Old 97’s, New Fans.

December 13, 2010

After nine shows in ten nights, the guys have wrapped up the first leg of their tour. Judging from the setlists and discussions on the Old 97’s forum, they did not disappoint. But maybe we, the faithful fans, are a little biased? For some fresh perspective, I decided to introduce two of my friends, 97’s-virgins, to the band.

I was lucky to go to two shows this week, the first at The Recher Theatre in Towson, MD and then the Saturday night show at the Theatre of Living Arts in Philadelphia, PA. A few days before Towson, I offered a ticket to my friend Danielle. She was not familiar with them, but she thought it would be fun to go anyway.  That was just what this music pusher wanted to hear. The next morning, I made her a copy of “Intro to Old 97’s”, a playlist saved in my music library for emergency rock indoctrinations.

Before the show, Danielle and I met with Rhett, Ken, and some of their friends. Rhett was working on the setlist and debating whether he should cross “Let The Whiskey Take The Reins” off to make room for “Love Is What You Are.” Without the crippling adoration of a long-time fan, Danielle piped up without hesitation to say, “No! I know I just heard your music for the first time two days ago, but that is a really good song.” Yes, it is and thankfully, both songs remained on the list. As beautiful as Love Is What You Are is on the album, hearing it live was captivating and magical.

During the show, I could tell that Danielle took the time to listen to her Intro because she was singing along to some of the choruses and remembered details from the info sheet that I included with the CD. (“This is on Satellite Rides?” “Oh, this is the cat song, right?” ) The music made enough of an impression for her to want to get to know them more and the show sealed the fandom deal. The next day, Danielle posted some Old 97’s songs on her Facebook page to share them with everyone in her virtual world. A new fan was born on December 7th at The Recher Theatre. Danielle was as excited as I was to learn that the guys will return to the area in April with a show at the 9:30 Club.

Four nights after the Towson show, I drove to the ‘burbs of Philly to visit Angie, my high school partner-in-crime. After years of hearing me rave about the band, she finally agreed to see them with me. I mailed her the same Intro mix that I gave to Danielle. It’s almost cute how I thought that a mix CD could have prepared her for the epic event that was the TLA show. Front and center, we were both blown away by the singing, screaming voices of a sold out crowd echoing Rhett’s raspy vocals. After 8 straight gigs and several early morning shows, he was starting to lose his voice, and all of the guys had to have been exhausted by this point, but nothing can stop them from giving their all on the stage. In fact, we were treated to a bonus song in the encore when the Phillyphreaks, as Rhett affectionately named them on Twitter, demanded to hear Wish The Worst. They closed the night with The Rolling Stones’ Rocks Off from their Mimeograph EP, Dance With Me, and of course, Timebomb. It came as no surprise that Angie’s world was rocked by the Old 97’s.

Now that this week has passed, and I have to wait four months for my next Old 97’s fix, I’m happy to know that the community on the forum will tide us all over until that next show. There are some great discussions going on with fun details about everyone’s experiences at the shows. At The Recher Theatre last week, I met MsSemicolon who is not a new fan, but was attending her first Old 97’s show. She wrote a fantastic review on the forum which can be viewed here. Even though I was standing next to her throughout the show, it was very cool to relive the experience of witnessing the band live for the first time.

After a couple of holiday gigs, they’ll hit the road again in January, so get ready left coasters. We cannot wait to hear from all you as the tour rolls on…


  1. What a wonderful post about that compunction we all have to spread the word about the Old 97’s! How could anyone not be converted who is lucky enough to see them live?

    • 12/14/2010
    • Reply

    Loved this Stephanie! I have a playlist made with an explanation sheet that I also share with those who haven’t heard! I don’t know if I have made any total-life converts yet, but I keep trying! How many of us “pushers” are there out there? 😀

      • 12/15/2010
      • Reply

      India and MeanJeen, I am thrilled that they had such a good time. One of them even told me today that her 3 year old son has been singing Barrier Reef – little lady killer in training. It’s good that he has no idea what he’s singing about!

  2. Any chance you want to give a track-list of what your Intro CD is? I’d love to know, I’m kinda new here myself.


      • 12/15/2010
      • Reply

      SNC, sure. When I make an intro CD of any band, I try to put 2-3 songs from an album on any given mix. If they love it, I want them to buy the rest! The playlist that I have saved has more than 3 from each album and then I try to tailor the list to my friend’s musical tastes. Mostly, I put what I think they’re likely to hear at a show. For example, I love Am I Too Late from SR, but have never heard it live so I leave it out of a mix.

      Hitchhike to Rhome – Wish The Worst, 504, Stoned, St. Ignatius

      Wreck Your Life – Doreen, Bel Air, W-I-F-E, Big Brown Eyes

      Too Far To Care – Timebomb, Barrier Reef, W. TX Teardrops, Curtain Calls, Salome, Niteclub

      Satellite Rides – Rollerskate Skinny, Up The Devil’s Pay, Designs On You (always selected), Can’t Get A Line (I leave Question out because that goes on my “Meet Rhett Miller” mix.)

      Fight Songs – Jagged, Lonely Holiday, Murder (Or A Heart Attack), Crash…, Indefinitely

      Drag It Up – Won’t Be Home, In The Satellite Rides A Star, The New Kid, Adelaide

      Blame It On Gravity – My Two Feet, The Fool, Dance With Me, This Beautiful Thing, Here’s To The Halcyon

      For the girls that I went to shows with last week, I gifted The Grand Theatre in it’s entirety because it is brilliant, and I figured they would hear a lot of it on this tour.

      Also, check out Jeff’s post The Art of the Old 97’s mix tape. His mix is succinct and probably less overwhelming than what I just posted. I’m not known for being concise, as evidenced by this post and reply!


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