The Black Crowes @ the Fillmore, 12.15.08

Remember how The Man used to say that rock ‘n’ roll was the devil’s music? I’d love to see The Man at a Black Crowes concert, because he’d probably get confused. Chris Robinson looks a lot like Jesus, except the flowing robe only goes to his waist, so he can show off his marijuana-leaf-patchwork jeans.

But seriously, if rock ‘n’ is actually the devil’s music, then we’re all screwed. That means I probably committed myself to purgatory right around the time I saw Tina Turner in concert (I was a hardcore 4th grader). And you know what? I love every minute of it. All the awesome people will be in hell, anyway. Join the party.

I have to say, I’m pretty pissed that this band is considered a “stoner band” by the almighty Wikipedia. I mean, there were people lighting up everywhere, so to say that they’re a band that attracts stoners might not be far from the truth. But this music is the real truth, and you don’t need to be high to appreciate it (Pink Floyd, anyone?). I never got to experience the 70s but I imagine the Black Crowes is the closest I’ll ever get. That’s a compliment, too. Most of my music library consists of my parents’ music, because it was truly better back then, and these guys stepped right over the monotonous drone of whatever’s on the radio and put soul and funk back into rock.

It’s difficult to go to a concert and enjoy yourself unless you know the songs. Come on, admit it. You have to be completely obsessed with music to go in cold-turkey and come out a die-hard fan. I’ve done it only a few times in my life, mostly because you appreciate the nuances of the live performance when you go in knowing what the studio recording sounds like. I knew only 2 songs in this set, but it didn’t matter. Every song was groovy and infectious in its own right, and the white-bread audience gave their own dance moves a try.

Chris Robinson doesn’t have Frontman Syndrome, which is refreshing. His delicate claps, mild feet and scattered hip-shakes are endearing, honest and just enough to command the stage without dominating it. With that voice, he doesn’t even need to try. His baritone wail is best when belted unrestrained, and results are explosive. I only wish I could catch a glimpse of his face, because it would be easier to see that truth I was talking about before. The rest of the Crowes are phenomenal musicians, perhaps under-appreciated because of that silly “stoner” label.

So here’s the setlist, courtesy of I hope to own all of these songs one day…
Goodbye Daughters Of The Revolution
Jam -> Black Moon Creeping
Greasy Grass River
Chevrolet -> Jam
Paint An 8
Walk Believer Walk
Forty Four Blues -> Jam
Locust Street
How Much For Your Wings -> Jam
Waiting Guilty
She Gave Good Sunflower
Movin’ On Down The Line
By Your Side
(Only) Halfway To Everywhere
Wounded Bird
– encore –
She Talks To Angels
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down