Chillin’ with Shooter and other tales from an awesome night
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Photos by Adam Sheets and Matt Eichenlaub
This probably won’t be my best writing. I apologize, but the fact is that I was hanging out with the band until around 3, didn’t get home until 4:30, and still haven’t been to bed yet.
I suppose I could talk about the two-hour conversation that Shooter, my friend Matt, and I had about music, all while listening to some cool tunes, most memorably David Allan Coe’s “Let Me Fuck You One More Time” and Cracker’s “It Ain’t Gonna Suck Itself,” both of which had the entire bus singing along. In between that we discussed Phases and Stages, Waylon,Tom Morello, Woodstock ’94, Highwaymen tours, and pretty much any important or obscure musician from the past 50 years or so. I got to hear an unreleased collaboration between Shooter and Brendan Benson of the Raconteurs on a Faces number. However, the reality is that I simply can’t recall most of the night, but am pretty sure it was fucking awesome. And did Shooter really kiss another guy at one point as part of a dare? And did he really mention me in the same sentence as Hunter S. fucking Thompson? I’ll have to get back to ya on both of those.
But I do remember most of what happened before I got the tweet from Shooter telling me to come to the bus, so I’ll talk about that.
Matt and I both agreed that last night was the greatest show we had ever seen and that it easily made up for not living through the ’60s. After the hard Southern rock of Ponderosa, we made our way closer to the stage and ended up in the front row where we watched them set up a plethora of vintage guitars, a pedal steel, and not one, but two, synthesizers.
Then at exactly 11:00, Stephen King’s voice comes through the monitors, Shooter and the band comes on stage playing “Wake Up,” Shooter goes wild jamming on the Moog and then midway through the song switches to electric guitar. He follows this up with a succession of great Black Ribbons tracks (“Triskadekaphobia,” “Don’t Feed the Animals,” “The Breaking Point,”), before playing “Manifesto #1” and then a brand new song, the psychedelic country rocker “Manifesto #3.”
The entire crowd, myself included, was totally wrapped up in the music. You had all kinds there: the traditional country fans, the metalheads, the punk rockers. But none of that mattered because we were all there for one purpose and we all went away happy. I don’t think I’m alone in equating last night’s show with a religious experience. In fact, during “God Bless Alabama,” Matt leaned over and screamed “I feel like I’m in church” and I yelled back “You fuckin’ are.”
Elsewhere in the show, the band did most of Black Ribbons (I was slightly disappointed that “Fuck You, I’m Famous” didn’t make the set list), the 2005 hit “Fourth of July,” Waylon’s “Outlaw Shit,” and several tracks from Put the O Back in Country and Electric Rodeo.
To keep it short, Shooter is the rock god for this generation and his live show is, impossible as this is to believe, even better than the album. Great jamming prevailed throughout, particularly on the show-closing “Daddy’s Farm” and the whole effect was something like Roger Waters being backed by the Grateful Dead.
By the end of the show, my throat was sore from singing and I was simply screaming the lyrics, as was most of the crowd. There was a deep sense of community within the room from the second the band came on stage and it just grew with every song. Now I know exactly how the crowd felt at Woodstock.
I told Shooter this after the show and I’ll tell you now: the problem with Nashville isn’t that they are no longer making great country music. The problem is that the music, whatever the genre, is pure shit. But give Shooter a chance to rock the stage at the Opry the way he did at Huntington, West Virgina’s V Club last night and that can definitely change.
And did I mention that I scored a free Ted Russell Kamp bumper sticker? How cool is that?