bit of the show is timed out to the precise moment leaving no room for improv which Matt is an utter master at doing.
This standard edition is full of all the hits and they are played to absolute perfection, but the highlight of every Matt Nathanson show is his interaction with the audience. He is a master storyteller and the humor he layers in his not only laugh out loud funny, it is witty and clever and oh so memorable. The audience interaction is a highlight, but let’s be honest, his songwriting is his specialty. There is not another person out there that captures my attention with their writing more than Matt. Such beautiful songs like “Headphones”, “Bill Murray”, “Car Crash” and “Come On Get Higher” are plainly and simply…BRILLIANT!!! With just 2 guys and their acoustic guitars and some keyboards occasionally, the music is simple yet so powerful and emotive at times, it keeps you engrossed and hanging on every lyric that slips from his lips.
And the Deluxe edition of this album has another 36 tracks which is 29 songs and another 7 dialogue moments which you have to check out especially his Brexit Opera as it is hilarious! These extra songs are the best of the best from that tour and are recorded at numerous locations around the U.S. You get some old, old songs like “Answering Machine” and “Princess” as well as songs he rarely ever plays like “Kiss Quick” which is one of my favorite tracks ever from him. Really stunning.
This isn’t really a fair review because I am so biased that it is easily gets a 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars. I have said before in reviews of his that I didn’t care for a song or two, but there is nothing to point out that is wrong with this album. You get about 45 songs and over 3 hours of music…what more could you ask for from an artist. It is reasons like this that Matt is so great, he knows how to treat his fans. If I could give a higher score than 5.0, I would. And honestly, the album is spectacular. The sound quality, the musicianship and the vocals are all nothing short of amazing. Can you tell I like it?? If you don’t know Matt, this is actually a great representation of who he is. When he announces an album, money is no object and I will pay whatever he wants and I will buy it…no questions asked and I am never disappointed.