With all due respect to R.E.M. and the Uga dogs, Drive-By Truckers are the best thing to ever come out of Athens, Georgia. They rocked the ghosts out of the Southgate House last night. The show’s been over for 16 hours and my ears are still ringing. Rock is dead? Bullshit, I’ve got the hearing loss that proves otherwise.
My brain is still a bit rattled from the show, so I’m not going to try to piece together proper paragraphs right now. Instead, I’ll take the easy way out and type up some random comments about the concert and Drive-By Truckers in general:
1. I now feel kind of silly that I raved about the Band of Horses concert a couple months back. I should’ve saved up some of my superlatives. Both concerts were great, but Drive-By Truckers would blow Band of Horses off the stage in a battle of the bands (unless BoH played “Weed Party” over and over again). Drive-By Truckers put on the best show I’ve seen so far this year.
2. This was my first time seeing Drive-By Truckers. The first album of theirs I got into was 2003’s Decoration Day. Before that, I’d avoided the band because I hated their cover art. That was stupid of me. I wish I’d gotten into them a lot sooner. I’m sure I missed some amazing local shows. Now I need to go back and get some of their earlier albums. I think I was probably the only person at the show who didn’t know the songs off Southern Rock Opera, DBT’s tribute of sorts to the rise and fall of Lynyrd Skynrd. They played four songs off that album and they were all fantastic. The best one, and the highlight of the entire night, was “Let There Be Rock”. It was church for me.
3. Because I’m missing some Drive-By Truckers albums, I only knew 16 of the 24 songs played. I usually hate hearing songs I’m not familiar with in a live setting, but it’s a tribute to the quality of the songs that I enjoyed them all…even the ones I didn’t know. In addition to the four songs off Southern Rock Opera, they played nine off their latest, Brighter Than Creation’s Dark, four off Decoration Day, and at least one from each of their other studio albums. They also played covers by Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen.
4. The three guitarists, female bassist, and drummer with a gigantic beard is a band combination that is criminally underutilized in the world of rock ‘n’ roll. Why don’t more bands go this route? It’s amazing the sheer volume three guitars can create…and having a woman in the band really breaks up the visual monotony of all the beards and flannel. It also helps that she’s a great bassist and can sing. Speaking of the bassist, I’d like to officially announce that Carrie Brownstein is no longer my Girl w/Guitar Crush. The new holder of that prestigious award is DBT’s Shonna Tucker. She looks exactly like my first girlfriend (or at least what I’d imagine my first girlfriend looks like now).
5. I had to fight the urge to type a “the” before “Drive-By Truckers” every time.
As always, here’s the setlist:
Main set: Self Destructive Zones/That Man I Shot/3 Dimes Down/Life in the Factory/One of These Days/I’m Sorry Huston/You and Your Crystal Meth/Goode’s Field Road/Checkout Time in Vegas/Sink Hole/Hell No, I Ain’t Happy/Gravity’s Gone/Tails Facing Up/Heathens/A Ghost to Most/The Living Bubba/Home Field Advantage/Marry Me/Rebels (Tom Petty)/Let There Be Rock/Adam Raised a Cain (Bruce Springsteen)
Encore: Zip City/Plastic Flowers on the Highway/Lookout Mountain