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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
Changes Come LIVE
Artist: Over the Rhine
Label: Independent - overtherhine.com exclusive
Length: 13 tracks, 73:52
Generally, I'm not all that into live albums. I've picked up a few that I've enjoyed, but rarely do they find themselves being played repeatedly. Well, when Over the Rhine released their live album Changes Come that pretty much changed everything. The album was recorded at an unknown site on the fall 2003 tour. Most of the set list comes from the recent masterpiece Ohio and dare I say, these songs are even better on the live album than in their previous format. Let's take a closer look.
The album begins with "Spinning" which is basically an atmospheric piece to set things up for the upgraded version of "Show Me," a country influenced rocker that sets the album off on the right foot. Next we are treated with the gorgeous "She" which is complimented by the ultra gorgeous vocals of Karin Bergquist. This bittersweet, meaninful song was one of the very best from Ohio. The mood is altered a bit (in a good way) when Karin announces, "This is how white girls rap in Ohio" as Over the Rhine launches into "Nobody #1," a prime opportunity for the band to showcase their skills.
Speaking of the band, on this album we have Linford Detweiler on piano, keys, and other such instruments with buttons. Paul Moak plays guitars, pedal steel, and sitar. Rick Plant is on bass and Will Sayles rounds things out behind the drumset. And it should also be mentioned that Karin plays acoustic guitar as well as piano on a few songs.
Moving on with the setlist, "Suitcase" seems full of more longing this time. "Lifelong Fling" is turned into a long jam with a cover of "Ain't No Sunshine" tacked on to the end to top things off. Karin's solo performance of "Ohio" seems more full of passion than ever. At this point the band launches into a few older tunes. "All I Need Is Everything" is given a sense of energy that the song has long begged for (even though the previous version on Good Dog, Bad Dog is really good in its own right). "The World Can Wait" is full, beautiful and rocking, and the set closer "When I Go" vies strongly for album highlight with its amazing prolonged ending.
Thankfully, we've got an encore on here which is just icing on the cake. "B.P.D." is easy to enjoy as always. "Cruel & Pretty" seems just a little more peaceful and soothing this time around to the point that when the final note is played, you could be floating on clouds if not careful. As if the rest of the album was just a warm up, the album's final song "Changes Come" blows pretty much everything out of the water. The painful heartfelt tune is turned into something much more powerful here as the song explodes while Karin sings, "Jesus come, turn our world around." By the end of the song I was left wondering if I just heard what I thought I did.
Sure enough, Changes Come is the real deal. Not only is it the best live album that I have heard, it very well may be Over the Rhine's best album. Their sound is captured perfectly and they are given a freedom in this live setting that allows the music to truly soar.
Trae Cadenhead 8/8/2004
I have been an Over the Rhine devotee since their debut in Cincinnati over ten years ago. By happy coincidence, I was living there when the group formed, and caught a few of their first performances in tiny clubs such as Sudsy Malone’s. Karin Bergquist’s rich vocals, combined with the keyboard and complimentary backup vocals provided by husband Linford Detwiler, have set a standard that artists like Sheryl Crow could only hope to aspire to. Unfortunately, as it seems with many of my favorites, this has not translated into a large number of record sales, or the worldwide acclaim they so richly deserve.
Changes Come is a present from Over the Rhine to their fans. Available strictly from their website, it is an Ohio-era concert recorded in late 2003. “Show Me” is phenomenal, a perfect match between vocals and music. “Nobody #1” features Detwiler’s keyboards and organ playing that mesh with Bergquist’s vocals in such way to elevate this song to a sublime level.
“Lifelong Sunshine” marries the OTR song with the classic Bill Withers “Ain’t No Sunshine”. Long time concert standard “All I Need is Everything” shows itself to be a fan favorite, with audience vocals clearly heard in the background. “When I Go” is over ten minutes of euphoria, and “B.P.D.” soars.
“Changes Come” closes the show with the plea for “Jesus [to] come…turn this way around”. It, like the rest of the album, illustrates what a lucky few already know – that Over the Rhine can take songs that seem ordinary to good upon face value, then turn them into something than is greater than the sum of its parts. Simply a transcendent album that makes its listeners wish they had been there to see this performance.
Brian A. Smith