How was your weekend? I had a very exciting one, and one that I won’t soon forget. On Saturday night, I was singing, dancing and screaming at The Great American Music Hall in support of The Twilight Singers performing their beloved album, Blackberry Belle in it’s entirety (something they’ve never done before).
Let me back up a little bit here and give you some context around this show. The Twilight Singers were supposed to play The Fillmore back in May, but canceled that show due to guitarist David Rosser’s unfortunate bout with food poisoning the night before the show. I thought that seeing them live this tour was going to be a long shot, if not impossible, as the band weren’t due to be back in San Francisco anytime soon. Luckily, I saw them perform a short set at Amoeba Music off Haight Street when their latest album, Dynamite Steps, dropped, so at least I had memories of that show to take some of the sting out. But all that changed in July, when the band announced that they were going to do a make-up show for their fans in San Francisco.
And what a make-up show it was!
Without a lot of fanfare, the boys took the stage and immediately launched into “Martin Eden,” the first song on the album, and didn’t let up until the final notes of “Number Nine” echoed from singer Petra Haden’s lips. Most of the songs that were performed are staples of the band, but to hear them all performed in order was a little short of mind-blowing. I kept wondering how they were possibly going to top Blackberry Belle. They could have completed those eleven songs and said good-night and I would have been one very happy fan.
All of the songs from the first set were solid, but “Teenage Wristband” (one of my all time favorite songs, period), “Decatur,” “Feathers” and “Fat City” were flawless. The quieter moments of the show, which included “Saint Gregory” and “Follow You Down,” which front-man Greg Dulli unplugged for, were the ones that especially got to me. And I will never listen to “Number Nine” the same way again. The emotional and poignant singing from Mark Lanegan (The Screaming Trees, The Gutter Twins) and Haden’s additional vocals will haunt me forever. It was a powerful way to end the first set.
At the beginning of the second set, Dulli welcomed fans who traveled to the show, wished some people a happy birthday and gave San Francisco a big apology for having to back out of the show in May, but sweetly reminded the crowd, “When have I ever let you down? And if I did, at least I was charming about it.” Point taken.
A brief glimpse of The Afghan Whigs surfaced during this set, with Dulli singing the end of the first verse of “Something Hot” after a special request from the birthday girl in the front row. Mark Lanegan returned for a three song set, which included “God’s Children” (a stand out and one of my personal favorites from The Gutter Twins), “Live With Me” and “Boogie Boogie.” The violin on “Bonnie Brae” was breathtaking; Petra’s vocals on “Candy Cane Crawl” were haunting; “On the Corner” had the crowd singing. Two encores included “Love/Annie Mae,” “Cigarettes” and a song that Dulli said was the “song they couldn’t play anything after,” which was a Twilight Singers version of Neil Young’s “Hey Hey, My My.” Dave Catching from Queens Of The Stone Age joined the band for this electric finale.
There were several cameras recording the show, and word on the street is that a DVD will surface of the show at some point. Good. The show was too amazing for it not to have a life outside the walls of The Great American Music Hall.
I’ve been to plenty of concerts in my adult life, and many of those been recorded for distribution, but there was something very special about this very intimate show. It was, hands down, one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. Sure, it was the end of a tour and a first for the band, but I’m pretty sure picking a smaller, more intimate venue (as opposed to going back to The Fillmore) contributed to the success of the show. Even if you were standing in the back of the room, you weren’t all that far away from the band. With the exception of a few technical glitches, the band was spot on. Dulli and bassist Scott Ford seemed to be joking through half the set and it was a lot of fun to see Dulli get as into the music he was playing as the crowd at his feet.
Au revoir, GWiz and Co. Thank you for an incredibly memorable night.
Until next week (and my next obsession)!
Layout by: Michelle
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