Still Truckin’ October 31, 2011Posted by Matt in concerts.
Tags: concert, DBT fans are the best, drive-by truckers, Memphis, Mercy Buckets, New Daisy, setlist, zip city
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I came, I saw, I went to another Drive-By Truckers show, my 2nd this year and 11th overall by my best recollection, and they continue to blow me away every time they take the stage. This weekend they played the New Daisy Theater in downtown Memphis, a place where singer Patterson Hood once worked long ago and that, I would imagine, holds a warm place in his heart.
I walked into the building alone, but it’s kind of unusual the way life is for diehard Trucker fans, for by the end of the night, it was as though I was surrounded by friends, people whom I had just met, yet felt a certain kinship towards, even after only 3 hours of loud music. As I mentioned earlier, I quickly fell in with people from Arkansas because of my Razorback hat, and soon I began to meet others. There was a couple from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the hometown of several of the band members. When I found that out, the conversation went something like this.
“Ok,” I said, “So, Zip City?”
The guy looked at me strangely, the light reflecting from his shaved bald head, “Yeah?”
“So, we were passing through the Florence area a couple of years ago and I took a detour to see the town. Zip City.”
“You,” he looked at me with incredulous disbelief, “went to Zip City? Really?”
“Yeah, sure did.”
He chuckled, “Ain’t much there, is there?”
“No, but I did get my picture taken in front of the Salem Church of Christ. Other than that, all I saw was the Zip City Volunteer Fire Department. There wasn’t even a city limit sign.”
Then the woman that was with him chimed in, “You know all those people and things that write about are real, especially Jason’s (Isbell) songs.”
“Yep. You know Holland Hill (from the song “Decoration Day”)? He’s a real person. The Hills still live in the Shoals today.”
“Wow,” is all I can say, awestruck at the revelation.
The man jumped back in, “They’re a great band and I’m glad to see them do so well, but back home they’re just like anybody else.”
The opening band of the night was Them Darlins, a mostly female outfit (only the drummer was male) who played a really great mix of 90’s-esque Riot Grrrl type songs with a distinctly southern sensibility. I enjoyed their show a great deal and after checking them out on Spotify I am a certified fan.
The Truckers hit the stage after 9:00, ripping through the up tempo Cooley tune, “Get Downtown,” before heavying things up a bit with “Drag the Lake Charlie” and “Where the Devil Don’t Stay.” The band was in excellent form, as always, as they tore through an excellent blend of songs from across their career. One of the highlights for me was a newer song of theirs, “Mercy Buckets,” which came near the end of the set. It’s a wonderfully emotional number, and you could see Patterson Hood pouring his heart and soul into it as he sang:
When all your good days keep getting shorter, count on me.
When you’re about 20 cents shy of a quarter, count on me.
When you just need a place to hide out for a while.
I’ll help you hide the bodies in a little while
I will bring you buckets of mercy,
And hold your hand when you’re crossing the street.
I’ll play a song if you want it.
It was a transcendent moment, and suddenly a song that I liked but never paid that much attention to became one of my favorites. It’s kind of funny the way a live show will do that to you.
It took until the encore before they played my very favorite DBT song, and one of my favorite songs by anybody all time, the aforementioned “Zip City,” and as always, it was incredible.
Seriously, if you’ve never seen the Drive-By Truckers live, do yourself a favor and catch them as soon as possible.
Here is the complete setlist:
Drag the Lake Charlie
Where the Devil Don’t Stay
Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife
A Ghost to Most
I’m Sorry Houston
The Tough Sell
Box of Spiders
Everybody Needs Love
Women Without Whiskey
Hell No, I Ain’t Happy
3 Dimes Down
Let There Be Rock
People Who Died
Down to Oxford Town January 30, 2011Posted by Matt in concerts.
Tags: drive-by truckers, Futurebirds, Oxford, Oxford girls are awesome, setlist, The Lyric
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Over the past seven or eight years I’ve become fully convinced that there is not a more consistently great live band in America than the Drive-By Truckers and Friday night’s show supported that theory once again. As expected, they totally rocked the place.
