Sunday, July 24, 2011

28. The Old 97's at Rangers Ballpark, 7/23/11

28. The Old 97's at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

So then we took a break from Gorilla vs. Bear to rush over to the Rangers Ballpark, where we caught the last two innings of the game in which Dallas' favorite baseball team went from being down in the ninth to a 5-4 victory of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Not pictured: mom, apple pie.

Everyone (except N, who hates sports, crowds, and being instructed when to holler) was overjoyed at this turn of events, and it certainly made for a pleasant atmosphere for the Old 97's concert after the game.  If Dallas had lost, it's probably fair to say fewer people would have attended, or looked so pleased at standing around for another hour and half.

As it was, there was no looting.

Now, the Old 97's.  Before you proceed, it's probably a good idea for you, the reader, to go back and read what we had to say about the Rhett Miller show we attended, exactly a month ago.  Just so you know where we're coming from regarding these guys.  All that stuff applies here.  Grew up with Rhett, know the band, love them, they can do no wrong.

The other half of that sign says "Mex."

If you're familiar with the Old 97's, you know the energy they put into their shows.  They make more sound that you'd expect four middle-aged guys to make; Ken shreds, Philip pounds, Murray's yodeling, frenetic vocals are a perfect complement to Rhett's voice.  Rhett himself is a consummate showman, always bantering with the crowd, telling a few lines about a new song or a story behind an old one, rousing jingoistic local patriotism by mentioning Texas and Dallas every chance he gets.  An Old 97's show is always a show and frankly, never a disappointment.

Rhett dedicated the new song "Manhattan (I'm Gone)" to "a team the Rangers defeated last playoff season, the Yankees."  Murray provided his country-pone vocals on the cover "Rolling Stone From Texas," prefacing it by proudly admitting, "we're all rednecks where I come from."

The sounded fantastic, at peak, end-of-tour form.  Listening to these road veterans perform reminds you instantly and palpably how much of a gap there is between them and an up-and-coming band that doesn't do it for real. Seriously, if you're in a band and you're unsure how to do bantering (or marketing), come to an Old 97's show and take notes.

We were very pleased to see some young people in the crowd, college guys and even under-teens, singing along with all the words from not only fresh hits like "Every Night is Friday Night," but from the newest album.

After the well-received "A State of Texas," and the pleasant surprise of a cover of REM's "Driver 8," the band launched into the obligatory (but still sing-along powerful) "Big Brown Eyes."  We would have stayed, but it was time to leave the Grand Theatre and head back to the Granada Theater, where Gorilla vs. Bear was still going strong.  Or should have been, anyway.

In sum: Best band out of Texas.  One of the best bands currently performing.  Sure, we're biased --- but we're also right.

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