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Emo's - Austin, TX - January 26, 2000
by thew Matt Wetzler (thew@mocksonkey.com)

It had been a year and some odd 1300 miles since I had last seen the guys perform live (in Chicago). All I knew to expect was a healthy dose of new material from the forthcoming album Spend A Night In A Box and that was about it. What I was not expecting, a mere 24 hours after witnessing a Beck concert that can't really be described as anything more than a great disappointment, was the best concert I have EVER attended.

Okay, you're probably saying "Sure, but maybe this guy has only been to like 10 shows, six of which are Reverend Horton Heat shows." or maybe "Well, of course he's gonna say that, he run's that website after all." I've attended nearly 30 concerts in the last five years ranging from David Bowie (with Nine Inch Nails) to The Eagles to R.E.M. to Soul Coughing to Mike Ness to They Might Be Giants (five times). So needless to say I've had a myriad of concert going experiences, and none prepared me for what I witnessed at Emo's (including the previous five RHH shows I've attended).

I can't remember the exact set list as this was over two weeks ago, but they started out with the familiar duo of Big Sky/Baddest of the Bad. Just the band walking out onto the stage sent the crowd into a wild frenzy. It was quickly evident that Emo's was crowded... and EVERYONE was a RHH fanatic. There were people hanging from the rafters, women dancing on ledges against the wall... sheer madness. And it just got crazier. The band went into One Time For Me followed I believe by Five-O Ford. But the real treat of the night had not even begun. The Rev. introduced the next song as one off of the newly finished CD Spend A Night In A Box, and it was in fact the title track from said album. I instantly took to the song... I was transported back to the concerts I attended back shortly after Liquor in the Front... came out and they played darn near every song off of that album and the two previous ones. I can only describe the sound of the song as if it were a melding of the sound from Smoke'em If You Got'em and Full Custom....

More new songs followed, as well as many songs that I hadn't hear played live for quite some time. So in no particular order, here are the songs that I remember they played with new ones being indicated by a "*".

Girl In Blue*
I Can't Surf
400 Bucks
Nurture My Pig
Wiggle Stick
The Devil's Chasing Me (extended version)
Sleeper Coach Driver*
The Millionaire*
The Bedroom Again*
Psychobilly Freakout
The Jimbo Song
Martini Time
Big Red Rocket of Love (extended version)
Bad Reputation
Bales of Cocaine
Big Little Baby

That's all my memory is allowing me to remember at the moment, but as you'll notice the majority of the material came from the first two albums. And the stuff that didn't came from an extremely solid yet to be released album (hint hint). All I really have left to say is I cannot wait until March when RHH returns to Austin as part of the SXSW music festival, and I suggest if he is playing in a town ANYWHERE within driving distance of your place of residence, I suggest you get your fanny to the show, there is no possible way for you to regret it. Not only did they play great, but they interacted with the crowd a great deal as well... something many performers today could take a hint from.

In closing I would like to mention the opening band Kim Lenz. Not too shabby at all, it was refreshing to see/hear a rockabilly band with a female lead vocalist. I must admit that a lot of their material sounded the same but that is probably largely due to the fact I had never heard them before which made it more difficult to detect subtle differences in songs.

All in all this review really was far wordier than it needed to be and I could have saved us all some time by simply summing up the show in the following three words - "Best Concert Ever!"

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