Tuesday, December 20, 2016


It was a big idea with big stars, and looked like a sure-fire hit, but the Showtime series Roadies bombed this past summer, and was cancelled after one season. Despite having Cameron Crowe in charge (Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous) and J.J. Abrams overseeing, with Luke Wilson starring, and lots of famous musicians in each show, the plot about the lives of roadies turned out to be about as exciting as the lives of roadies actually are. Sure, they get to see cool moments backstage and awesome soundcheck performances, but that's all that was interesting on the shows as well.

What we're left with is the soundtrack featuring the guests from the 10 episodes, usually appearing truly live, without the normal backing track or lip-synch performances. Given Crowe's A-list contact list, and pretty good taste, he lined up a mix of A-listers to up-and-comers. Lindsey Buckingham does a mean solo version of his Big Love, always a highlight of Fleetwood Mac shows. Jim James appears twice over the 16 cuts, once with My Morning Jacket, and again solo with a surprising choice, a cover of the somewhat obscure Who song, They Are All In Love, a tender cut from the Who By Numbers album, a beautiful acoustic performance. Quirky Brit Robyn Hitchcock, always killer live, does his own Sayonara, Judge. Best of all, Jackson Browne pays tribute to his old pal Lowell George, with the classic Little Feat gem Willin', and Gary Clark Jr. wows with a passionate version of The Healing.

I'm sure Crowe and crew felt they'd have more opportunities to present bigger names, so several of the shows featured new acts, no doubt scouted and touted by music placement people. While there's no denying the quality of Best Coast and The Head and the Heart, the likes of Saskatoon's Reignwolf and Phantogram are the type of acts that you get told are great but don't actually ever prove it. Add in a performance by the past-his-due-date John Mellencamp, it means there are holes in this set. Like the show itself, it makes one wonder how they managed to make this less-than-excellent.

1 comment:

  1. I tried to watch this show being a big music guy, but by the third episode I was out. The faux earnestness got nauseating. Roadies are mercenaries by nature, not patriotic soldiers in "your" army.