8. The tour is called Rock and Roll Means Well
And that is an sweet as hell name, as well as a Drive-By-Truckers lyric. Okay, this one was just kind of a warmup.
7. They are double-headlining on this tour.
That means that they're playing two shows at most venues, and switching off who the headlining band is. On the night we saw, the Truckers played opened, then the Hold Steady headlined. The night before, it was the reverse. This is supa-cool for several reasons--the evenhandedness of it all is really fun, I think--but the best part is that it means that the "opening" band either night is really good and plays for a long time. The Drive-By-Truckers played for about an hour and fifteen minutes! Rock!
6. The show was long
Oh, and speaking of that, after DBT played for 75 minutes, the Hold Steady played for almost two friggin' hours! That was including an encore at the end, where three guys from the Truckers joined the Hold Steady on stage and played with them. But a 75-min opening band and a 120-min headliner? Shit son, we got our money's worth.
5. They played some goofy cover songs
So, during that encore, the bands together played two covers, the Minutemen's "History Lesson, Part II" and the Blue Oyster Cult's "Burnin' for You." Aside from being the goofiest chiocest imaginable (and ergo sweet), the Blue Oyster Cult cover displayed how much DBT lead singer Patterson Hood sounds almost exactly like the dude from the Blue Oyster Cult.
4. They played some obscure songs from their own catalogue
In fact, the Hold Steady played two of the three "bonus tracks" from Separation Sunday, those being "Ask Her For some Adderall" and "Cheyenne Sunrise." IF ONLY they had played the third one, "Two-Handed Handshake," which might be my favorite Hold Steady song. I will not begrudge them not playing it, however.
3. The Drive-By-Truckers played "Wallace"
...which Peter and I were talking about before the show. Actually, we were more talking about the end of the song before on Southern Rock Opera, where George Wallace goes to hell, and how awesome that part is. But that segues into this song, which is one of my favorite DBT songs, and which they said they don't play that frequently, but once George Wallace's grandson got drunk at one of their shows and told them he loved the song. If that's not rock, I don't know what is.
2. They were all really good musicians
I know this is kinda stupid, but since I play bass every once in a while, I always like to pay attention to the bassist at live shows to see if he or she is actually a good bassist or just somebody with charisma along for the ride who is kinda shitty at bass. Because, really, you can get away with having a bassist that's kinda shitty at bass. It doesn't really matter all that much. And I'm not trying to be sexist here, but a lot of bands add a girl bassist because it catches the attention of guys and it's the instrument with the least requirement of skill to be passable at. Well, the Drive-By-Truckers have a girl bassist, but she's a good bassist! And the Hold Steady bassist is good as well. And both lead guitarists were great. May I add, as well, that the Hold Steady bassist and guitarist are probably the two most Minnesotan-looking people I have ever seen in my life, which is probably why I just sometimes shouted Minnesota things in the lulls between songs. Like, "LORING PARK!!!!!!!!!" and "NICOLETT MALL!!!!!"
1. Craig Finn, frontman of the Hold Steady, is ludicrous onstage
My description of him, to Peter, after the show: "He seems like out of a thousand normal dudes he just happened to win the frontman sweepstakes right before the show. And he hasn't taken any frontman classes yet, but he's really into it."
Peter's description of him, to me: "He acts like the audience is comprised of the most indignant people in the world."
Peter's comment was in reference to the fact that Finn would often say a line, then in the guitar-riffin' space before his next line, move away from the mic, repeat the line and make hand gestures to the audience so they really know that he MEANT it when he said that "She slept with so many skaters."
Basically, he ruled. And so did the concert. Peter, feel free to berate me for missing other generally awesome things.