Drive-By Truckers – Live From Austin TX

Live From Austin TX (2009)


1. Perfect Timing 2. Heathens 3. A Ghost To Most 4. The Righteous Path 5. I’m Sorry Huston 6. 3 Dimes Down 7. Puttin’ People On The Moon 8. Space City 9. The Living Bubba 10. Zip City 11. 18 Wheels Of Love 12. Let There Be Rock 13. Marry Me


Boy, our heroes sure have grown up since the late 90s, huh? I mean, so have I, but that’s mostly because in the late 90s I spent my mornings watching Pokémon and Spider-Man cartoons and my nights proving myself to be inept at controlling my bladder while I was asleep. DBT, on the other hand, were grown ass men in their mid-30s, but it took them another decade to actually start playing the part of venerable rock veterans. The band that made Gangstabilly would have never dreamed of getting on Austin City Limits, but the band that made Brighter Than Creation’s Dark was a perfect fit.

In fact, if there’s anything you can say about this September 2008 performance for the legendary TV show, it’s that the set is a little too professional – not just in comparison to Alabama Ass Whuppin’ (which is actually a pretty interesting comparison to make considering how drastically different those two live albums are), but in comparison to pretty much every other live show DBT have ever played. Perhaps overly wary of the lineage of ACL and the prestige that goes along with it, the band tried their best to blend in by turning down their guitars, playing a few more quieter songs than usual, and self-censoring the bad words (“All them politicians they all lyin’ sacks of…” of what?? Tell me more, Patterson? Sacks of rice? Sacks of diapers? What?). The result is eminently listenable to say the least, but on the downside, an audio document of what this band sounds like what they really let loose at the Rock Show post-Southern Rock Opera remains unavailable to the record-buying public.

But taken on its own terms, there’s very little wrong with Live from Austin. Yeah, instead of getting most of the usual stalwarts like “Hell No, I Ain’t Happy” or “Where The Devil Don’t Stay,” we get “Heathens” and “Space City”… but on the bright side, we get “Heathens” and “Space City.” This band does a lot of things really well besides the three-guitar anthem, OK? That’s what Brighter Than Creation’s Dark proved once and for all, and this record basically serves as further evidence. If you miss the bombast of The Dirty South or the raging abandon of Alabama Ass Whuppin’ just go listen to those records, you know? DBT were just in a different gear around this time, and especially during the evening this set was recorded. And even if that gear means that “Let There Be Rock” and “Marry Me” lose a little bit of their power in this setting, it doesn’t mean that DBT had lost their edge, because even without their usual full-bore crunch, these versions of “3 Dimes Down” and “Puttin’ People On The Moon” are still the best I’ve ever heard them do.

Interestingly enough, the unequivocal highlight here is a performance whose arrangement can be traced back to a performance of the same song on Alabama Ass Whuppin’: “18 Wheels Of Love.” Yup, after almost 10 years, Patterson revives the romantic tale of his mom and everyone’s favorite Peterbilt driver, Chester. And once he’s retold it virtually word for word, he adds a second chapter to the story about Chester getting diagnosed with heart failure. I won’t give away the ending, but rest assured, once again “every word is true”… Clocking in at nearly 12 minutes, this version remains one of the absolutely quintessential DBT moments. They’ve sure got a lot of those.

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