Chris and Rich Robinson revitalized the Black Crowes in 2008 by en-listing two new members who then participated in the recording of inspired original material on the band’s first studio set in seven years Warpaint. The extensive touring that followed, from which this double live CD is taken, finds the quintet even further invigorated…and invigorating to hear.
Making themselves heard over the resounding boom of the Steve Gorman/Sven Pipien rhythm section, the two new recruits make their presence felt immediately. Keyboardist Adam McDougall is not reticent in the least to step forward, his ringing piano work opening up the high-volume sound of the group at full-throttle on "Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution." His Hammond organ flows in, out and around fellow newcomer Luther Dickinson’s guitar on "Walk Believer Walk," cushioning the buzz-saw edge of the North Mississippi Allstar’s slide guitar work.
Dickinson may in fact be the catalyst in elevating the Crowes’ performance. The quiet of "There’s Gold in Hills" is all the more effective for the raucous sound around it. The group mixes acoustic blues and percussive strains of Indian music within the following cut, "Whoa Mule," while on "Oh Josephine," the band has a chance to work out on the rise and fall of the rideout.
Warpaint Live includes all the material (in sequence) from the latest studio effort, a chestnut from the past (“Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye”) and an original of recent vintage (“Darling of the Underground Press” from the Robinsons’ 2008 duet shows). Plus, there’s cover material that reflects the Crowes’ roots: Delaney and Bonnie’s "Poor Elijah/Tribute to Johnson (medley)” serves as homage to the modern fusion of rock and gospel they pioneered, “Don’t Know Why” comes from the Eric Clapton album Bramlett produced and the cull from Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street, "Torn and Frayed,” is nouveau honky-tonk deluxe.