Drive-By Truckers at Tarrytown Music Hall. Tarrytown is often referred to as upstate NY, but that isn't really an accurate description as it is only one hour north of Manhattan by train (or a little over 30 minutes if you catch the express train). My friends and I caught the express and once we arrived in Tarrytown, began the 5 minute walk from the train station to the venue. While a 5 minute walk doesn't sound too bad, the directions did not mention the pretty intense hill you spend about 3 minutes of that commute on. San Francisco would be impressed with this incline for sure. Anyway, once we reached the top, we saw the venue just a short block away and much to our delight a nice looking pub about 1/2 way between us and the venue. The name of the pub is escaping me right now [I've always been horrible at remembering the names of bars and restaurants....I can remember their exact locations, but never the name for some bizarre reason], but it had a nice vibe, good beers on tap, baskets filled with delicious Goldfish crackers on the bar, baseball on the flat screens and was packed with Drive-By Truckers fans.
After a little pre-gaming at this nice little pub, we headed over to the venue. It was smaller than I had envisioned it being, but that certainly wasn't a strike against it. We were escorted to our seats on the floor and had a fantastic view of the stage. I knew right away this was going to be a much better show than the last time I saw them. The venue was better and the crowd was full of the friendly rock n roll fans I'd learned to expect over the past few years of attending DBT shows. I took a quick trip to the merch booth to pick up a t-shirt for myself and one for my girlfriend (at $20 a pop, they were a steal by today's merch standards) and got back to my seat just a minute or two before the lights went down to indicate the band was coming out soon.
The Drive-By Truckers have been touring for years and it shows in how amazingly tight their performances always are. Every member is a true talent at their respective instrument, they are all locked into one another and deliver as a unit. No weak links in this chain. And this night was no exception. DBT opened with what is rapidy becoming one of my favorite tracks by them and certainly my favorite off their new album The Big To-Do, "The Fourth Night Of My Drinking". From there it was pretty much a non-stop barrage of amazing songs: "3 Dimes Down", "Drag The Lake Charlie", "Birthday Boy", "Girls Who Smoke", "Daddy Needs A Drink", "Women Without Whiskey", "Feb. 14", "Santa Fe" and "Love Like This" until they took a breather to invite Patterson Hood's father David out to play bass on a rendition of "Respect Yourself". They followed that with a new song I didn't catch the name of, but according to the show archive on respected DBT fan site threedimesdown, it is called "Ray's Automatic Weapon". Definitely good stuff. I'll spare reciting you the entirety of the rest of the set list, but the songs played prior to the encore included gems like "Sink Hole", "After The Scene Dies" and "Shut Up And Get On The Plane". Once the band walked off for a breather before the encore, the crowd on the floor had all wandered towards the stage. The show wasn't sold out, so there was plenty of room for everyone and security was either too intimidated or simply didn't care to make anyone go back to their seats (the venue "security" was mostly older people in Tarrytown Music Hall t-shirts and not your typical bouncer types). I was able to find myself a nice spot on far stage right with plenty of elbow room. All I have to say is Thank God I had earplugs in because DBT was cranking at full volume. "Let There Be Rock" into a scorching cover of Neil Young's "Rockin' In The Free World" closed out the set and and while the crowd screamed for more, that was to be all for the evening.
I was able to get better pictures with my camera phone than I normally do that evening, but they still aren't particularly great. They are below if you'd care to check them out.