Drive-By Trucker's October 28 show at the Pageant was easily one of the top 5 best shows I've seen in 2011, if not the best so far. The reason? The Truckers are simply a true rock band.
There's no pyro, no confetti cannons or other gimmicks. No LED or video screens or flashing, trick lighting.
What they do have is no less than three guitars and a sledgehammer of earnest, crushing rock ‘n roll.
- Nikon D3
- Nikon D700
This was a phenomenal show. Even at a “light” two hours (due to the show coinciding and being pushed back by game seven of the World Series featuring the St. Louis Cardinals), this show still featured just rock solid performances and a fantastic encore. In fact, this show came close to the rock ‘n roll heights of the Trucker's 2008 performance at the Pageant, which I personally consider to be legendary.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the Drive-By Truckers are a band without gimmicks. There's no mind-blowing light show or huge stage production, just barreling, unpretentious and unstoppable rock.
In this respect, part of me almost felt bad chasing around guitarist Mike Cooley whenever he came to the front of the stage. It obviously wasn't for me, but for the fans directly behind the barricade – and, sometimes, maybe not even for them.
At the end of the night, the Drive-By Truckers deliver the kind of show that's refreshing and surprisingly cathartic as a music photographer. It's easy to get wrapped up shooting shows with immense lighting rigs that take up trailers and trailers to haul, but it's really shows like those the Drive-By Truckers deliver that can be the very most satisfying, both as a fan and as a photographer.
Besides, you don't need pryotechnics when the show ends with the band's frontman laying on his stomach at the front of the stage, thrusting a bottle of Patrón tequila out into the eager hands of the fans in the front row. Short of someone dousing their guitar with ligher fluid and setting it on fire, this is just about as good as it gets.
The very fact that the Drive-By Truckers allow photography for their entire set is another reason this band is so special. In an age where so many national touring bands limit press to the first three songs of a band's set, it's amazing and wonderful that a band like the Truckers allow photographers to shoot for the entire show. This full access, simply put, allows for the creation of the very best images.
Case in point, this shot of Patterson Hood from 2008 ranks among my very favorite I've ever made.
This end-of-show moments are the ones for which music photographers live. The ones that give us a shot at capturing something that'll last beyond the album cycle and maybe, just maybe, take root in the minds of fans as an image that can define a band.
Big thanks to Patterson Hood for making sure I was taken care of for this show. Much appreciated.
If you want to donate directly and keep me stocked in tea, you can contribute money to www.ishootshows.com via PayPal.