JOHN HIATT Live Bootleg (Riot With Hiatt) (1985)

cover1Live Bootleg (1985)
Hiatt’s On-The-Brink Years, Pt. 5

Another prized vinyl possession that has, on more than one occasion, brought folks over to the house solely to listen to it. This promo-only live album was issued by Geffen to promote (what would be) Hiatt’s last album for the label, Warming Up To The Ice Age. For those unfamiliar with his story, this was an unbelievable time for Hiatt, who was battling alcohol addiction, dealing with the suicide of his wife and, within months, was about to lose his job (read: get dropped by Geffen). Back in 1985, however, this live blast perfectly captured Hiatt’s out-of-control spontaneity… the tail end of his ‘on-the-brink’ years. Originally a King Biscuit Flower Hour recording, this performance is rough & ready, loose & untamed. Hiatt is invigorated and his band, thanks to the punchy bass work, has a funky authenticity here, weaving it within the rock, R&B, roots and soul brew Hiatt had already formulated. Interestingly, the new wave keyboard riffs abandoned on the new album are present, but almost completely buried in this live mix. I’d be curious to know if that was Hiatt’s, King Biscuit’s or just some lazy soundman’s decision. During “She Said The Same Things To Me,” the band breaks down completely, though the veteran Hiatt recovers with aplomb. Ripped from the original vinyl, the cover art doesn’t give any details (the back is blank), like if that’s actually Elvis Costello reprising his “Living A Little, Laughing A Little” duet with JH. Check out Hiatt’s powerful look at his own addiction, “The Usual.” As of today, I couldn’t find it at Amazon or Ebay. Hiatt’s On The Brink Years: Get all 5 HERE.

Say It With Flowers (3:37)
I Don’t Even Try (3:49)
Pink Bedroom (3:09)
She Said The Same Things To Me (4:35)
Warming Up To The Ice Age (6:15)
Living A Little, Laughing A Little (4:22)
I’m A Real Man (4:08)
The Usual (3:50)
Riding With The King (9:21)
Zero House (4:38)


  • Willard
    July 1, 2011 - 12:38 | Permalink

    Search HERE

  • Jerry Lee
    July 1, 2011 - 18:13 | Permalink

    Thanks Willard! I saw Hiatt & band around this time, I remember it was a short tour, maybe 12 cities. Very tight band, great show, they played at least an hour and a half, I don’t think Hiatt played any guitar, too bad more of it hasn’t been released.

    • Willard
      July 1, 2011 - 19:07 | Permalink

      No guitar? He sang like a frontman?

      • Jerry Lee
        July 10, 2011 - 19:02 | Permalink

        I remember being surprised that he was just the frontman when the show started, but it’s been a while, he may have played guitar later. It was at the 23 East Cabaret in Ardmore PA, the Philly suburbs, if anyone else was there. Kristi Rose & The Midnight Walkers opened.

        • Willard
          July 10, 2011 - 19:05 | Permalink

          Must have been doing an Elvis/Vegas entrance.

          • Jerry Lee
            July 11, 2011 - 22:07 | Permalink

            That would explain his karate moves! Kristi Rose came close to it- her rockabilly band opened with an instrumental that sounded very familiar, but I could’t quite place it. Then Kristi walked out, bare feet and all, and started singing “Battle Hymn Of The Republic”! “His truth is marching onnnn!” Great moment!

  • July 2, 2011 - 09:50 | Permalink

    Thanks, this brings back good memories, I saw Hiatt live twice

  • alamo54us
    July 2, 2011 - 10:52 | Permalink

    I caught this tour at Irving Plaza in NYC. The band was smoking hot and Hiatt was playing guitar as usual. Interesting to hear that he only fronted the band on at least one date.


  • Duncanmusic
    July 2, 2011 - 19:18 | Permalink

    Used to own this years ago. It was always one of my favorite Hiatt LPs (Ice Age), especially ‘When We Ran’. I was always disappointed that they didn’t include THAT one on this…OR ‘Ever Since His Penis Came Between Us’..used to have THAT bootleg. Did I get it here? Storm took out an old Hard Drive and it’s gone again!

    • Willard
      July 2, 2011 - 19:28 | Permalink

      Follow the link and get it again.

  • lemonflag
    July 6, 2011 - 23:50 | Permalink


  • Rhod
    August 6, 2011 - 19:07 | Permalink

    Thanks for the John Hiatt share he is a talented artist who crosses over several genre’s



  • Peter
    September 3, 2011 - 03:47 | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing.

  • August 31, 2014 - 20:41 | Permalink

    Thanks again…..

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