February 14, 2013 – 4:38 am

A storyteller like no other.

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.


Denver 1996 [no label, 1CD]

Live at The Bluebird, Denver, CO; October 13, 1996. Ex- soundboard stereo.

By 1996, Warren Zevon’s rock star days were long gone. New albums were also infrequent. After this brief solo tour, Zevon would retreat into silence for another four years and emerge again in 2000 with the fatalistic “Life”ll Kill Ya”.

But there are many reasons to enjoy Zevon’s solo tours. You can hear his songs clearly and the lyrics are now up front and in your face. Zevon was a thinking man’s songwriter and a born storyteller. Too bad his final major label album, The Envoy, chilled his relationship with Asylum and they dropped him. The title song for The Envoy was actually dedicated to the then US envoy to Middle East, Philip Habib. These songs unfortunately were devoid of any hit material. What they had was humour, albeit dark, and stories that were off the beaten track. Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner and Mohammed’s Radio come to mind.

Although he was later picked up by Virgin Records, Zevon was already ricocheting from left to right trying to find a way back to fame and presumably fortune. He threw in his lot with R.E.M. and formed the Hindu Love Gods but that too failed to restart his career. Zevon would try everything at least once, even a concept album like Transverse City. His albums were also brimfull with big names. Still it didn’t help move units. By the ’90s, Zevon could no longer afford anything but to perform as a solo act. This wasn’t a bad thing.

As Zevon fan, sheepdip, pointed out, his solo shows threw up bits and pieces of music that he didn’t write but enjoyed. Finally, you could see Zevon wear his heart on his sleeve.

“What makes this one especially appealing are the little bits of strange cover material. Here, the introduction for ‘Excitable Boy’ is about 40 instrumental seconds of the eerily cheery murder ballad ‘Mack the Knife’ from ‘Threepenny Opera’. More valuable and amusing - Warren strums his guitar for a ripely sincere two minute version of Paul Anka’s ‘My Way’.

“Likewise, you can almost imagine Warren in the spotlight, surrounded by darkness, for Bob Dylan’s ‘Ring Them Bells’, another two-minute wonder. AND there’s also the moody American standard, ‘You Don’t Know What Love Is’. So you’ve got Warren in pretty blue mood at The Bluebird!”

Thanks to sheepdip who shared this on Dime.
- Professor Red

Click here and then scroll down to the comments section for some recording background on this show.

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (224 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Please Do Not Hammer The Links. Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. The tracks should still be around. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Track 01. Mr. Bad Example (5.9MB)
Track 02. Carmelita > [banter and Dr. Babyhead intro] (7.2MB)
Track 03. [banter] > Figurine (11.6MB)
Track 04. Piano Fighter (6.1MB)
Track 05. Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner (9.7MB)
Track 06. [banter] (1.9MB)
Track 07. Don’t Let Us Get Sick (5.4MB)
Track 08. Bujumbura (4.7MB)
Track 09. Play It All Night Long (8.4MB)
Track 10. [instrumental intro to…] (4.5MB)
Track 11. Boom Boom Mancini (6.6MB)
Track 12. [banter] > You Don’t Know What Love Is [Raye/DePaul] (5.7MB)
Track 13. Mack the Knife [Blitzstein/Brecht/Weill] > Excitable Boy (8.5MB)
Track 14. Werewolves of London (6.8MB)
Track 15. My Way [Anka/Francois/Revaux/Thibault] (3.6MB)
Track 16. Lawyers, Guns and Money (5.3MB)
Track 17. Ring Them Bells [Dylan] (3.9MB)
Track 18. Mohammed’s Radio (7.6MB)

Warren Zevon on piano and guitar with Dr Babyhead on sax sometimes.

Not a single song from his then latest album, Mutineer, can be found in the show at The Bluebird club. It didn’t help that his then label, Giant, was going out of business. Buy Mutineer here.

