Warren Zevon - piano, vocals; David "The Jaguar" Landau - guitar; Jorge Calderon - guitar; Stanley Sheldon - bass; Bo Siegel - drums
Warren Zevon, who died in September of 2003 after a well-publicized year-long battle with lung cancer, left an amazing legacy of introspective pop songs that spanned a career of almost 40 years. One of the most acclaimed cutting edge musical satirists, Zevon lived a volatile life that included everything from fame, wealth and worldwide acclaim to depression, financial strife, and bouts with drugs and alcohol. Still, he experienced a moment of complete clarity when his terminal cancer diagnosis came through in 2002. He set out to leave one lasting musical impression and gathered most of his closest friends ranging from Bruce Springsteen to Jackson Browne to record The Wind, his final LP. It was released to massive critical acclaim and strong sales, just weeks before his death. The following year, Zevon won two Grammy Awards for the LP, something that had eluded him while he was alive.
This recording, made in 1978 after the release of his biggest hit album, Excitable Boy, was taped when Zevon was high on the charts with the hit single, "Werewolves Of London." Zevon had struggled for a decade prior to this, but saw success as a songwriter and arranger for the likes of the Everly Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, and others. On this recording, the band is a bit rough and the vocals aren't always on, but Zevon's spirit and performance more than makes up for any weaknesses.
The song selection here is stellar, and essentially captures most of his greatest hits (and certainly the best material he had composed up to that time). Among the highlights are "Johnny Strikes Up The Band," "Tenderness On The Block" and "Mohammed's Radio" (which was also covered by Linda Ronstadt). "Excitable Boy" suffers from sloppy piano notes, but rocks nonetheless, and "Accidentally Like A Martyr" proves again it was one of the best songs he ever wrote. Zevon and the band crank it out on "A Certain Girl" before he brings the show to a near-close with his current hit single, "Werewolves of London." He concludes the night with "Lawyers, Guns And Money."