Drive-By Truckers Bring The Rock Show To Colorado

 

When you have been seeing a band live since their humble beginnings, you can’t help but be disappointed as that band gets popular, starts playing larger venues and stops playing the ‘classic’ songs you love.  That is unless that band is Drive-By Truckers.  While so many bands I like have been disappointing over the past couple years, Drive-By Truckers continue to raise the bar on what it means to be a rock band.  They have definitely increased their fanbase and they are playing larger venues, but they fill those venues with a huge sound, an amazing stage presence and an original setlist of songs from their entire discography each night.

I was lucky enough to attend two DBT shows over the past couple days.  Two very unique shows in a variety of ways.

Let’s start with the first (and better) show in Boulder.  I was on the band’s guest list for this show for throwing The Big To-Do Listening Party.  I tried to push for an interview, but that didn’t pan out.   Originally there was just a couple of us heading to the show, but at the last minute we ended up with a group of 8.  This made me a little nervous because this is a drinkin’ band (still pounding Jack from the bottle onstage) and I was attending with a group of drinkin’ people.  I was nervous because I didn’t want to drink too much and lose track of the reason I was there.  Something that has happened at more than a few shows.

Luckily this show was too big for that.  From the time I got up front and center when Henry Clay People ended their set with a energetic, punk version of Jackson Browne‘s Running On Empty to Drive-By Truckers’ Let There Be Rock…the stage had my complete attention.

The 2 1/2 hour set started at 9:45pm with Cooley‘s Your Woman Is A Living Thing playing over the speakers.  Then the crew stepped onto the circus/Big To-Do themed stage.  The most elaborate stage setting I have seen from DBT in all the years I have been seeing them.  Patterson started the night out with Fourth Night Of My Drinking before passing it over to Cooley to perform 3 Dimes Down.  This exchange happened more often than any show I have been to before.  Cooley performing 10 songs to Patterson‘s 15…a welcome balance that also included a couple songs from the amazing Shonna Tucker Shonna‘s confidence onstage mirrors the rest of band; she almost makes me forget Jason Isbell is no longer there.  She is no longer a stand-in for that 3rd singer-songwriter spot…she is the real deal.  They just wouldn’t be the same without her.

This band has been through a series of line-up changes, with Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley the only constants.  Watching them onstage this week makes me believe that this current line-up is the best they have had.  Sure, I miss Isbell, but Patterson and Cooley look like they are having so much fun up there together and when they team up with John Neff and Shonna to jam, those 3 guitars and that bass just sound so damn good.  And no disrespect to Brad Morgan on drums, he kills it as well…keeping the whole thing together, but with all that action going on up front, I hardly notice he’s back there.

So overall, it was just an amazing show.  The 23 song main set, with Zip City being one highlight that stood out above so many highlights, flew by in no time.  And once the 4 song enore ended around 12:15am, I was amazed that so much time had passed.

The next night was Aggie Theater in Ft. Collins.  Another amazing show…with some differences:

  • I went to this show solo because everyone was beat from the night before and wasn’t willing to take the 1 1/2 hr drive
  • The Henry Clay People ended their set with a classic-rock medley and a cover of Operation Ivy‘s Don’t Know Nothing
  • DBT did not take the stage until 11:00pm
  • Aggie Theater was about 1000 degrees
  • No amazing backdrop – probably too big for the Aggie stage
  • Patterson dominated set – Cooley had around 8 songs and Shonna only 1
  • Shorter main set – much longer encore (8 songs)
  • I was sober, but the crowd was much more intoxicated.  Falling down stairs, etc
  • Fights.  Patterson had to stop and have people thrown out.  Calling them ‘dumb motherfuckers!’
  • The absence of Zip City was disappointing, but Women Without Whiskey almost made up for it
  • The incredible encore-closer People Who Died with Henry Clay People
  • Show did not get over until 1:15pm which made for a long, late drive home!

