Sep 13, 2003
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Live sound by Matthew Kettle
Mixed and mastered by Bill Skibbe, Third Man Mastering
The return from the finger injury. While a shorter set overall (about 1 hour and 13 minutes from start to finish), there is excellent enthusiasm here, and even a few debuts as well. This is the first show to feature the "That's what I'm gonna do" adlib in "Seven Nation Army", the first to feature a quote from the song Evil by Howlin Wolf, and the first to feature a cover of "Man" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who would be joining the tour a few days later in Seattle on 9/16. This show also features an a acapella performance of the song "I Got Stripes" by Johnny Cash, who had passed away the day before, as the lead-in to "Death Letter." While it had only been 9 weeks since Jack's finger was broken, the only real sign of the injury here is the abrupt aborting of "Offend In Every Way", which itself isn't all that unusual, as they were known to jump from one song to another all the time. While there's no reason given for the pivot away from the song here, a week later in Las Vegas on 9/20 Jack would again abort the song, revealing the inability to play the D minor chord as the reason. This would also explain why "Jolene" (which also relies on D minor) would be absent for most of the September tour, not returning to the set until San Diego on 9/25. As the setlists would show, the September leg would be a progressive return to the stage, with each performance getting additional songs from the earlier Elephant live set added back in.
Having been off the road for 2 months, if there is any rustiness here it's mainly heard in some of the missed lyrics throughout the set, as opposed to anything instrumental or anything in the vocals. Jack hits all the right notes here, just misses a lyric here and there and adlibs through it where needed. The pivot away from "Offend In Every Way" results in a similarly abbreviated quote from "Isis", which stops after a few rushed/hybrid verses, including the rarely performed verse 7 ("Pyramids embedded in ice"). In the encores, Jack starts "Truth Doesn't Make a Noise" on the keyboards, similar to the versions from Pomona/Chicago/Detroit Jun-Aug 2002, where he starts on the Rhodes and goes to the guitar midway through. Here, he does a verse, but then goes silent while he continues on the keys before finding his way back into the next verse. But while the finger may have been injured and some of the lyrics missed, his vocals and the energy are in great form here. A highlight at this show is the run starting with "Cannon", which goes through the usual "John the Revelator" interlude and ends on the familiar last line of “Evil!” before going into an unheard riff where he debuts lines from the song Evil by Howlin Wolf. So, the word "Evil!" sets up the song "Evil." Nice. This then segues into "Cool Drink Of Water Blues" (another Howlin' Wolf quote) and transitions seamlessly into an excellent "Ball and Biscuit", which features soloing played as effortlessly as any version you'd have heard pre-injury. A few songs later and that "Offend"/"Isis" attempt gets more than made up for by Jack launching into "Let’s Shake Hands", which includes the debut of the YYYs "Man" and a unique version of "Pick a Bale of Cotton", with Jack doing what can be described as a low-end "burp" sound into the mic as a counterpoint on the lines "Me and *burp* pick a bale of cotton", before some nice whammy soloing to close out the song and the main set. The encores kick off with "Seven Nation Army", featuring the first appearance of the "that's what I'm gonna do" adlib. While the band had been off the road, the popularity of the song had of course continued to rise, with the Berkeley crowd heard going nuts in the background the moment the first note is played. While "Little Room"/"Union Forever" are a familiar duo here - "Little Room" gets a heavy delivery here and "Union" gets a clean intro - a flip-flop of the way the songs were usually paired up, with "Little Room" typically serving as the quieter set up for a bombastic entrance into "Union." And "Truth Doesn't Make a Noise" is a nice addition to the set, even with the missed lyrics, being the first performance since 2002. All tied up with a sincere shoutout to San Francisco as "the first city to like us" setting up "Boll Weevil" to close out the show.
A great start to the September leg, likely played short to make sure they didn't overdo it on the first night back. Even though the finger may have still been injured, the vocals and energy were in great shape, and the band would be quick to ramp back up.
Hotel Yorba, I Think I Smell a Rat, Screwdriver, Love Sick, I Fought Piranhas, Astro, Jack the Ripper, I’m Finding It Harder To Be A Gentleman, St James Infirmary, Lord Send Me An Angel, and Hello Operator would all return to the set for the next performance on 9/15 in Vancouver.
Little Bird, Let’s Build a Home, Goin’ Back to Memphis, Fell In Love With a Girl, Lafayette Blues, and Sugar Never Tasted So Good would be added at Seattle 9/16.
Wasting My Time, Look Me Over Closely, Take A Whiff On Me and Small Faces would signal the "return to normal" at Portland 9/17,
along with Motherless Children at Denver 9/19, setting up the Las Vegas and Los Angeles shows.
The return of Jolene and Same Boy You’ve Always Known at San Diego on 9/25 would complete the recovery, and with a closeout show in Mesa on 9/26, they'd be off to New Zealand and Australia, where the setlists would be taken a few steps further.
Setlist at Greek Theatre, Berkeley, CA on Sep 13, 2003
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