Friday evening, my friends Chris, Jerry, and Dan ran by our house and picked me up for our little trip down into Mississippi. We all piled into Chris’s jeep, turned up the satellite radio, and hit the road, ready for the big night ahead. We arrived a good hour before the show, so we picked up our tickets and hit a nearby bar to pass the time until the doors opened. The anticipation level was growing, the air crackling with a pre-concert electricity as we passed the time.
Soon, we entered The Lyric, a really cool venue in downtown Oxford that sort of reminded me of The New Daisy in Memphis, only better set up and maintained. We found a nice spot by the recording equipment where we could see well and keep out of the more rambunctious sections of the crowd. The taper was a really nice guy who said that he normally does Widespread shows, so we helped him with the setlist throughout the show.
The Futurebirds hit the stage around 9:00 and, though I had never heard them before, I was very impressed with their sound. The young band employed a banjo along with their distorted guitars, which gave them a very Uncle Tupelo-like sound, mixed in with harmonies reminiscent of the Avett Brother. We enjoyed their set and I look forward to hearing more from them in the future.
As a guy closing in on his mid-30s with a houseful of kids, I often feel older than I actually am, but sometimes things happen that make me realize that perhaps I’m not so far gone after all. In between shows we took turns running to the bar to keep our spot and grab a beer for the short dead time. It was crowded, so I slowly worked my way up to the bartender and soon found myself standing beside a young woman, who from appearances looked to be college-aged, with only one person in front of us. Being the gentleman that I am, once he finished, I motioned for the young lady to go ahead. She smiled and thanked me, then flashed me a mischevious grin, “Do you like whiskey?”
I was a little taken aback, but answered, “Well, umm…yeah.”
“Two shots!” she called out to the bartender and handed me one. We toasted to the night, downed them and she smiled at me again, “Enjoy the show.” I did.
DBT blazed onto the stage a little before 10:00, Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley in fine form alongside their usual cohorts. Throughout the show they played a good deal of music from their soon-to-be-released album Go-Go Boots, including the opener, “Ray’s Automatic Weapon.” After that relatively unfamiliar tune, they launched into some concert mainstays, “Zip City” (which happens to be my favorite DBT song) and Sinkhole. They rocked through the set, their three guitar attack on fire tonight as they blazed through songs like “Nine Bullets,” “Birthday Boy,” and “Women Without Whiskey.” We were overjoyed to hear “The Living Bubba,” after their dedication of the song to Chris when we saw them in the Fall, and they ended the killer set as they have for years, with a killer rendition of “Lookout Mountain.”
Of course we knew that couldn’t be it and after a few minutes of adulation from the Oxford crowd, they exploded back onto the stage for a six song encore, beginning with the new tune “Used to Be a Cop,” followed by Cooley’s “Three Dimes Down,” a “Hell No I Ain’t Happy” sing-along, the up tempo “Get Downtown,” Shonna’s “(It’s Gonna Be) I Told You So,” and the big closer, “Let There Be Rock.”
By the end of the show we were completely spent in a good way. We loaded back into the jeep and made the late night (or early morning) drive back to Memphis, overjoyed to spend another night with the Drive-By Truckers.
The new album drops in two weeks and I can’t wait. Here is the complete setlist from the show.
Ray’s Automatic Weapon
Plastic Flowers on the Highway
I Do Believe
Women Without Whiskey
The Living Bubba
A Ghost to Most
Used to be a Cop
Three Dimes Down
Hell No I Ain’t Happy
I Told You So
Let There Be Rock
You can download the show here if you’re interested.
The Big Memphis To-Do September 20, 2010Posted by Matt in concerts.
Tags: concert recap, drive-by truckers, fan dedication, Memphis, Mike Cooley, Minglewood Hall, Patteson Hood, setlist
As I mentioned in last night’s entry, Friday’s Drive-By Truckers show was excellent, another great one that I was glad to be able to see. We arrived at Minglewood Hall in Midtown Memphis in time to hear the last few songs from the opening band, The Henry Clay People, including an upbeat, punkish cover of “Born to Run” that ended their set. They sounded pretty good and I’ll probably check out some of their other stuff, but they were merely the appetizer for the main course that lay ahead.
