The 97’s have wrapped up their touring for 2015.
I know, HOW CAN THIS BE, RIGHT??!? No New Year’s Eve show?!? No Christmas run in Dallas?!? Ken has hinted there might be a small show near Tyler, but other than that, NADA until Todos Santos, Mexico in January
Commence post-tour depression.
It’s been a fantastic run through the midwest and east coast. I can personally attest to the epic face-melting, Rock God performances in DC, Philly and Cleveland.

King of all of his World. Pre-Time Bomb jump exhuberance courtesy of Vivian Wang

Long-time fan and concert photographer extraordinaire, Vivian Wang shares her thoughts about the DC show here.

Rhett enjoying himself on the 9:30 stage. Courtesy of Vivian Want



Murry at 9:30 Club courtesy of Vivian Wang



another gravity-defying rock jump. courtesy of Vivian Wang

Not being hip-swivel deep in support of any particular album, the setlists have been a satisfying cross-catalogue assortment of old (Jagged, Valentine, Barrier) and new (Give it Time, Nashville, Guadalajara) favorites with a handful of rarities like Old Familiar Steam, Going Going Gone, and a very spirited Bel Air (YESSS!!) as a nod to their former label, Bloodshot Records’ 20th anniversary.

The unmitigated joy of being a rock star. courtesy of Kristie Gripp



Murry doing his thing. courtesy of Kristie Gripp



Whistling Boy courtesy of Kristie Gripp



The Tele Master courtesy of Kristie Gripp




He’s dressed all in… green. courtesy of Kristie Gripp

In addition to the above, the band busted out Rhett’s ode to author Raymond Carver, the rumba rocker What We Talk About on the later part of the tour. What a special treat! The song was first featured at the soundcheck in Cleveland before being included on the show’s setlist. Fantastic!!
Speaking of sound checks, Ken jumped on Periscope, Twitter’s live streaming app. Through Periscope, Ken gave followers a glimpse backstage during soundcheck. He took requests from fans, some of which made their way on to the night’s setlist like Am I Too Late. Sometimes he gave tours of the venue, the city and pulled the curtain back on bus life with a bunch of dudes. Make sure you download Periscope so you don’t miss any of the fun when touring starts again. The videos on Periscope are only available for 24 hours, so set up your alerts!

Soundcheck via Periscope



The requests poured in. Ivy won this draw.



Ken does make it look easy.

And lastly, one of the high points for all involved, especially the 97′s, was when legendary Cheap Trick dummer, Bun E. Carlos joined the guys on stage at the Majestic Theater in Madison, Wisconsin to put his personal stamp on a rowdy cover of Southern Girls. Philip may have to retire his kit now.
Bun E. Carlos on Philip's kit!!

Bun E. Carlos on Philip’s kit!!

Philip with Bun E. Carlos

Philip with Bun E. Carlos


impromptu jump during Southern Girls with Bun E. Carlos on the kit! courtesy of Kristie Gripp

Before embarking on the fall tour, Rhett spoke to Jonathan Dick at Brooklyn Vegan about longevity, technology and songwriting here.
Here’s a fun, informative interview with Jessie Opoien of the Capital Times in Madison with the frontman of our favorite “big, dumb rock band”.
Review, setlist and photos from Thalia Hall in Chicago here.
Rhett performed a five-song set at for the Isthmus Sessions in Madison, Wisconsin prior to the show.
And finally, our friends at Paste Magazine took on the daunting task of choosing 12 best Old 97′s songs. With such a vast oeuvre of incredible songs, who can possibly whittle it down to a mere dozen. It’s a fine list, but no Jagged? No St. Ignatius? No BEL AIR?!? Really? Check it out and let us know which other ones are on your How-Could-He-Leave-Out-This-Song list.
That’s it for now. Keep checking the tour dates for any additional gigs before January. In the meantime, you can catch Rhett play a number of solo shows between now and the end of the year, including Live at Daryl’s House in Pawling, NY; Christmas Extravaganza Trifecta at City Winery, NY, Chicago and Nashville; and the annual CF benefit concert held this year at a new venue, Gas Monkey Bar and Grill.
Hey, and just for grins here’s a Magnet Magazine Classic of Old 97’s circa: Too Far To Care.
But wait, there’s more! Anyone who has had the pleasure to speak with Ken, knows he is a superb storyteller. Recently he was one of the featured storytellers at Oral Fixation in which he tells of his journey from office grunt to rockstar.
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***Many thanks to Kristie Gripp and Vivian Wang for the use of their photos. View all of Kristie’s Old 97’s photos on her flickr page.