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The Black Crowes - Higher Ground (S. Burlington, VT) - October 19 & 20, 2010

The Black Crowes Higher Ground VT 9.17.09
22 October 2010

It’s always fun to see a band two nights in a row, especially road dogs like The Black Crowes, in an intimate club with stellar sound like Higher Ground. The extra night (along with the absence of new material) allowed them to spread their wings, dig into the back catalog, and play songs from all of their records. The Crowes are heading into an indefinite hiatus and they’re going in style, playing three hours a night on this last tour (half acoustic, half electric). They kept it interesting through all six hours of music, only repeating three songs the second night, and each one (fan favorites “Wiser Time”, “Remedy” and “Thorn In My Pride”) was swapped from acoustic to electric, or vice versa.

They beefed things up this time around by adding a percussionist, bringing the number of band members to nine! Is that why Rich Robinson and Luther Dickinson switched sides of the stage? Maybe Rich just wanted a better line of sight with his rhythm section. Luther was absolutely on fire both nights, finger picking the whole time and mixing it up with occasional forays into mandolin and pedal steel territory. It was total guitar heaven watching those two bring out one beautiful, vintage six-string after another. Not just for show- they use a bunch of open tunings because they’re both prodigious slide players.

This band has always excelled at picking well-suited, deep cut covers. They played The Band (“Rockin’ Chair”), Delaney and Bonnie (“Poor Elijah-Tribute to Johnson”), The Velvet Underground (“Oh! Sweet Nuthin’”, featuring snatches of “Hey Jude” in Luther’s solo), and an electrifying version of Dylan‘s “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You”.

One thing that bummed me out was the strict anti-camera policy at the shows. Multiple announcements were made, at the door and over the PA, and security was spotting people and confronting them. This picture is from the last time The Black Crowes were here, on September 17, 2009.


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