Thursday, October 4, 2012

More Afghan Whigs

The Afghan Whigs in Toronto, 10/3/12
I can't speak for the guys who go to the shows, but the amazing thing about being a chick at an Afghan Whigs show these days is that you are bound to have at least one moment in which you are absolutely CONVINCED that Greg Dulli is looking right at you. Or singing those smoldering or angry or sad lyrics right at you. Or shaking his quite lovely goods right at you. Or directing some of that classic Dulli banter to you and you alone. Or (heart be still) making YOU one of the "points" in Gentleman.

Set list from Toronto, 10/3/12
Last night I went to my 4th Afghan Whigs show of the year and it did not disappoint. The crowd was hanging on every note from Crime Scene to Faded and although there were, of course, a few crazy drunks and a little friendly jockeying for position, it was the perfect mix of old school fans and AW Live virgins. One of my favorite parts of these shows has become the exchanging of fan stories just before the band takes the stage. It always seems to happen so spontaneously, born out of the unquenchable anticipation we all share. Last night it was a guy who was in high school when AW were first making music together and a woman who had seen them at ATP and gotten a sweet autograph from Greg for her 9-year-old son. And those crazy drunks? Well, they were long time AW fans who had never seen them live and just really, really, really wanted to hear Bulletproof.

But I digress from my initial point of being a chick at an Afghan Whigs show these days. The truth is, for this single mama, there is nothing like the release that comes with dancing my butt off under the smoldering gaze of Mr. Greg Dulli. It's unadulterated fun that leaves me without a voice and, on a really good night, without much ability to stand on my own two feet. Last night, for the 2nd show in a row, I was, without a doubt, one of Greg's "points" in Gentleman (you and you and you...) and I was definitely part of his crowd scan while he was talking about "all the beautiful girls here in Toronto" and how they are just as beautiful as the ones in LA where he lives. He went on to introduce You, My Flower by commenting on how he was sure all these beautiful women had boyfriends and he hoped none of them ever wrote a song like this about us. Anyone who can make me swoon while introducing a song like You, My Flower....well, that's a special kind of gift.

Greg works the crowd during See & Don't See
By that point in the show, I probably could have left happy, but there was still so much more. Greg made his way down off the stage and into the crowd while singing See & Don't See, dancing with whoever was around and, I'm sure, making every woman in the crowd feel like he was looking right at her. After the sweet high of See & Don't See, he once again nailed a cover of Frank Ocean's Love Crimes and the whole band rocked out like I have never seen them before on 66 then Debonair, then Fountain & Fairfax.  By the time Greg relented to the crowd to shout "Fountain & Fairfax", I felt outside myself, knowing the encore we would get if the band felt our energy just half as much as we felt theirs. The band's final three songs, Bulletproof/Summer's Kiss/Faded, have taken on a little bit of church for me over the years, but especially now as they've been doing them on the tour. The lyrics are just amazing and the movement between the songs is masterful. I have never heard a better succession of songs anywhere and performed live, well, there's just nothing like it.

I don't even want to think about how much I will miss these shows when they are over. Perhaps during "church" tomorrow night at Terminal 5, I should start praying for some AW studio time and a new tour. Now, that would be some Christmas gift.
My favorite shot of Greg from Toronto.

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