Report: Steve Earle Live in Anaheim

 

September 26 at the House of Blues the bard,
along with The Duke and The Duchess (plus wife Allison Moorer), delivered the
goods.

 

Text & Photos by Rebecca Carter

 

Touring in
support of a recently released book and album, both titled I’ll Never Get Out of this World Alive, Steve Earle has taken to
the road this time with backing band The Duke and The Duchess.  In past years his tours have consisted mainly
of solo appearances, and while that format has been quite powerful, the full
band and traditional bluegrass approach showcased the old and new material with
added dimension.

 

He opened
the show with several cuts off the new album, “Waiting on the Sky”, “Little
Emperor” and “The Gulf of Mexico”; each song a perfect example of Earle’s brand
of political commentary steeped in the folk tradition. I’ll Never Get Out of this World Alive itself covers the spectrum
of satire, scathing commentary and apolitical ballads in the same fashion that
his career has and Monday night’s show brought a mix as well.

 

 

The Duke and
the Duchess really accented the performance, and having a full backing band
rounded out the popular songs like “Copperhead
Road” and “Hardcore Troubadour”.  The band was tight and versatile, switching
between guitars, fiddle, steel slide, organ and banjos. Earle, always the
musicologist live, explained the histories and traditions of the mandolin and
bouzouki and how he fit into the themes of each song.

 

 

Between
songs Earle used anecdotes from his own life to give insight into their
meanings and personalize his political views. He encored with “Billy Austin”, a
song about a man on death row. Earle explained that a few nights prior someone
had passed a note on stage that said “play something for Troy Davis” following
his execution and that it had taken him some time to think about the
appropriate response, and “Billy Austin” was it. You could have heard a pin
drop during the song and it’s those moments that make
Steve Earle the kind of musician you have to see live.

 

 

Setlist:

 

Waiting on
the Sky

Little
Emperor

The Gulf of Mexico

Molly O

City of
immigrants

Telephone
Road

Every Part
of Me

My Old
Friend the Blues

Guitar
Town

Days Aren’t
Long Enough

(Allison
Moorer set)

 (Break)

Copperhead
Road

Dixieland

Train
A-Comin’

Galway Girl

The Mountain

Meet Me in
the Alleyway

Heaven or
Hell

This City

Taneytown

Hardcore
Troubadour

The
Revolutions Starts Now

 

Encore:

Billy Austin

Devil’s
Right Hand

 

 

 

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