Happy Anniversary: Warren Zevon Stand In The Fire
37 years ago today, Warren Zevon released his first live album.
Recorded at the Roxy Theater in Los Angeles, STAND IN THE FIRE delivered 10 tracks of prime Zevon. Actually, make that nine tracks of prime Zevon and one track of prime Bo Diddley (“Bo Diddley’s A Gunslinger”) as interpreted by Zevon in his prime. That’s no exaggeration, either: this was recorded during a window when he was clean and sober and ready to rock, hence his decision to hit the road for his The Dog Ate The Part We Didn’t Like Tour.
In addition to his usual crew of lead guitarist David Landau and bassist Roberto Pinon, the band also featured guitarist Zeke Zirngiebel, synth player Bob Harris, and drummer Marty Stinger, all three of whom were in the band Boulder. The group’s performances are tight throughout, giving Zevon the chance to express himself to the best of his ability on such classic tunes as “Excitable Boy,” “Mohammed’s Radio,” “Werewolves of London,” “Lawyers, Guns and Money,” “Poor Poor Pitiful Me,” and “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead,” among others. Plus, when STAND IN THE FIRE was reissued in 2007, an additional four tracks were added to the collection, all of them well known to even Zevon’s casual fans: “Johnny Strikes Up The Band,” “Play It All Night Long,” “Frank and Jesse James,” and “Hasten Down the Wind.”
In his reflections on STAND IN THE FIRE on AllMusic.com, Mark Deming wrote, “While his songs long had a dark and frantic undercurrent, Zevon was now capable of playing a no-holds-barred rock show where he could bring the sharper edges of his music to the forefront.” And so he did, in a big way.
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