Wednesday, July 25, 2007

"Is this more than some old summer fling?"

The Old 97's blew me away last night.

Best live show I've seen at the Southgate House. You can tell the guys love what they do, and their enthusiasm is infectious. I could not control my happy feet.

Before the show I chatted with a couple who had driven up from Louisville and as they too were big fans we had a riot of a time bouncing around the crowded ballroom when the band took the stage. Brad informed me that he had proposed to Emily one evening as they were listening to the song "The Question," so when the band hit the opening bars they went a little bit bonkers kissing each other, while friends and strangers alike all bought them drinks.

The band cherry-picked a good mix of songs from all their albums, from 1994's Hitchhike to Rhome through Drag It Up and enjoyed interacting with the audience when fans called out for certain songs. They also promised a new album in April 2008 and everyone went nuts. My only disappointment of the night was that they did not play my favorite Old 97's song: "Melt Show."

But they rolled through nearly everything else from Too Far To Care, including a smokin' version of "Four Leaf Clover," which rounded out their first encore, and "Timebomb," which brought the house down and closed the high-octane, sold-out show.

Uber-hottie and lead singer Rhett Miller also performed acoustic versions of "Help Me, Susanne" and "I'm With Her" from his 2006 solo effort "The Believer" during the first encore before being joined by the rest of the guys for some more energetic stompers. Those boys have that Texas shuffle down pat and the audience ate it up.

Although they hover consistently in my top 5 favorite bands, until last night I'd never had the opportunity to see them live. I caught Rhett Miller's solo tour last autumn at the Tall Stacks Festival and that simply whetted my appetite for the whole enchilada. And they were well worth the wait.