DBT walked onto the stage about 9:15 and, following Patterson Hood’s dedication to my friend Chris, they launched into “The Living Bubba.” The band was in fine form all night, with Hood and Mike Cooley trading vocal duties on a regular basis and Shonna Tucker taking over for only one song later in the set, “It’s Gonna Be” I Told You So. As usual, the set was high-energy and fun, with the band expending a great deal of sweat and energy while pounding through song after song of Southern life, their buzzsaw three guitar attack slicing through the air of anticipation and excitement.
Following “Bubba,” the pounding drum beat of concert staple “Where the Devil Don’t Stay” filled the room and somehow the building kept from falling in around us from the earth-shaking loudness. Hood and Cooley are former Memphis residents, a fact that they always bring up on their stops in the Bluff City and that sometimes pops up in some of their songs. The most noticeable of these is probably “The Night GG Allin Came to Town,” which they didn’t play in this most recent show, but they did do “Birthday Boy,” which Mike Cooley claimed happened in Memphis during a show earlier this year and, “The Wig He Made Her Wear,” their take on the Church of Christ preacher murder in nearby Selmer, Tennessee.
Other highlights included the incredible, “Drag the Lake, Charlie,” with it’s heavy and unforgettable riff, the early catalog favorite, “Love Like This,” and the trilogy of favorites ending the first set: “Zip City,” “Sink Hole,” and “Puttin’ People on the Moon.” Another interesting piece was one I had never heard before, a song called “Everybody Needs Love,” by the late Eddie Hinton, a Muscle Shoals songwriter and studio musician.
The encore was similar to past shows, but still an excellent set nonetheless. They began with a new song set for release on their next album, “Ray’s Automatic Weapon,” followed by “Gravity’s Gone,” and the rocking medley of their “Buttholeville” and Springsteen’s “State Trooper.” They then blazed through the final three tunes of the night, “Shut Up and Get on the Plane,” “Hell No, I Ain’t Happy,” and “People Who Died,” with voices and bodies that were ragged and spent, tearing through each number to the jubilation of the sweaty throng of Trucker fans, before finally bowing out after some 2.5 hours of sweet Southern madness.
It was another incredible show.
Below is the complete setlist, as compiled by my aforementioned friend Chris.
-Dedication to Chris and Keith
The Living Bubba
Where the Devil Don’t Stay
-Murder speech from Patterson Hood
The Wig He Made Her Wear
3 Dimes Down
Drag the Lake Charlie
Love Like This
A Ghost to Most
Women without Whiskey
-Intro to song by Eddie Hinton
Everybody Needs Love
(It’s Gonna Be) I Told You So
After the Scene Dies
Puttin’ People on the Moon
-Hood talks about living in Memphis and announces a new song from the upcoming album
Ray Automatic Weapon
Buttholeville – State Trooper
Shut Up and Get on the Plane
Hell No, I Ain’t Happy
People Who Died
Seriously, if you still haven’t seen DBT in concert, you need to reevaluate your life.
When Eddie Vedder Came to Town June 22, 2009Posted by Matt in concerts.
Tags: Eddie Vedder, Into the Wild, Liam Finn, Memphis, Pearl Jam, setlist, solo, transcendent music, West Memphis 3
Pearl Jam, and by extension Eddie Vedder, has been an integral part of my life for nearly two decades. They were a part of my personal soundtrack as I came of age in the early-mid 90’s, their angst-ridden songs resonating loudly in my adolescent mind. Over the years my taste in music has matured and PJ has been accompanying me along the path, walking beside me like a good friend. The baby boomers had Dylan, the younger boomers/older generation X had Springsteen, and the rest of us thirty-somethings under the moniker of generation X have Eddie Vedder. His is a generation-defining voice, a passionate declaration against injustice and corporate greed and corruption, that has thankfully burrowed its way into our very being and we are all better for it.
