(BTW, this is not officially Darkness-sanctioned! – Laurie)
Day 1 – Nashville, Tennessee, May 22
“Long-distance information , get me Nashville, Tennessee…” – Yup this is Music City, indeed! I have flown into town after a weekend in El Paso, TX and am ready to get my Darkness groove on. My friends Dre and Becca arrive at my hotel to get me for the road trip, and soon we’re off on a venue-finding mission and then off to our friend Patti’s house.
The gig is at an old auto manufacturing plant, hence the name Marathon Motor Works. We’ve taken quite a long time to socialize/have dinner/get ready, so we arrive while opening band Black Box Revelation is on. This is a two-man band from Brussels consisting of a singer/guitarist and drummer, and they are not Foxy Shazam, but they will do. Their songs are very White Stripes meet Led Zeppelin. My friend Leslie and her bestie Phil arrive late as well, and soon we are parked second row ready for THE DARKNESS!
I’m sorry, Nashville, but part of the crowd seemed like they were too cool for school. Even Justin had to coax them to make some noise by saying Dan wouldn’t play a note until they did, and the only time everyone seemed to let loose was for IBIATCL and the encore, which has been revised to Hazel Eyes and LOTR. But for us hardcore fans, this was a stellar show from the boys! They include a new song called “With A Woman,” and other set list changes were dropping Can’t Believe It’s Not Love/Out of This World, She’s Jut A Girl Eddie, Physical Sex and Bareback, and adding Every Inch of You and Everybody Have A Good Time. Justin’s dive into the crowd and crowd surfing prompted him to announce that someone had grabbed his testicles and any misshapen children would be named “Nash” (and Leslie, Dre and I happen to know the culprit! Hahaha!) Justin and Frankie also drop on bended knee to Dan as he plays on the riser at the end of Hazel Eyes, and that was new and fun to watch!
I know some really devoted TD fans who waited years for The Darkness to return to Nashville (Leslie, Tyler!) and they were not disappointed. I’m really happy that they got to meet the band afterwards. YAY! Frankie informs us that the band will be doing a photo shoot for Q magazine in New Orleans’ French Quarter, so be on the lookout for that, kids! Now it’s time to get back to Patti’s and wake up early for our drive to New Orleans.
Day 2 – New Orleans, Louisiana, May 23
Urgh. It’s raining as soon as we get outside of town, but luckily it all clears up by the time we get to the venue, which is the House of Blues. Dre, Becca and I meet up with Dori, Sam and Missy, and then it’s time to RAWK!!
It’s a no-brainer that New Orleans knows how to party, so the vibe is immediately electric and the band is awash in adoration from the get-go. The whole band seems to respond in kind and are just what can only be described as “on fire!” J I think this is one of my favorite gigs on both U.S. Tours this year. Justin opts not to crowd-dive this gig, but after his walkabout he decides to pose directly on the barrier and have fans help hold him steady during the sing-alongs on LOTR. Let’s just say some fans got a glimpse of him up close and personal!
We have a day off the next day, and enjoy the sounds and sights of New Orleans. We make a side stop at the Royal Orleans hotel, which Led Zep once wrote a song about on the album “Presence.” That was way cool and one of the workers there let us go to the rooftop pool and observation deck to check the city out. What service! Then it was time to hit the road once again. Quite disappointingly, the only alligators we saw were in the gator bites we had at a restaurant on Bourbon Street!
Day 3 – Austin, Texas, May 25
Why hello there, Texas! Austin also has a reputation for being a party city (this seems to be a trend!) AND it has a big music scene as well. The gig tonight is at a place called Stubb’s, which is a BBQ restaurant with an outdoor amphitheatre. We’ve not booked a hotel yet, so it’s straight to Stubb’s for some BBQ and drinks and waiting and waiting.
The radio station sponsoring the gig is having a meet and greet and three of our new friends are picked to go, and one of them wins a signed Epiphone guitar! Sweet! I also learn that Justin had asked the meet & greeters that if he climbed on the balcony, would they catch him if he jumped? I say I can totally see him doing that. We’ll see….
We and all of our new friends all score a place along the barrier, so we’re all happy. It’s hot and there is no breeze at all but that’s part of the fun. The opening band is an all-girl band called Girl In A Coma and they’re a pretty decent punk-ish band, but everybody wants THE DARKNESS! If I thought New Orleans was electric, Austin had them beat by a country mile. At least 15 people got thrown out for crowd surfing, and there was lots and lots of pogo jumping, and what can I say but it was a hell of a set!
The boys were dripping with sweat by the end of the first song, but it was oh-so-fun! Every Inch of You has become a fun song to rock to and scream “Suck my cock!” along with Justin. Concrete is easily my new favorite, though. There’s just something about that song performed live and in your face and makes me want to bang my head. There was a touching tribute to a friend of the band’s named Fred before LOTR, and Justin has since Tweeted asking if anyone has video of this tribute to let them know. I didn’t have video as my phone died, sorry lads! And Justin DID climb onto the balcony and dived into the crowd…not surfacing for long enough for one to think “Oh geez, I hope he’s okay!” before merrily popping up onto the crowd and crowd-surfing to the stage. Thank GOD!
Not only was it an awesome way to end my part of the tour (Dre and Becca went on to Dallas), but I also got to see THEE one and only Rock Blonde AKA Angie, and her new husband Bill. We’ve always known that Angie was spiritually Texan anyway, and it was great to see her so happy in her new home state of Texas, ya’ll! I’m also really happy that she and Bill ran into Justin outside of Stubb’s and they got to say hello to the lads, minus Ed J
I was supposed to have gone on to Rocklahoma and Dallas, but duty called and I had to return home. And just so you know, guys, my friends and I are NOT the only U.S. fans who hit more than one gig. There were quite a few people met on this tour who went to as many shows as they possibly could in February and May, and that speaks volumes to the dedication of fans who have waited 8 years to see you perform in our country again. Thank you, The Darkness, for returning once again to the good ol’ USA and we hope to see you again soon!