A safer bet for new fans is to get the Rhino compilation, I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead (An Anthology), put out in 1996, just prior to this concert. Buy it here.

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  1. 31 Responses to “THE TROUBADOUR YEARS”

  2. i miss warren terribly. house used the song keep me in your heart as the song to close his final episode. it was gut wrenching. warren played the letterman show many times and i worked the green room there while he was at nbc so i got to talk to him often. then when he played the hungerthon at the un around 86 i think it was he did a hell of a set. has over 60 shows of his if anyone out there needs any. many are sbd/fm. the final appearance on letterman takes up the entire show and is on youtube in 4 parts. he sings several songs. have tissues ready. its a killer. extremely difficult to watch. what an incredible man he was. i hope hes having all the desserts he wants.

    By darth on Feb 14, 2013

  3. “i worked the green room there”

    so that’s what u call mopping up the booths at a peep show.

    By barth on Feb 14, 2013

  4. Thanks for this, Big-O! Zevon was always great and this show is supercool!

    By Elvislives on Feb 14, 2013

  5. Thanks very much bigO! I saw Warren do a solo show around this time; unfortunately the crowd was mainly frat boys screaming for Werewolves and Excitable Boy. This is the show I wish I could have seen.

    By Mark E. on Feb 14, 2013

  6. “i worked the green room there”

    so that’s what u call mopping up the booths at a peep show.


    By DROPKICK SARGE on Feb 14, 2013

  7. Thanks for this wonderful treasure, BigO! Warren was one of my all-time favorites and I’ve been requesting him on this blog for quite some time. He did a show across the street from Fenway Park in 1982 and changed the words to “The Envoy” to - “Send The Envoy, Send For YAZ!”

    Thanks again and next request - Social Distortion…

    By TDC on Feb 14, 2013

  8. I didnt know you worked the green room son,what colour was it?

    By Darth Mom on Feb 14, 2013

  9. An LA legend!

    By Edward on Feb 14, 2013

  10. I first became aware of warren many many years ago.
    I had bought the then new hit by the turtles “happy together” on wonderful little 45 rpm disc and in those days I never thought twice about playing the b-sides of records because occasionally you would disc-over some little gem. the flip side of this record was called “Like the seasons” and it was written by the very talented mr.warren zevon. My intro to the very talented man.

    By sluggo on Feb 15, 2013

  11. here`s a youtube link to the turtles version of warren`s Like the Seasons from 1967

    By sluggo on Feb 15, 2013

  12. Thank you Big O Amigos, this may be just what I need for the weekend. My friends Terry Beamer and David Potashnick introduced to me to Warren Z’s music at that the same time they introduced me to undergrad life in the big city of Columbia. Serious music for good times.

    Darth, did you actually get to speak with Z and was he approachable?



    By James on Feb 15, 2013

  13. Darth, did you actually get to speak with Z and was he approachable?


    By DROPKICK SARGE on Feb 15, 2013

  14. “Darth, did you actually get to speak with Z and was he approachable?”

    darth approached warren zevon in the green room and said “may i empty your ashtray sir?” he was fired after teaching crispin glover karate kicks. darth now refills the coke glasses on the judges table at american idol.

    By barth on Feb 15, 2013

  15. Why don’t you children take your little flamewar to some place that cares, like far up your own axxholex.

    By raoul duke on Feb 15, 2013

  16. yhw t`nod uoy ssip ffo ?

    By luoar ekud on Feb 15, 2013

  17. raoul, as your attorney, I advise you to drink a lot of Wild Turkey, it might kill that bug that’s far up yer own axx.

    By Dr. Johnson on Feb 15, 2013

  18. They need to have a forum on here for people with nothing to do, and suffer from multiple personalities.

    By Paul on Feb 15, 2013

  19. dont harass me and then expect me to answer questions u blithering idiot. what the fuck is wrong with u?

