I’ve probably seen Greg Dulli perform more shows than any other artist in my life. From the Afghan Whigs to the Twilight Singers, Gutter Twins and now solo, it’s been over two decades of amazing live performances. I hold some of the late 90s Whigs shows, the ones that went deep into the night, as some of the best musical experiences I’ve ever enjoyed. So An Evening with Greg Dulli at the First Unitarian Church was going to be interesting.
And interesting it was. Playing a mix from all of his bands, and a strong set of cover songs ranging from Marvin Gaye through Leonard Cohen and David Bowie, Dulli and his foursome kept us guessing what might come next. Playing in simple purple swatches of light in the sanctuary, the sound was strong and somehow the swagger and punch of the music was still out front despite the lack of drums and Dulli only on acoustic guitar. Rick Nelson was excellent on keyboard, violin and cello and Twilight Singer Dave Rosser manned the electric guitar and vocals.
Highlights were plentiful, with the spirited cover of Martina Topley-Bird’s “Too Tough To Die” standing out front for me. With the Whigs’ Black Love celebrating its 20th, “Step Into the Light” and “Summer’s Kiss” held a different weight. “Can Rova,” from their last album Do To The Beast, was sublime and perfect in the silence of the sanctuary. After a three song encore, Dulli came out alone for a final cover of Bowie’s “Modern Love,” adding something to the pop song I’d never felt in the original.
It was a celebration of more than two decades of music from the biggest rock star you’ve probably never heard of, an elemental spirit of rock and roll who has certainly played a strong part in the soundtrack of my life. Derrick C. Brown opened with strong and dark spoken word set. I’ll be checking him out in the future.
If I Were Going
Please Stay (Once You Go Away (Marvin Gaye)
There’s Been An Accident
Step Into The Light
Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair (traditional)
My Funny Valentine (Rodgers & Hart)
She Was Stolen
Paper Thing Hotel (Leonard Cohen)
Too Tough To Die (Martina Topley-Bird)
What Jail Is Like
Candy Cane Crawl
Modern Love (David Bowie)