Waiting For Columbus is the first live album released by Little Feat and is considered to be one of the best live albums ever. Plenty more have followed.
It was recorded at the Rainbow Theatre in London and Lisner Auditorium in Washington DC in early August 1977 on the Time Loves A Hero tour.
Before punk came along, Little Feat were a critics favourite with their unique brand of fusion rock pulling on the blues, country, boogie and funk. Personally I didn’t see what was so special as the studio albums lacked impact.
My problem was I hadn’t seen or heard them play live. This is a great album for someone who thinks they don’t like Little Feat to hear.
Little Feat Waiting For Columbus
My Rating – 27 out of 30 (9 + 9 + 9)
Average Amazon Customer Rating – %%AVERAGERATING%% Stars
Set List Of Waiting For Columbus
This is another live album that has been extended as a reissue. This is the list of tracks from the 2002 Deluxe Edition and it’s the version to get.
- Join The Band – 1:54
- Fat Man in the Bathtub – 4:53 (Dixie Chicken)
- All That You Dream – 4:29 (The Last Record Album)
- Oh Atlanta – 4:20 (Feats Don’t Fail Me Now)
- Old Folks’ Boogie – 4:26 (Time Loves a Hero)
- Dixie Chicken – 8:53 (Dixie Chicken)
- Tripe Face Boogie – 7:09 (Sailin’ Shoes)
- Rocket in My Pocket – 3:57 (Time Loves a Hero)
- Time Loves a Hero – 4:19 (Time Loves a Hero)
- Day or Night – 5:30 (The Last Record Album)
- Mercenary Territory – 4:36 (The Last Record Album)
- Spanish Moon – 5:36 (Feats Don’t Fail Me Now)
- Willin’ – 4:42 (on the album Little Feat and Sailin’ Shoes)
- Don’t Bogart That Joint – 1:01
- A Apolitical Blues – 3:51 (Sailin’ Shoes)
- Sailin’ Shoes – 6:23 (Sailin’ Shoes)
- Feats Don’t Fail Me Now – 5:35 (Feats Don’t Fail Me Now)
- One Love Stand – 4:27 (The Last Record Album)
- Rock and Roll Doctor – 4:17 (Feats Don’t Fail Me Now)
- Skin It Back – 5:40 (Feats Don’t Fail Me Now)
- On Your Way Down – 6:25 (Dixie Chicken)
- Walkin’ All Night – 4:12 (Dixie Chicken)
- Cold, Cold, Cold – 5:18 (Sailin’ Shoes)
The album is a comprehensive sample of their second to six studio albums with only the eponymous debut album Little Feat under-represented. The original vinyl double album had the first 17 tracks while the first CD was released with 15 tracks, leaving out Don’t Bogart That Joint and A Apolitical Blues to save the five minutes needed to fit. The deluxe version was released in 2002 with all the tracks from the vinyl album (in a different order) and with ten extra songs from the concerts. The Amazon autorip in the UK only has the original 17 tracks.
I’m giving the songs on here a rating of 9 out of 10. They sound fine here but there’s only been a few of the studio recorded songs that have ever made me sit up and take notice.
Little Feat were joined by the horn section of the Tower Of Power funk group. As I like brass, this suits me fine and reminds me of Rock Of Ages by The Band.
The group had an established line-up around this time and that helps to keep them tight.
Paul Barrère – guitar, vocals
Sam Clayton – congas, vocals
Lowell George – lead vocals, guitar
Kenny Gradney – bass guitar
Richard Hayward – drums, vocals
Bill Payne – keyboards, synthesizer, vocals
I also understand that former Rolling Stone Mick Taylor guests on A Apolitical Blues with some slide guitar. As I’m a big fan of Taylor, it’s not enough of him performing but nice to have.
Little Feat had fun with their songs live, extending some, changing the arrangements of others. I’m not familiar enough with their studio catalogue to point out specific differences.
I have a problem with the singing and always think they need a stronger, more distinctive voice. It’s therefore another 9 out of 10 for performance in my ratings.
Here are some videos of Little Feat performing live in concert in 1977.
Apolitical Blues – with Mick Taylor
Rocket In My Pocket
Atmosphere & Authenticty
The album feels live and there’s a little banter with the crowd. The deluxe version is much better than say, One More From The Road by Lynyrd Skynyrd where they tacked on extra versions of songs already performed earlier in the album. However concerts have a way of flowing and it isn’t right to have the encore of five songs starting CD 2 and then going back to play more songs from the middle of the concert. I’m docking a star so it’s 9 out of 10 on this part of the rating as well.
Great set list, terrific performance with the band members that represented Little Feat at their peak and before main man Lowell George died.
What’s there not to love about this live album?
My only quibble is that it’s an album I find hard to categorise and therefore I tend to overlook it. Little Feat have such an original sound that it’s not rock, it’s not blues, it’s not country rock, it’s not funk or soul.
Because I’m not anchored in the Little Feat studio albums, I don’t even have the urge that I must hear certain songs. However, as I have got to know it better, gradually I’ve started to feel a desire to play the album.
I also wonder how much of an impact it will make on new listeners in the vital first couple of plays. My advice is to turn it up loud and sink into the music.
However when I do play it, I enjoy more as the album develops and find it difficult to stop playing it. The temptation to hit the play button again is very strong when the CD is in my car.
27 out of 30 is a very respectable rating when 29/30 is the highest I’ve ever given. If I keep playing it regularly, it could nudge into the 28s.
What Other People Say About Waiting For Columbus
I am very surprised but I have only seen it once in the best live albums lists:
It is popular at Amazon.
Buying Waiting For Columbus
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What Do You Think About Waiting For Columbus?
If you’re a big Little Feat fan, I’d welcome a more knowledgeable assessment of why Waiting For Columbus is considered to be such a fine live album.
Is it the best live album by Little Feat?
What Are The Best Live Albums Ever?
Please help me to find the best live albums ever by voting in the readers polls. This album is so hard to classify that I seem to have broken my rule of two categories only because it appears in best Southern rock live albums, best classic rock live albums and best blues rock live albums.
You can see the complete list of readers polls at Live Album Polls.