Words by Adam Kaye
Drive By Truckers, Robert Randolph & the Family Band and The Black Crowes
06.14.06 :: Greek Theatre :: Los Angeles, CA
On what felt like the first night of summer, The
Black Crowes brought their rock and roll show to Griffith Park's gorgeous Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. Along with them were the Drive-By Truckers and Robert Randolph and the Family Band, but it was the Crowes who everybody was
thinking about the next day, and the day after that one.
The Black Crowes by
The Greek, a spectacular and perfectly-sized outdoor amphitheater, holds close to 6,000 seats, but the vast majority
of the audience members were still making their way to the show when the Drive-By Truckers took the stage at
half past six.
So the Truckers had to endure an empty house and all the BlackBerry text-messaging and cell phone-
talking you'd expect in L.A. at 6:30 on a Wednesday night, two and a half hours before the headliner is set to come
on, but they persevered and won a handful of new fans with their growling three-guitar attack.
Patterson Hood by
Currently touring in support of their great recent release A Blessing and a Curse, the band delivered three
tunes from the new album, including "Feb. 14," "Easy On Yourself," and "Gravity's Gone." Lead singers/songwriters/
guitar players Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, and Jason Isbell have their own individual
styles but fit together perfectly when it's time to rock out. With the new album, they seem to be trying to move away
from the "Southern" tag that has always accompanied them, but live, their sound will still please the Skynyrd and
Allmans-lovers across the country.
Robert Randolph and the Family Band
Wearing Pedro Martinez's Mets jersey and a black fedora, Robert Randolph tore into his short set of rockin' pedal
steel funk, which included covers of The Doobie Brothers' "Jesus Is Just Alright With Me" and Hendrix's "Voodoo
Chile." In the "Only in L.A." category, your new American Idol Taylor Hicks stopped by to lend his harp to a
tune. When he stepped out from backstage, Hicks had the potential to blow the place away, but he seemed timid or
respectfully reserved and never really tore into it.
Randolph played more electric guitar than he has in the past and seemed to enjoy doing so, breaking up the steady
stream of in-your-face wailing on the pedal steel. Anybody who has seen Randolph make a small room explode
knows the ridiculous amount of charisma and talent that he possesses, but for some reason that magnetism and
electricity didn't seem to overwhelm the Greek on this night. Just like the Truckers' set, it was still earlier than
people were used to getting to a concert in this town, but among those who were there, Randolph had new people
Robert Randolph by
The Black Crowes
After years of bruised egos and bumps in the road, the Black Crowes decided to roll the dice one more time in March
2005 and have been earning rave reviews ever since, some even claiming their recent performances rival those of
their heyday. To watch them work together again feels good – a reminder that sometimes second chances actually
pan out. Since reuniting, the Crowes have played seven sold-out shows at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom and New Year's Eve at Madison Square Garden, performed five-nights at the Henry Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles, and
headlined three of the most prestigious festivals in America (New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Bonnaroo, and Austin City
The current incarnation of the band is as close as they've been to their original lineup in years. Brothers
Chris (lead vocals) and Rich Robinson (guitars) are still the heart of the organism, but on this
night Marc Ford (guitars) reminded everybody what an essential piece of the puzzle he is. Steve
Gorman (drums), Ed Hawrysch (keyboards), and Sven Pipien (bass) - the only musician not
a part of 1992's The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion - all contributed substantially, and
background singers Charity White and Mona Lisa Young spun the songs with the soul that jumps
off the band's recordings.
Marc Ford by Casey
Over the course of their career, the Crowes have toured with Aerosmith, ZZ Top, Jimmy Page, Tom Petty and the
Heartbreakers, Oasis, AC/DC and Lenny Kravitz, but this summer's outing has the perfectly fuzzy and jammed-out
feel of the Allman Brothers, complete with psychedelically colorful, mushroom-adorned backdrop. Fun covers from
The Band ("Up on Cripple Creek"), Neil Young ("L.A."), and Derek and the Dominos ("Got To Get Better In A Little
While") kept things interesting, but the most impressive aspect of the show was the unrestrained, improvised
The Crowes' set opened solidly with "Cursed Diamond" and "Wiser Time." Next, "Got To Get Better In A Little While"
was introduced by Chris as "the most political we get," and it was delivered in a manner that made it clear the band
is not entirely happy about the current state of our world. Gorman's drums drove everybody forward, and the
combination of Chris's lead vocals and electric guitar and the twin-guitar attack of Rich and Ford made you want to
stand up and make a difference. "Soul Singing" from 2001's Lions came out straight-forwardly with the
background singers taking the energy up a notch, but the band really opened it up after that. Everybody was
moving together, but still there was room for some impressive individual showing off.
Chris Robinson by Casey
The "Cripple Creek" cover with the brothers playing acoustic guitars and Rich singing lead was fun but didn't really
enter any uncharted territory before "My Morning Song" was stretched way out, including a spacey drum solo and
serious key-work from Hawrysch. Young's "L.A." featured Ford on lead vocals and Chris again picking up the electric
guitar before the guaranteed-to-please set-closing "Hard to Handle," "Jealous Again," and "Remedy" gave everybody
the opportunity to sing along for which they paid admission. The last song of the night was a furiously hard-rocking
cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well," which the Crowes have been playing since 1999, and it was the perfect way to
go out with a bang. Just before leaving the stage, Chris thanked the crowd by saying, "It's nice to see people
dancing in L.A."
Cursed Diamond, Wiser Time, Got To Get Better In A Little While, Sister Luck, Soul Singing, Welcome To The Good
Times, Up On Cripple Creek, My Morning Song, L.A., Hard To Handle, Jealous Again, Remedy
E2: Oh Well
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