Watching Steve Winwood's Traffic-loaded Soundstage performance from last summer really had me primed for this much delayed DVD release of his old band's final tour. The Last Great Traffic Jam is a documentary of Traffic's 1994 U.S. tour and features original members Winwood and Jim Capaldi joined by Randall Bramblett (woodwinds, keys), Walfredo Reyes Jr. (percussion, drums), Mike McEvoy (guitar, keys), and one-time Traffic bassist Rosko Gee, who had played on their final album When The Eagle Flies. This tour was in support of a new album, Far From Home, released earlier that year, twenty years after their last album, and twenty years after they officially disbanded.
The eleven song setlist was disappointingly short, but the song choices provided an excellent overview of the various styles of music you will find in this band's eclectic catalogue, including psychedelic rock, melodic pop, English folk, R&B, and the occasional hints of jazz. Every Traffic album, except 1973's Shoot Out The Fantasy Factory, was represented here by at least one song, and every one of these classic old songs sounds fresh and rejuvenated. Steve Winwood has never sounded better, both vocally and on the guitar, which was his instrument of choice throughout most of the concert. He only occasionally took to the Hammond B3 and piano.
Unfortunately this video was made nearly unwatchable by an unrestrained filmmaker who decided to make this thing his very own psychedelic art experiment. It wasn't enough to just show the incredible performances of this legendary band, but this genious felt compelled to mix in every annoying special effect imaginable. Hell, during the first song alone, an otherwise scorching version of "Pearly Queen", you are bombarded with images of traffic lights, the American flag, psychedelic inkblot pictures, soundcheck footage, and numerous flower children under the spell of some acid-induced dance. And that's besides all of the hyper-fast edits, overused crossfades, and terrible camera angles. The majority of this DVD is actually just the audio track serving as a backdrop to a bunch of video montages, and things that have nothing to do with the music being played.