Obsession Of The Month: A Day With Old 97's @ Diesel, October 9, 2008
(just blame it on being a girl....)
On October 9th I had the great pleasure of meeting Rhett Miller and Murry Hammond at an in-studio concert at WYEP here in my home town. They could not have been more charming and kind and gracious to those of us in attendance. They chatted with every fan, signed autographs, swapped stories and patiently posed for photos. It was delightful to watch these two old friends interact with each other as well as the audience. It was evident they've been buds for a looooong time, seeing each other through life's pathos. Murry, the jokester, kept things light and buoyant. Rhett, soft-spoken and mild-mannered, charmed the ladies in the room without even trying. *sigh* Hands down, two of the sweetest performers I've ever met. They remembered everyone's name and even changed their set list to accommodate a little girl's last minute request.
And then that night they took the stage, and Rhett released a riptide of raw emotion filled with angst, anger, longing, betrayal, passion and heartache which flooded over the crowd like a breeched levee. The energy level so high it lifted the audience and carried us from one blistering hook to another. Un-freaking-believable!! They totally blew the roof off the joint. Ninety minutes sailed by in a moment, and I so did not want the evening to end. Like an over-indulged child, I wanted to scream, "Do it again! Do it again!"
Old 97's is the best band I've seen live in 15-20 years. Their performance is incredibly tight for a band that doesn't rehearse. I suppose it's a testament to their skill as musicians as well as the depth of their relationships. Or maybe it's the Jameson. Either way, the boys are in sync! Rhett's stage presence is so captivating I dare anyone (particularly female) to watch anything else. You just can't do it. Not when he's soulfully belting out those brilliant lyrics. Yeah, okay...the hip action is pretty stellar, too. I may be older, but I'm still a girl for God's sake.
The next morning I jumped on line and bought everything that was missing from my Old 97's catalog. If you're a newcomer, I highly suggest starting off with the quintessential live CD,
Alive and Wired from 2005. This two disc set includes a large portion of their work up to that date. It's one of the few live recordings which successfully transports the listener to the live club experience. It's exactly like being there. No shit. Search through iTunes for some other choice chestnuts and a copy of Blame it on Gravity, and a happy camper you will be.
Many thanks to Rhett and Murry for taking the time out of their busy schedule to stop by the radio station to perform. It was great meeting them both. The concert was phenomenal.
I cannot wait to catch the next one.
And for f*ck's sake...GO SEE THEM!!!!
**The guys are so cool they let anyone record their shows. There are an abundance of videos on YouTube. Search either Old 97's or Rhett Miller and plant yourself down for a while.
http://blurt-online.com/video/view/138/ (podcast inerview from Athens, GA 10/20/08)