Live Rock and Roll can be a life affirming thing. No matter how nuts this world of ours is, or how bleak our robot controlled big brother future looks, there are moments when the veil is pierced and we can see the light.There was a full moon on Friday the 13th, something that won't occur again until 2049. The only thing freaky about this Friday the 13th Detroit gig was the crowd. I'll touch on that more in a bit.
I had never been to the Sound Board inside the Motor City Casino before, and it was nice. Really nice. Almost too nice for a Rock concert. The sound is clear and the layout is good, but goddamn it was cold in there. It was the coldest indoor show that I have ever been to. I'm talking movie theater or museum cold. I guess that's good for casino folk, who are usually gussied up, but us regular people were freezing.
|Note the F on the flag. I guess that Chris was letting his freak flag fly.|
The incense was lit and shortly thereafter the band strolled on stage. Chris Robinson, both in solo bands or The Black Crowes, has never been big on grand entrances, aside from that one leg of the By Your Side tour in early 1999. Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go was up first, and I was kind of hoping it would be. This was only the second time that the band has come to Detroit, the other being before the first album when they opened for J. Geils Band in August of 2011. This band, like The Black Crowes, never does the same set twice. It's cool as Hell in this age of online setlists not knowing what is going to happen.
There was a trio of tunes from the new album, Phosphorescent Harvest, next: Jump The Turnstiles, Shore Power, and Tornado. That last one is a gray area, since it is a rerecorded, reworked Black Crowes song. Little Lizzie Mae sounded fantastic. The band sounded great tonight and was in a good mood. The band are all journeymen, working in various bands before ending up here, but work together really well live and on album.
We were in the second row on the floor but the stage is pretty high up. Tulsa Yesterday was next. There was an owl statue watching over Adam MacDougall. I don't know why, but it was important for me to try to get a photo of this owl. The next song, Serves Me Right To Suffer, is unknown to me. A cover? A new song? Who knows! I dug it. Beggars Moon came off better live than on album. Clear Blue Sky & The Good Doctor has become my favorite off the new album as I have continued spinning it. I once went with Badlands Here We Come for my favorite from the new album but this one has really sunk into my brain with repeated listening. It was even better live. Chris Robinson is one of my favorite singers, and it saddens me that more people don't get this band or that folks didn't sell this show out. It wasn't overpriced (face was 25 bucks for second row for chrissakes), it was on a Friday, it wasn't in a bad neighborhood...Jesus Christ Detroit, no wonder so many bands skip us these days.
The crowd was pretty chill until Star Or Stone. The crowds at these types of shows are always interesting. You have hippies who look like they traveled to the show by spaceship through a wormhole in time, yuppies who look like the singer from the Barenaked Ladies, the jeans and flipflop crowd...and then you have this audience. Leave it to the Fred Durst looking dude to show the way. This guy was drunk and just kind of wanders up to the front of the stage and starts dancing like he was at a Hip Hop show. To his credit he was holding two beers and didn't spill a drop, which I found to be an impressive display of muscle control. Other people started drifting to the front and dancing. Before long there were two dozen folks up there. My wife and I were cracking up at the lady in the green sweater dress with the America flag and thigh high boots on. I am no fashionista, but yikes.
Next up was my favorite CRB song, Vibration And Light Suite, which was just incredible live. Ride was the only song from the New Earth Mud era/band, and went off into one of those jams that the hippies like. I am not a fan of jams but this held my interest. Rosalee ended the set proper. The encores were Appaloosa, a cover that Chris Robinson wrote and recorded while in The Black Crowes. Is it possible to cover your own song? How does that work? Another cover ended the night: Shake Rattle & Roll. This was a tight two and half hour show. The band came on around 8:15 and was done around 10:45 with no opening act. That's all right by me since I am old and like being home before they roll up the sidewalks for the night.
|Photo by September Shaw|
|Photo by September Shaw|
As I get older it gets harder to get out with having kids and all, but we always make it a point to go out and catch Chris in whatever configuration he is in. Like I said before, live Rock and Roll can be a life affirming thing. The next time life seems to be overwhelming you should go and check out one of your favorite bands. It will cure what ails you.