Sunday, November 14, 2010

Stubb's - Austin, Texas - 9.25.10

The Black Crowes
Waller Creek Amphitheater at Stubb's
Austin, Texas
September 25, 2010

Feelin' Alright
Hard To Handle
Go Tell The Congregation
Only A Fool
Show Me
Seeing Things
Isn't It About Time
Ballad In Urgency >   
Wiser Time
My Morning Song
Soul Singing
Thorn In My Pride
You're So Rude #
Glad & Sorry #
Poor Elijah (Tribute To Johnson) #%

# with Ian McLagan
% with Gordie Johnson

We suppose the big news here is that Ian McLagan of the Faces sat in tonight, and that's probably what most people will think of when down the road everyone looks back on this show.   But check out the setlist.  Look at the first seven songs.  That's pretty much a pot luck grab bag of unpredictability with two covers out of the gate, two from By Your Side, another cover, Seeing Things and then another cover.  There really wasn't anything conventional about the way it got started tonight.  When was the last time the first seven songs in a one set show had four or more covers mixed in?  Vegas '96?   Was this another "forty years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes, dead rising from the grave, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together...mass hysteria" type of show?  It was kind of headed that way. 

"This is nice."
Show Me was jammed out, Seeing Things felt good and was really elevated by Adam's playing.  Isn't It About Time, in one little spot, had a quick slide lick that was a ringer for Kicking My Heart Around.  So here were all are, bound for Looneyville.   It was about to get crazy on ludicrous and insane.  Where are we, the Fillmore? 

Before we move forward, two random things -

#1 - Hard To Handle in the two slot always reminds us of this night...


#2 - Here's Stephen Stills playing Isn't It About Time in New York in 2007

Back to the show, which Charles Dickens wrote a book about called A Tale of Two Halves....

With Thorn In My Pride tonight clocking in around its usual 22-23 minutes, we wonder if more juice could've been squeezed out with two or three tight tunes toward the end of the show instead of one long jam, but that would go against our rule of playing the What If Game; which twists you up.  Needless to say, the encore to come was certainly something special, if not long overdue, as Ian McLagan was about to sit in...and even though you may know him best from his role in the Faces, over the years he's also played and toured with everyone from Bonnie Raitt to Bob Dylan to the Everly Brothers to Chuck Berry to Joe Cocker to some band called the Rolling Stones.  The man has credentials.

Anybody out there who follows Steve on the Twitter might have had an inclination something was afoot earlier in the day when Steve tweeted, "having a blast at soundcheck. You should see our faces."  Not many people knew it but Mac was already in the house.  How much fun would it have been to have been a fly on the wall at that soundcheck?  You know it was at least seventeen times cooler than the show itself.  The band had only played You're So Rude live once before, with Marc on vocals, and it that was as sloppy as a smashed handful of honey-dipped Twinkies.  This time, Mac took the mic.  He was having a blast and so was the band.  "Hey look, there's The Black Crowes jamming with Ian McLagan singing and playing keyboards." 

You're So Rude was followed by Glad and Sorry, a song originally recorded during the Ooh La La sessions of late '72 and early '73 and sung by its composers Ronnie Lane and Ronnie Wood.  Tonight, Mac sang it with Rich, and man did it sound good.  Rich may have been the happiest guy on stage.  

Sidenote:  Remember that list of Black Crowes Top 50 Covers we were threatening to put together some day?  Glad and Sorry is a lock for the top 20 when and if we ever get around to putting that thing together.  

To round out the night, Grady himself, Mr. Gordie Johnson, joined everyone on stage for a Poor Elijah that went properly off the reservation and drove past the weigh station around the ten-minute mark before returning to port.  With Adam and Mac playing side by side, Chris strumming the acoustic, Gordie and Rich playing off one another, Steve holding it down and everyone else just grinning happily along for the ride, these are the moments you time capsule.  A special night. 

Chris and Mac may cross paths again in 2011 if things work out to partake in some of the Faces reunion gigs that are planned to go down.  Mac was asked about it during a radio interview back in April and mentioned there's interest on both sides.  Mick Hucknall, he of Simply Red, has already been pegged to fill the rather large shoes of an apparently disinterested Rod Stewart - and if you've seen any of the clips of Hucknall playing with them recently you already know he can hold his own.  Not quite as exciting as imagining Rod up there, or Chris for that matter, with Kenney, Ronnie and Mac giving Stay With Me, Three Button Hand Me Down or (I Know) I'm Losing You a go, but one could argue it's better than no Faces at all.  We'll see what happens.

Speaking of Faces reunions, we've seen attempts in the past to get something together beyond a one off, like Wembley Stadium in 1986 to help raise money for MS research that also happened to be the last time Ronnie Lane performed on stage, but no official Faces reunion tour plans have ever been nailed down until recently.  If only Rod were on board.  He'll inevitably show up at one of the gigs somewhere, you know he will, and everyone will wonder why he couldn't get it together to just jump on board in the first place.  It'd be a shame it it only happens once, and if so the only question(s) then would be when and where and will you be lucky enough to be there when it does.  A lot of pontification as to whether or not his pipes are up to pulling off some of the tunes but something tells us one way or another they'd make it work.  Even if it has to be unplugged, we'd take it.  And nobody ever accused that band of being tight anyway, so screw it.  Just play.  Of course we'd all like to see Rod and Chris both up there together at least once in our lifetime, so hopefully arrangements, egos, schedules and luck can all work together in harmony to make it happen.  We're not holding our breath but we'll always hold out hope.

For now, all we can give you is this thing below from 1970.

Before we get outta here, be sure the next time you're in the car and hear Miss You on the radio (if you still listen to FM radio, that is), remember that's Ian McLagan you're hearing on the Wurlitzer electric piano.  Speaking of Miss You, have you ever heard the 12" mix?  If not, check it out here.  Listen to Bill Wyman's bass drive that thing.  So much better than the album version.  

Next time you're in Austin you might want to drop by the Lucky Lounge on West 5th on a Thursday for a happy hour matinee as Ian and the Bump Band are semi-regulars there and may be playing.  Check his website.  Believe it or not, there's no cover.  Just walk in, grab a beer and enjoy the band.  How cool is that?  One last thing...Mac's got a biography available called All The Rage, which we've yet to read but have on our list of books to snag.  We suspect it to be brimming with gobs of glorious tales from his adventures over the years, with one reviewer describing it as containing...
"hilarious anecdotes about Steve Mariott and his way of working the phrase "Fuck off" into interviews with foreign journalists and TV presenters, Keith Richards walking around during a rehearsal with a hypodermic needle stuck in his bum, as well as some chilling passages about Keith Moon's campaign of terror against McLagan and his soul mate, Moonie's ex-wife Kim." 

Buy a copy through his website here.

And don't forget...

1 comment:

  1. Great review - thanks! I'm a big fan of Mac's and it's always awesome when he gets loved up by reviewers. He deserves every accolade you've given him...but you know that!