Concert Review: Drive By Truckers, Old 97’s, November 2, Phoenix Concert Theatre


Both The Drive By Truckers and The Old 97’s are bands that have been known to put on a good show and both have not been to our fair city in some time. Old 97’s frontman Rhett Miller acknowledged as much, noting, “We do not get here often enough” and adding that they had “a shit ton of songs” to play for us. And play they did, running through numbers from throughout their career with an abundance of energy.

Though they played for 75 minutes, it seemed to go by quickly and I could have easily listened to more from the Old 97’s as there were many songs from their discography that they had to skip.  Personally, I would have liked to hear a bit more off Satellite Rides, but that’s a minor quibble.  One of the highlights of their set came when they played a pair of songs written for Waylon Jennings back in the day that were only just recently released.  “Just imagine I’m Waylon Jennings,” said Miller.  Sorry, Rhett, try as I might, I just can’t picture Waylon pulling off your dance moves onstage.

While The Old 97’s set was thoroughly entertaining, i have to say that The Drive By Truckers, on the other hand, committed the cardinal sin of live performance – they were kind of boring.  Don’t get me wrong, they sounded great and there were some impressive moments throughout their set, but at over two hours, it seemed to me to be a bit of a test of the audience’s patience with the first half of their set bogged down with too many slower songs.  It probably didn’t help that the Old 97’s set the bar so high with their opening set. Our patience was somewhat rewarded when the band opened up their encore with a cover of “Wild Horses,” a song recorded in Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley’s hometown of Muscle Shoals.  “Toronto likes the Rolling Stones, right?” asked Hood with a smile.  They followed that one up with “Let There Be Rock” off of 2002’s Southern Rock Opera, and “Hell No I Ain’t Happy,” which featured a satisfying appearance of the Truckers’ trademark 3 guitar attack.

As they finished off their encore, the crowd chanted “DBT!” over and over, which led Hood to confer with his bandmates for a moment before launching into “Angels and Fuselage,” which ended in a nice extended coda that featured each member of the band leaving the stage one by one until only drummer Brad Morgan was onstage.  The fact that people still wanted more shows that not everyone felt the same way I did about the show.  On the other hand, the crowd had thinned out somewhat by that point.  While the Truckers may have overstayed their welcome a bit (and been upstaged by The Old 97″s), there’s no doubt that there’s a lot of talent in this band and they’re still capable of creating moments where I was totally immersed in the music. They may want to look into adjusting those setlists a bit in the future though.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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