Friday, November 07, 2008

Steve Earle at the Forum

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Steve Earle - The Forum - 6 November 2008

Steve Earle gave generously of his time last night in a great show at the Forum Theatre in Melbourne city.

Performing solo for the most part, Steve ran through a fine selection of his back catalogue which included several of my personal favourites - Goodbye and Ellis Unit One, a powerful and affecting anti death penalty song, to name a few.

Interestingly enough, there were no songs from his two "protest" albums Jerusalem and The Revolution Starts Now. Steve and wife Allison Moorer both expressed their delight at the result of the American election, so perhaps Steve feels it is time to lay his hammer down, though we were encouraged to sing our hearts out when he sang his Pete Seeger tribute song, Steve's Hammer.

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Allison performed a short set to open the evening's entertainment. Unfortunately I missed half of it, being obliged to hang around outside waiting for a friend to turn up in order to give her a ticket. Allison mostly sang cover songs which included Patti Smith's Dancing Barefoot. She also contributed to Steve's act, performing the duet Days Aren't Long Enough with him, and providing backing vocals on several songs from the Washington Square Serenade album. Songs from this album formed the bulk of the second half of Steve's set, often accompanied by a sound effects/disc jockey guy at a sound desk in the background. I thought it worked quite well adding depth to the sound, though Steve's solo accompaniment was anything but subdued.

Steve revealed that he was working on a new album, a tribute to his old friend and mentor Townes Van Zandt. The record will consist of all TVZ songs, and he sang a very good version of Pancho & Lefty during the encore as an example.

An excellent show all round and I was thankful that for once I could see Steve Earle in a seated venue, up close.

The set list for those interested is below

  1. Steve's Last Ramble
  2. Devil's Right Hand
  3. My Old Friend The Blues
  4. Some Day
  5. Taney Town
  6. Goodbye
  7. Tom Ames' Prayer
  8. South Nashville Blues
  9. Ellis Unit One
  10. Tennessee Blues
  11. Jericho Road
  12. CCKMP
  13. Transcendental Blues
  14. Sparkle And Shine
  15. Days Aren't Long Enough
  16. Down Here Below
  17. City of Immigrants
  18. Oxycontin Blues
  19. Galway Girl
  20. Steve's Hammer
  21. Satellite Radio
  22. Way Down In The Hole


  1. Guitar Town
  2. Pancho & Lefty
  3. Copperhead Road


Clare Dudman said...

Did you take those photos, Anne? They're really good - I particularly like the movement in Steve Earle's guitar. The rest is so sharp - really adds to the effect.

Anne S said...

I did indeed take the photos. I was quite pleased with the black & white ones. I have another rather terrific shot of Steve in another inadvertently well composed stance.

I was only four rows from the front, so was able to get pretty good photos. I use the continuous shooting function on the camera which often yields good action shots, amid the out of focus ones.

My camera, despite the fact it is a small compact 4 megapixel machine, takes great indoor shots without using the flash.

Ann O'Dyne said...

what a great set-list when you can throw in 'Guitar Town' and 'Copperhead Road' as encores!

The jail time aged him faster I think.
Is he still lining-up his 50 guitars on stage-left?

Anne S said...


Thanks for dropping by. I was very flattered by your comment on Sam's blog, quite put me to the blush.

As for Steve aging, it has been quite 12 years or so since he got out of the slammer. He's over 50 now, so I suppose his hard early life is starting to show. He can however still pull the girls, as witnessed by the youth and beauty of the present Mrs Earle.

It was an excellent set and of course the icing on the cake was the encore, including Van Zandt's Pancho & Lefty which to my knowledge he has never covered before.

I heartily recommend you check out Townes Van Zandt (now deceased) as he was the most extraordinary character and a superb songwriter.

There's a great DVD called Heartworn Highways which focuses on the young Steve Earle, Townes and Guy Clark among others, filmed way back in the 1970s.

Forgive me if I am preaching to the converted.

Ann O'Dyne said...

you are.
I do.

George Jones is god and Willie is a holy spirit.

visiting Flop-Eared Mule blogger is usually fun. she's a lovely woman.

Anne S said...

I'm not really into the George Jones/Willie Nelson school of country music. My tastes are more towards the alt country (whatever that means) end of the spectrum. My favourite artist is Ryan Adams.

I regularly visit Flop Eared Mule - agree she's great.

Ann O'Dyne said...

My alt-cerntry cred is AOK.
I saw Steve Earle pre-slammer twice.
In Melbourne and then about 2 weeks later at The Roxy in Hollywood.
and I have known Dave Dawson for decades.
Did you ever listen to High In The Saddle on 3RRR in the 1980's.

Anne S said...

OK - you certainly have the cred. I saw Steve for the first time post slammer. I was a bit out of the roots loop for about a decade.

Ah you know Dave Dawson, as do I.
Saw David at the Steve Earle show. I of course maintain the Nu Country site. Have been involved with Nu Country since its days as an aspirant radio station.

But I have never been a great listener to the radio in recent decades, so never listened to High In the Saddle.

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