I had seen PJ twice before, once back in 1993 on the Vs. tour and again in 2000 supporting Binaural, and I had been wishing for several years to see them again, so it was with great excitement that I was able to purchase tickets to Eddie Vedder’s solo show that took place Saturday night. The short, 18-date tour was partly in support of Vedder’s solo work on 2007’s Into the Wild soundtrack and partly to give the hordes of rabid fans a chance to see the man himself in an intimate, more personal setting, one that was truly about the songs rather than the spectacle of a rock concert. Saturday’s event took place in Memphis’ Orpheum Theater, a place that, at first glance, does not seem well-suited for a concert with its chandeliers and pillars and multiple balconies, but, for an event like this, it worked perfectly and even Vedder took a moment to remark about how beautiful the venue was.
The opening act of the night was the duo of Liam Finn and Eliza Jane Barnes, whom I was completely unfamiliar with. Perhaps if I had been prepared for what to expect the experimental set would have made more sense to me and I probably would have even enjoyed it. Finn took turns going back and forth between his loudly distorted guitar and a drum set, occasionally setting one on a loop that he recorded live while playing the other. Barnes swayed around, singing backup and playing the tambourine and occasionally, for some odd reason, holding drumsticks. Though he was obviously talented, the overall strangeness of the songs, which often consisted of him either pounding madly and noisily on one instrument or the other, made them the butt of our jokes for the night. So, every once in a while I would quietly call out, “Time for another random drum solo!” But overall it was fine, just, ummm…, unexpected.
Soon Vedder hit the stage to echoing applause from the excited audience. He walked onto the stage, bowed, sat on a stool and motioned for everyone in the crowd to sit as well, saying something to the effect of, “I’m sitting down for this so you should too.” Then, after picking up one of the acoustic guitars propped behind him, he began the show with what seems to be his standard solo opener, a cover of Daniel Johnston’s “Walking the Cow.” Following that, a verse of Pink Floyd’s “Brain Damage” led into Pearl Jam’s “Sometimes,” the opening cut from their underappreciated No Code. The main set consisted of several older PJ songs, including a very unique version of “Better Man” on a ukulele, five consecutive numbers from the Into the Wild soundtrack, and a few more interesting covers, including James Taylor’s “Millworker,” the Beatles’ “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” and Pete Townshend’s “Let My Love Open the Door.” In addition to those, he also played a fantastic cover of Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” saying that it was from Johnny Ramone’s request. I remember seeing the band do that song in a really cool punk rock style back in 2000 and it was nice to hear it again from Vedder. The first set ended with “Porch,” a tune from PJ’s classic debut album Ten. Once the tune ended, Vedder exited the stage, but we all knew the evening was far from over.
After a short break, Vedder emerged to the roaring delight of the crowd. Taking his seat and picking up a guitar, he launched into John Doe’s “The Golden State,” another song with which I was not too familiar. Finn and Barnes then joined him for the next two memorable numbers, “Society” from Into the Wild and a cover of Hunters & Collectors’ “Throw Your Arms Around Me.”
A show with Eddie Vedder would not be complete without an appeal from him regarding issues of politics or justice in the world, and this was no different. Pearl Jam have long been supporters of the three young men who were imprisoned as teenagers for the horrific 1993 murders of three young children in the West Memphis area. There have been questions surrounding the police investigation of the incident ever since it occurred, but, despite that, the accused remain in jail to this day, one of them on death row. Vedder spoke of this for some time, saying that he would be visiting death row inmate Damian Echols the next day, before dedicating “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” to the incarcerated. An incredible cover of Dylan’s “Forever Young,” which he also dedicated to somebody that I don’t remember, came next and the set ended with a strange, haunting rendition of “Arc,” as done acappella using the recording device that Finn had employed earlier. Vedder recorded layer after layer of meditative sounds, placing them one on top of the other and building a veritable wall of wordless vocals. It was a transcendental sort of moment in which he seemed to be exorcising some personal demon right before our eyes. After building to a crescendo, the mass of vocals began to diminish before finally ending before the stunned crowd in utter silence and he again left the stage.