Boulder Setlist:
Your Woman Is A Living Thing (recorded)
Fourth Night Of My Drinking
3 Dimes Down
Life in The Factory
Ray Automatic Weapon
Birthday Boy
Girls Who Smoke
Daddy Needs A Drink
Ghost To Most
Homefield Advantage
Sink Hole
Uncle Frank
This Fucking Job
Get Downtown
(It’s Gonna Be) I Told Ya So
Drag The Lake Charlie
Zip City
Ronnie and Neil
Road Cases
72 (This Highways Mean)
After The Scene Dies
Self-Destructive Zones
Buttholeville
Encore:
Marry Me
The Flying Wallendas
Hell No, I Ain’t Happy
Shut Up And Get On The Plane
Let There Be Rock
Rockin’ In The Free World

Ft. Collins Setlist:
Your Woman Is A Living Thing (recorded)
Drag The Lake Charlie
Where The Devil Don’t Stay
Fourth Night of My Drinking
Birthday Boy
Girls Who Smoke
Marry Me
Your Daddy Hates Me
Self-Destructive Zones
The Company I Keep
Sink Hole
Carl Perkins’ Cadillac
Feb 14th
Ghost to Most
Santa Fe
Hell No, I Ain’t Happy
Shut Up And Get On The Plane
Lookout Mountain
Encore:
Get Downtown
(It’s Gonna Be) I Told Ya So
After The Scene Dies
Chekout Time in Vegas
Tales Facing Up
Women Without Whiskey
Let There Be Rock
People Who Died w/Henry Clay People

  2 comments for “Drive-By Truckers Bring The Rock Show To Colorado

  1. Geoff
    June 21, 2010 at 3:16 am

    I don’t go to a lot of shows, but this one (the Boulder show) was a damn-near spiritual experience for me. They just blew my mind and they kept going and going, and Neil Young as the encore was amazing. I’m a relatively new DBT fan but anytime they’re playing anywhere close to me it will now qualify as a must-see.

  2. Zeke Roland
    May 20, 2010 at 12:15 am

    Thanks for the summation, pics and setlist! I agree some bands lose some or all of their soul the bigger they get but DBT just grows and fills the space perfectly.My thoughts on Jason being gone are similar. I think we have gained with Jason as solo artist I like his two records and his shows are no doubt very awesome. As for the Truckers I think they have adapted well. The shows seem a lot tighter to me with the new lineup. It seemed sometimes Jason was overplaying and maybe a little overzealous on the harmonies. It seemed sometimes that he would grab parts that were Patterson’s or Cooley’s. Shonna has stepped up so wonderfully as a songwriter and a singer both lead and harmony wise. I mean no disrespect to Jason I think he is a hell of songwriter with unique melodies and a hot band. I think it has worked out great being there was some internal strife that seemed toxic for the band. They’ve commented that the spilt was needed to keep the band together. Jason was huge to their sound for a time and seemed to be the right fit for all involved. Evolution is important for a band to stay on top so I think the split was for the best. DBT seems so tight now and John Neff is a very big part of it. The pedal steel parts are great and recall the sound of the actual recordings. I am also a fan of his guitar work too. It’s different than Jason’s but it is still a beautiful sound. I think he is a very important part of all the songs he has recorded from the beginning. He may not play the rapid virtuso style of Isbell but it serves the songs well. I also am a big fan of what Jay Gonzalez is doing on keys and his amazing harmonies. When he sings with Patterson he seems to have the part that Patterson would sing himself like when Patterson used to sing his own harmonies on recordings. I think Jay is a great addition. As for EZB, he is so good it’s true sometimes you can overlook him. The truth is along with Shonna they are an amazing rytyhm section. All and all I’m very happy with these two groups the 400 Unit and my beloved Truckers. I also would like to catch more Screwtopian gigs. I’ve seen Patterson play with Neff and EZB under that name a few times ranging back to ’04. Also I’ve seen them play under the name the Neccasary Evils, those are some of my favorite shows. Killers and Stars was already in my collection but I heard a lot of the songs that would become Murdering Oscar and a few that ended up on the fine print. What joy this group of musicians has brought me. I hope they stick together for many years to come. Thanks for your writings on the subject I enjoyed it. Peace, Zeke Roland of Waylon and the Nashing of Teeth

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