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Weather Report - Live in Offenbach 1978 CD (album) cover

LIVE IN OFFENBACH 1978

Weather Report

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.12 | 17 ratings

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Mr. Gone
4 stars In spite of the filler on here, I have to give this four stars. There's plenty of awesome stuff on here, and I find this preferable to the 8:30 album released from the same tour as this performance.

I'll admit that "Teen Town" and "Birdland" aren't my favorites by this group. And "Young and Fine" may be the weakest track on the then-current Mr. Gone album (though it sounds strangely more tolerable on here for some reason - go figure). The solos may be interesting to watch (I have the video too) but not as interesting to listen to. Add in the fact that this was the only tour they did without a percussionist, and it may seem a bit odd to rank it this highly.

However, there are some blistering performances on here. "Black Market" has an extended tenor sax solo at the end (in fact, it's Wayne Shorter's longest solo of the night within a group song) where Joe Zawinul just sits back and lets Shorter blow over Peter Erskine's drums. Erskine's drums provide the strongest-yet recorded structure to the rather ethereal "Scarlet Woman", and Joe Zawinul's electric piano sounds outstanding until he goes synth with Shorter's soprano sax (Jaco Pastorious's bass work there is also outstanding). "The Pursuit of the Woman With the Feathered Hat", like much of the Mr. Gone material, actually sounds better on here than it did in the studio, in part because we get to hear Shorter's soprano in place of the synths that dominated the studio version and because Erskine lays down a terrific groove. "A Remark You Made", as always, is beautiful. "River People" bubbles with energy, and the synths sound better than in the studio (plus, again, Shorter's soprano is prominent). And the disc 1 ender, "Mr. Gone", blisters along as Pastorious can't stay still playing the song's famous groove. Shorter gets much more sax here to than on the studio version, and Zawinul's keyboard solo is quintessentially him.

Disc 2's openers - "In a Silent Way" and "Waterfall", sound as good as they ever did and add an experimental feel to what is a fairly strongly charted setlist. "Elegant People" has a different intro than it did in the studio and on previous tours (same as "Black Market"), but still sounds very good even if the great piano before the song's main theme is replaced with a synthesizer and Shorter's sax. And Badia...the live versions of this always have more energy than the excellent studio version, and this time is no exception.

So - there's a lot to like here. The video is well worth checking out too, and the solos become much more interesting when presented visually. Despite the shortcomings, where this album clicks it REALLY clicks. Four stars. Check it out.

Mr. Gone | 4/5 |

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