Since Patterson brought up the subject of heroin, here's a question for y'all: What's the difference between heroin and DBT (besides legality, wise guys)? I am told that heroin is about the never ending and fruitless search to replicate the transcendence of the first high, while DBT is about the possibility that any given night, and way more nights than ought to be humanly possible, will be one of those transcendent, never to be forgotten, you had to be there shows. The third night of homecoming 2020 was one of those shows. In fact I'm not sure that transcendent adequately captures the over the top energy and spectacular performance. The term "epic" gets thrown around too much but this show actually was epic. I was expecting Patterson to start speaking in tongues and Cooley to start handling snakes, it was that kind of rapturous revival meeting. I have never been able to understand, much less articulate, what distinguishes the occasional "really good" rock show from the frequent "really great" show (see Thurs & Friday) from the thankfully frequent transcendent, truly special, memorable show, but I know it when I hear it and experience it and I heard it and experienced it tonite.
Jerry Joseph closed w/ "Dead Confederate." Cooley opened w/ "Surrender Under Protest." Segues across groups and breaks don't get any better than that, and we were off and running with a personal favorite that i didn't think we were gonna hear this wkend. The opening "set" of 3 from American Band and three from The Unraveling was a statement of purpose I guess and at least to me a statement or maybe a demonstration that these last 2 albums stand up to any in the DBT canon.
I hadn't heard "Goode's Field Road" in a while and this was yet another re-working. Not quite the rock of the original, not quite the funkier arrangement the band played for a while, kinda sorta in between. Whatever, it is a great song and it seems that however the band arranges it, the song loses none of its character or power.
I can't tell you why Friday nite's "Women Without Whiskey" was really good while Saturday's was tremendous, but it's still my true opinion. A powerhouse version. And yes! "Play It All Night Long" my favorite DBT cover mostly because they make it so much their own and tonite was no exception. I heard Warren applauding and whistling from the great beyond. The set cooked along nicely from there through "Uncle Frank" which then set up another interesting segue (ironic? coincidental? intended? I have no idea). Having just finished a song that is in some ways about electricity and electric power, the band brought out Linqua Franca, who many seemed to remember from the opening set she torched last year. She was a lightning bolt of energy on a stage already buzzing and crackling. WOW! She helped elevate "Babies in Cages" to another level and sent the crowd (and I think maybe the band too) into a frenzy. Hell yeah, bring her back any time.
Given the sold out crowd and the incredibly high energy level, I was surprised that Cooley attempted "Imagine" but, no surprise, he pulled it off by force of will and quality of song. There was a little noise but overall the audience was pretty quiet and attentive which I appreciated because i love that song.
"Ronnie & Neil" was the "final straw" that blew the roof off and catapaulted the evening into the stratosphere. Always a highlight, it was even more special tonight. Maybe it was the extra loud sing along, maybe it was Patterson's impassioned vocals, but whatever it was, it was obvious that we had entered into a new, higher zone. After that it was one highlight, one superb performance after another. Everybody on stage was locked in and the audience, well the audience was ecstatic. Also it was kind of a throwback to the days of 3 guitar madness as Jay, Patterson and Cooley pushed each other to incredibly intense and exciting solos and rhythm work for the remainder of the set. Brad and Matt were, well, Brad and Matt, which is as good as it gets.
Unless I somehow missed it, Cooley got through "Gravity's Gone" without singing one of my all time favorite lyrics (see signature below) but it hardly mattered He (and I) were just going w/ the flow. "The Company I Keep" was raucous and wild and, as I predicted [takes bow], the band followed with "Birthday Boy" which was all the better for being the first hearing/playing of the wkend. What a song that is. Patterson came right back w/ one of his best in "Righteous Path" also for the first time of the wkend, and as always, it was great to hear.
I know I imagined it, but I could swear the walls shook during "Let There Be Rock." Once again the audience was all over it, adding to its power and joy. I can't say anything about the rest of the set except look at the setlist. Imagine how good every one of those gems must have been individually and following/building on each other. Then double or triple that and you might be in the ballpark. Just over the top outstanding in every way. I was expecting "People Who Died" to follow "Hell No/Sign O the Times" but was not disappointed when the band kicked into "Rockin in the Free World" first. A great song of course and the band always kills it, they just killed it a little more tonight w/ some help from their friends. It was fucking LOUD in the best possible way. "People Who Died" was probably not an artistic masterpiece but it was a rock n roll masterpiece. Chaotic, frienzied, LOUD in all the best rock n roll ways and a fitting end to the kind of night that created the legend of Drive By Truckers in the first place. In case you were wondering, always go to the show. Always.
I am inclined to bow to what appears to be the majority opinion on the quality and excitement of Jerry Joseph's set, but I wasn't feeling it. One of those things I guess. Unfortunately, the best song, the penultimate one w/ Cooley on banjo and the band locking in at a higher level should have been the closer and it would have ended things on a high note even for those of us who were less enthusiastic. But there was one more, For all i know, "Dead Confederate" may be a great song (hard to tell hearing it for the first time in the live setting) but it's not a show closer.
Lest I close on the wrong note myself, let me reiterate that this was one hell of a rock n roll show, among the best I've seen by DBT or anyone. Drive By Motherfucking Truckers are the best rock n roll band on the planet, bar none and I am so glad I got to experience them at the absolute peak of their powers.
Edited to add "epic" reference
Last edited by beantownbubba
on Sun Feb 16, 2020 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
What used to be is gone and what ought to be ought not to be so hard.