City: Chicago, IL
Venue: The Metro
IF I ONLY HAD A HEART
“How are you all tonight?” “Me too.”
“So, it’s 12:30am, kind of late isn’t it. This isn’t late, it’s early. Get comfortable because we’re going to be here a while.”
YOU MY FLOWER/ WAITING TO EXHALE (THE SHOOP SONG)
WHAT JAIL IS LIKE
CRIME SCENE, PART ONE
IF I WERE GOING
NIGHT BY CANDLELIGHT
GOING TO TOWN
TURN ON THE WATER/ GIMME SHELTER
MY ENEMY/ WHAT BECOMES OF THE BROKEN HEARTED “I forgot the rest of the words.”/ “THE END” DOORS MONOLOGUE
WHEN WE TWO PARTED/ I WANT CANDY
FOUNTAIN AND FAIRFAX
BULLETPROOF/ WHERE DID OUR LOVE GO?
“We’ve got one more for you.”
“This is our good friend. She’s played on our last two albums. This time her husband finally let us out on tour with us. He’s in the audience to make sure we behave.”
MILEZ IZ DEAD
Review from MSU.edu
Afghan Whigs: 92
Howlin’ Maggie: 71
The Metro is a venue which seems to more the Afghan Whigs style than the cavernous State Theater in Detroit where they had played the previous night. I had never been to the Metro before this 18 and over show but I highly recommend the venue to anyone who wishes to see a band in an intimate atmosphere. The place is not as small as a bar or anything of that sort but the setup is interesting. Instead of having a stage and then having the hall extend back, the stage is extremely wide (it’s a stage bigger than a lot of larger clubs I have been to) and the crowd only extends back about 100 feet (if that). So, realistically there is not a “seat” (since it is general admission) in the house which is too far away to see the band as almost life-sized. There is also a 21 and over balcony which extends over the back of the crowd and appeared to give a good view (from the little time I spent up there). On the last two Afghan Whigs tour, the band decided to play two dates at this particular location and it is easy to see why. They seemed to love the crowd and the feeling was mutual.
Howlin’ Maggie was better without the pressure of having to perform to a crowd who know who they were. Although they were still barely listenable in the two songs for which I saw them. They seemed to be really into the spirit of the night however getting into both of the songs and turning them into high energy rockers. There was no flamboyancy from the lead singer this particular night but it added to the act rather than distract from it. Detroit and Chicago are both working class towns and his antics had not played the night before so he appeared to change it.
As for the Whigs set, Greg Dulli had overcome his nemesis from the night before, his drunkeness and appeared this time out in an incredibly dapper jacker instead of the t-shirt the night before. But, the jacket ended up being on microphone after the first song. The first sign that this was going to be a better show was he did not break into a sweat immediately upon entering the stage area. He was composed and collected and seemed to take in the ovation of the crowd as if he was a conquering hero. And, from the impression I got from the Chicago fans, he basically was one of their favorite out of town acts. The band began this night with a soulful rendition of “If I Only Had A Heart” which they had been doing early in the tour but had skipped in the Detroit date. The sound was better and brought out the soulfulness which Greg Dulli exhudes.
The crowd was respectful but quite placid for this show. There is a huge sign coming into the Metro which says that all moshing is strictly prohibited. On this night no one tempted fate with the bouncers. Still the crowd showed their excitement in other ways such as cheering louder than their numbers said they should have. Greg was impressed early and said, “settle in, this is going to be a long night”. The setlist was rather new but the crowd appreciated both the old and the new (although they were a little too excited about “Honky’s Ladder”.
The covers were very diverse this night as Greg Dulli seemed to try a lot of newer ones. He covered at times such diverse things as the beginning of “The Night Before Christmas” and the monologue from the Doors epic “The End” (the “mother…yes son” one). The 80s hit “I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow. The motown sound was continued with some Supremes covers. Amonst their own songs they played “My Enemy” especially well with the strings on their guest on the tour coming out especially well over the speakers and the rendition of “Faded” was almost flawless. The sound was enough to drag someone into another realm of thought. The Afghan Whigs were back almost to their old form on this night. Greg even played around with the audience. The experience was one to remember but there was still somewhat of an intensity which one used to feel at an Afghan Whigs show missing. They were by no means going through the motion but the spotaneity was somewhat lacking and the show seemed somewhat contrived. I don’t know how this could have been corrected. For the first timer this would have been an incredible show but for the hardened fan, it would have left them wanting a little more.