Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Black Crowes at the Palladium, 12/11/10

There aren't many bands I've loved since the beginning that I've yet to see, but the Black Crowes fit that bill.  Sure, I saw them at KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas back in 1994 (and let's all take a moment to marvel at a time when a band like them would ever be played on KROQ), but that was something like five songs, and I barely remember it.  Now, just before they go on "indefinite hiatus," a term that their age suggests is a euphemism for retirement, I finally got to cross them off my ever-shortening list.  However, as great as they were, I couldn't enjoy it as much as I should have.  An open letter:

Dear LA Concert-goers,

Shut the fuck up.

OK, perhaps I should spell that out more clearly.  I realize that many of you are "important" and therefore have "important" things to discuss at all times, so it can be difficult to exercise even the smallest amount of consideration for your fellow man and the band he's come to see.  I get that you probably didn't even pay for your tickets, so what's it to you?  See, the thing is, most of the people who are intently watching the band did pay, and handsomely too, because of their love of the particular band they are there to see (Full disclosure: I did not pay for my tickets, and yet I was only there because I wanted to see a great band play some great songs, not to socialize).  So, if you could kindly close your flapping, obnoxious mouths and show a little respect, I'm sure we'd all have a better time.  And who knows?  You just might hear some music, too!

Your Friendly Neighborhood Blogger

Now that's out of the way, I should say that despite the excessive chattiness of the audience, this was a great evening.  The band opened with an acoustic set, which certainly didn't do anything to drown out the crowd, but it was an awesome exercise in re-imagining songs.  In addition to a handful of covers and rarities, the Crowes pulled heavily from their best album, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, nailing all of them.  "Hotel Illness" saw drummer Steve Gorman come out from behind his kit to bang gleefully away at a single bass drum, and "Thorn in My Pride" and "Remedy" featured some killer solos and jamming.  Set closer "My Morning Song" was re-worked into more of a gospel rave-up, and as much as I love the original, this was a soulful, joyous interpretation.

Jamming was certainly the theme for the evening, with most songs in the electric set ending in either Luther Dickinson or Rich Robinson going off for minutes at a time, lead singer Chris Robinson smiling, clapping and dancing between them.  The best of these occurred in what was also the best run part of this set, when they played three straight song from Amorica.  In the transition between "Ballad in Urgency" and "Wiser Time," the two guitarists took turns soloing, before coming together perfectly in lockstep to melt the collective face of the Palladium.  Sometimes jamming can get excessive and obnoxious (hello, Mars Volta!), but when it's done so well, it can be the best thing about live music.  And if the Black Crowes want to go out on such a high note, who am I to argue?

Acoustic Set: Remedy / Hotel Illness / Whoa Mule / Tornado / No Expectations (Rolling Stones cover) / Thorn in My Pride / Driving Wheel (Junior Parker cover) / Downtown Money Waster / She Talks to Angels / My Morning Song

Electric Set: Exit / P.25 London / Ballad in Urgency / Wiser Time / Oh Josephine / Stop Kicking My Heart Around / Hard to Handle / And the Band Played On

Encore: Oh! Sweet Nuthin' (The Velvet Underground cover) / Willin' (Little Feat cover)


Nikki said...

Christie Brinkley didn't so much talk as dance wildly, all over the place, while playing air guitar to any penis that would pay attention. Annoying just the same.

Hatfield said...

That kind of behavior is a whole 'nother post