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Guster on Ice - Live from Portland, Maine

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Album Review

The reason why Guster have been able to sell records all these years is because they continue to sell out shows. Since their 1992 inception, Guster have maintained a loyal following, and by the time their fourth record, Keep It Together, was released in summer 2003, the band's live setting was still gaining momentum. Guster on Ice: Live From Portland Maine captures their undeniable playfulness and everlasting spirit. This CD/DVD set is Guster's first ever live album and it's a crispy clear arrangement. There once were three — Ryan Miller, Adam Gardner, and Brian Rosenworcel — and now there are four. Fans should be used to multi-instrumentalist Joe Pisapia's place among the Guster gang by now. His work on banjo, bass, and keyboards fleshes out Guster's usual sound of earnest harmonies, acoustic guitars, and their signature bum rush of percussion, especially in a live setting. Fan favorites such as "Barrel of a Gun," "Happier," and "Fa Fa" are included here as well as the band's cover of Talking Heads' "(Nothing But) Flowers." That set list alone is soaked in Guster goodness, for their energy never stops. "Amsterdam," the band's radio hit from Keep It Together, is proof that honest songwriting and the love of performing for an audience has to be real. Guster never let up on their intoxicating groove of rock & roll. Even the more moody tracks such as the classic acoustic guitar storm, and in this case electric thunder, "Airport Song" and the near seven-minute somber build up of "Come Downstairs and Say Hello" are equally full of feeling. As much as they are funny and endearing, Guster's rare sensitivity allows their work to come full circle. Guster on Ice: Live From Portland gives fans the chance to celebrate that. The DVD alone is worthy of applause. Extra live cuts such as "What You Wish" and the Pisapia-penned track "Jesus on the Radio" are nicely woven in during the concert portion. Videos for "Careful" and "Amsterdam" and special behind-the-scenes snippets exhibit how accessible Guster are. You'll want to bring them home to Mom.


Formed: 1991 in West Somerville, MA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Although they evolved into a full-fledged pop band, Guster began their career as a quirky acoustic trio. The band, whose three co-founders met during freshmen year at Tufts University, spent most of the 1990s touring the college circuit and releasing independent albums, all of which featured hand percussion in lieu of a traditional drum set. Released in 1999, Lost and Gone Forever widened the band’s sound considerably, and the follow-up album found percussionist Brian Rosenworcel playing a drum set...
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Guster on Ice - Live from Portland, Maine, Guster
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