Friday 11 August 2017

On Stage: The Afghan Whigs @ Paradiso

It isn't always a good thing that bands reform after quitting years before that. The musicians have grown older and the old chemistry simply isn't there any more. Times have changed and whatever made the band once relevant has faded, leaving nothing but a trace of what once has been. But since The Afghan Whigs reformed some years ago, they delivered two very good albums and it seems their live shows are definitely worth it as well.

The Afghan Whigs at Paradiso Amsterdam, August 9 2017

In the nineties the band around the illustrious front man Greg Dulli, left quite an impression especially with the albums Gentlemen and Black Love. They could rely on a strong live reputation that resulted in a group of loyal fans. By now they have an impressive catalogue to choose from and this promises to be a good night.

Dulli walks on the stage and starts 'Birdland' all by himself before the rest of the band joins him. His voice is impressive and hasn't lost any strength over the years. Ed Harcourt, who also is the support act on this tour, joins them as an extra guitar player. Guitarist Dave Rosser who played with them since their reunion, sadly passed away earlier this year. The band salutes him later on and dedicates Pleasure Club's 'You Want Love' to him.

The group plays a very strong show and restrains itself from being a crowd pleaser by simply playing their biggest hits. Instead a lot of songs from the last two albums make it onto the set list, emphasizing that the band likes to look forward. The songs are versatile with strings arrangements added to some of them where others lean heavy on guitars. Sometimes four guitars can be seen, but the band knows how to balance this very well without creating a big blur of guitar sound.

It is clear this group knows how to write good songs with rich arrangements and also how to bring them live. In the beginning the sound mix isn't great but after a few songs everything sounds amazing. The band hardly takes any breaks between songs keeping the show running very smoothly. Dulli is addressing the crowd now and then and it looks like he's enjoying himself a lot. He throws in a snippet of The Doors' 'LA Woman' at one point and ends 'Lost In The Woods' with The Beatles' 'Penny Lane'.

The band leaves us after a five song encore that includes the Bonnie Raitt cover 'I Can't Make You Love Me' and ends with the fan favourite 'Faded'. Some fans can't get enough and scream for another encore, especially to hear their big hit 'Gentlemen', but the show has ended. That is fine really and The Afghan Whigs proves it is possible to stay relevant even after reuniting, by living in the present and not the past.

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All Pictures

01. Birdland
02. Arabian Heights
03. Matamoros
04. Fountain and Fairfax
05. Light as a Feather
06. You Want Love (Pleasure Club cover)
07. Honky's Ladder
08. Oriole
09. Toy Automatic
10. Can Rova
11. Algiers
12. Going to Town
13. Demon in Profile
14. It Kills
15. John the Baptist
16. Somethin' Hot
17. Into the Floor
18. Son of the South
19. Lost in the Woods
20. Parked Outside
21. Royal Cream
22. Summer's Kiss
23. I Can't Make You Love Me (Bonnie Raitt cover)
24. Faded

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