    By darth on Feb 15, 2013

  20. james - he was incredible and if he thought u were genuinely interested and wanted to hear the answers to your questions and he would actually look into your eyes and thought u had a question that u cared about the question u were asking sure he would talk to u. i was there in the green room many times at nbc with him before letterman left nbc for cbs for the sole purpose to take pics. but i was there to snap pics of anyone who was there. i had my faves of course and warren was one of them. i started out as a fan in the lobby of the building waiting for stars to walk thru the building towards the elevators to go upstairs and do either rehearsals for snl or interviews for the news program live at 5 or the today show or letterman. there were other radio networks upstairs too. it was the rca building building before it became general electric. i was just a regular fan/photographer and sometimes autograph collector when i had enough pics and wanted one of my pics signed. i had 1000s of my pics signed. sometimes albums or something else.
    but as for wz.. if he had time.. yes he was usually approachable and would talk. there was one time when rem was on one of the show. maybe it was letterman or snl. i stopped peter buck and asked him a few questions about having worked with warren on the hindu love gods album. it originally came out around 1990 and wasnt really an rem/zevon album. it was essentially a buck/zevon album and the other guys guested on it. i wanted more info than i got but i was able to talk to him much longer than i expected. i was shocked. buck isnt as approachable. the others in rem absolutely arent. esp stipe. altho he will shake your hand. forget an autograph. pics are possible but not easy. by the time i worked at nbc and abc rem no longer made appearances on shows there.
    if u want to find some in depth honest from the heart conversations with zevon.. look for his conversations with jim ladd from the 70s and 80s.

    By darth on Feb 15, 2013

  21. Four separate posts on Valentine’s Day night. What a life. At least the cursing rant was brief, but it was directed at the one person who asked a serious question.

    By Dingus on Feb 15, 2013

  22. Thank you Darth.

    For a year I shot concert photos in Kansas City as part of a newspaper job. I think the firm I worked through to get the passes was called Westwood, run by a gent named Mike Gornetski. Interesting times, but that was 1989 and access was already very controlled. Again, thanks for your answer. Have a great weekend.

    By James on Feb 15, 2013

  23. darth your invaluable insight is what leads me here .I don`t post often but reading about your adventures during the letterman and snl days are so exciting! Please , ignore the sillies and tell us more! katerina g

    By katerina g on Feb 15, 2013

  24. hey darth looks like you`ve got yourself a live one here.

    By dunktank willie on Feb 16, 2013

  25. dont harass me and then expect me to answer questions u blithering idiot. what the fuck is wrong with u?

    kiss your ma with that mouth boy?

    By dunktank willie on Feb 16, 2013

  26. I saw this tour about two weeks after this show. Warren was definitely at his nadir but his humor was intact. The club was a falling down dump catering to the black eyeliner college crowd. At one point he remarked, “Do you like what they’ve done with the place?”

    Thanks for bringing it back!

    By rrbbkk on Feb 16, 2013

  27. sounds like dunktank willie has some serious oedipus issues,lol

    By joe psycho on Feb 16, 2013

  28. For those who miss Warren Zevon… he’s a pile of live shows… and legal.

    By Psyclist on Feb 16, 2013

  29. Should you want the FLAC …

    By Psyclist on Feb 16, 2013

  30. And the share I posted is of better quality.

    By Psyclist on Feb 16, 2013

  31. psyclist - the 4th/5th lines of the very 1st posting all the way up on top mention and that they have over 60 shows of his and that many of them are sbd/fm.
    btw.. flac isnt better quality necessarily. its just lossless. if the bitrate is higher then yes it will be higher quality. the advantages are that transfering across the net and between people cd etc. with flac will make it such that there is no loss between copies or generations or transfers digital notwithstanding and compression as well.
    many ppl dont wanna deal with flac or shn. i know where theyre coming from. some just arent that crazy about it. sometimes i know how it is on each side.

    By darth on Feb 16, 2013

  32. in other words Psyclist, darth has dissed you.

    By dunktank willie on Feb 16, 2013

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