The ravenous crowd continued in their adjurations for more and soon Vedder again emerged from the back, bowing and taking his seat before us for two final songs. The first was an unfamiliar one entitled “Pullin’ Into Santa Cruz,” but it seemed to fit a nice, comfortable fireside sort of vibe. The night’s closer was another cut from Into the Wild, “Hard Sun,” a tune that was written to be a big sing-a-long and the crowd didn’t disappoint at all in that aspect. Soon we were all singing out the chorus, “There’s a big / a big hard sun / beating on the big people / in the big hard world,” and all was right with the world. Eddie Vedder had deftly grasped up in his hand and carried us to this higher plane, one above the rest of the population, and it was good.
Having seen the band twice before and heard very few spoken words from the mouth of Vedder, I was a bit surprised to hear just how often and how easily he spoke to us in the crowd. It was as if we were merely having a conversation with one another. He told a story about his 3 year old daughter who was around while he was recording the movie soundtrack and how she became fixated on the fact that there was a bear in the story. He spoke of how she would constantly ask questions about the bear – was he a big bear? A small bear? A nice bear? A mean bear? – and I just laughed knowingly because I understood. It was really great to hear him in this intimate setting for it felt as though he were just a normal person chatting about family and life events and telling jokes and just generally having a good time. It was an amazing experience and one that has me ready for the next PJ tour. Come on, we’ve got a nice arena ready for you in Memphis!
Below is the complete setlist from the show:
Walking the Cow (Daniel Johnston cover)
Brain Damage tease (Pink Floyd)
Sometimes (No Code)
Last Kiss (Lost Dogs)
Better Man (Vitalogy)
Millworker (James Taylor cover)
No Ceiling (Into the Wild)
Far Behind (Into the Wild)
Guaranteed (Into the Wild)
Rise (Into the Wild)
Drifting (Lost Dogs)
You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away (Beatles cover, I Am Sam soundtrack)
Can’t Help Falling in Love (Elvis cover)
Let My Love Open the Door (Pete Townshend cover)
The Golden State (John Doe cover)
Society (Into the Wild)
Throw Your Arms Around Me (Hunters & Collectors cover)
Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town (Vs.)
Forever Young (Bob Dylan cover)
Arc (Riot Act)
Pullin’ Into Santa Cruz
Hard Sun (Into the Wild)
A Possible Springsteen Setlist April 6, 2009Posted by Matt in concerts.
Tags: 2009, Bruce Springsteen, concerts, setlist
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ME sent me a copy of Bruce’s latest set list, so, being the analytic sort that I am, I decided to do a bit of research into his last few setlists to see what he might play tomorrow night. He is five shows into his 2009 tour so far and this is how the breakdown looks. Below you will see each song that has appeared on a setlist in the past five songs along with the number of times they were played.
Song Times Played
The Wrestler 5
Radio Nowhere 5
Outlaw Pete 5
My Lucky Day 5
Out in the Street 5
Working on a Dream 5
Johnny 99 5
Born to Run 5
American Land 5
Hard Times 4
The Promised Land 4
Land of Hope and Dreams 4
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out 4
Waiting on a Sunny Day 4
Lonesome Day 4
Good Eye 3
Ghost of Tom Joad 3
No Surrender 3
Dancing in the Dark 3
Because the Night 3
Kingdom of Days 3
Darlington County 2
Thunder Road 2
The Night 2
Working on the Highway 2
The Rising 2
Mustang Sally 1
I Ain’t Got No Home 1
Candy’s Room 1
Mary’s Life 1
This Life 1
Long Walk Home 1
Surprise, Surprise 1
Seven Nights to Rock 1
Good Rockin’ Tonight 1
Growin’ Up 1
Downbound Train 1
Prove It All Night 1
Sherry Darling 1
She’s the One 1
Hard Land 1
I’m a Rocker 1
Glory Days 1