There are a number of reasons to like the music of Dar Williams, including good lyrics, a contemporary sensibility, and an ability to craft memorable tunes. There are also a couple of good reasons to like Out There Live. First, it offers a nice overview of her musical career, selecting 16 tunes from four albums, from The Honesty Room in 1993 to The Green World in 2000. Next, it's an energetic live set, at times quiet and intimate, at other times rocking and rolling with a full band. "As Cool as I Am" proves a lively set opener, complete with drums, organ, and screaming fans, while a sparkling urgency fills "Spring Street." A quiet sadness lends itself to personal pieces like "If I Wrote You" and "End of Summer," leaving the audience in a hushed trance. Williams' amusing introduction to "I Won't Be Your Yoko Ono" also offers a feminist twist on John Lennon and Ono's relationship, while she jokingly extols the virtues of free-speech radio on the minds of teenagers in "Are You out There." Great pieces like "The Christians and the Pagans," a family snapshot taken during Christmas/solstice, and "The Babysitter's Here," a wry look at the '60s, also make appearances. Out There Live will please Williams' fans and inspire everyone else to go out and buy her first four albums.
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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.