Black Crowes-Chicago 11/06/09...Wanee 2010?
BLACK CROWES Riviera Theatre, Chicago, IL, 11/6/09
Spike Jonze might have saved himself a lot of time and millions in studio money if he’d really wanted to know where the wild, wooly wild things are. Last night, they were at the sold-out Black Crowes show at the Riviera. The shaggy-haired troubadours from the Crowes looked like rockin’ Muppets even as tey sounded like the elite force in southern rock music. At stage front, a greying hippy couple held close together like this was something more than just a big night out—more like a pilgrimage.
On record, the Black Crowes have increasingly let their sprawling style explorations in country, blues, folk, even psychedelia, surface as distinct facets of what was originally a strictly southern rock and soul personality—but live the sprawl is of a different type. The soaring and blistering guitar excursions and mod key passages are woven in Crowes tunes giving them the topography of mountains and verdant valleys. Another way of putting it: The Black Crowes are one helluva jam band when they want to be.
Sticking pretty true to music from the band’s Before the Frost…Until the Freeze , a double album, with select tunes from Amorica and a surprise high-point with a Velvet Underground cover, “Oh Sweet Nuthin,” sung by Rich Robinson but featuring three-part vocal harmonies—the Crowes song choice was more confident than pandering. Early in a set that ran about two hours total, “Shine Along” featured Luther Dickinson coaxing sound from miniature guitar—before the band flipped straight into the slowly-unfolding, Pink Floyd-esque “Good Friday.” And throughout the night, Specs-sporting Dickinson’s finger-picking blues-inspired solos created awesome moments which relieved Chris Robinson to dance and spin like a festival-circuit preacher with a complete collection of Otis Redding records. The set came to a climax with the uptempo, harder-hitting “No Speak No Slave.” A freak-folk-inspired encore featured a towering Steve Gorman playing marching drum on center-stage and a heartfelt “the Last Place that Love Lives” and a cacophonous “God’s Got It.” It wasn’t exactly a rock-star ending—more of a stomp around the campfire, which is a much rarer thing.
1. Good Morning Captain
2. Cursed Diamond
3. Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye
4. Shine Along
5. Roll Old Jeremiah
6. Good Friday
7. Ozone Mama
8. I Ain't Hiding
9. Oh! Sweet Nuthin'
10. (Only) Halfway to Everywhere
11. Oh Josephine
13. Been a Long Time (Waiting on Love)
14. No Speak No Slave
15. The Last Place That Love Lives
16. God's Got It
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