Five Songs U2 Should Bust Out for Leg Five of Vertigo*

October 31, 2006

By Kenneth Maclellan

The recent publication of “U2 by U2” and the imminent release of “U218” show that the band has been revaluating its entire career. The Vertigo tour, similarly, has also had an eye on the past. As well as playing material from “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” and its classics, U2 has also been going through its sonic wardrobe and seeing what still fits. Not since the Lovetown tour of 1989 has the set list been as varied as it has on the Vertigo tour. Every album has been represented. The songs selected for revival have ranged from old singles (“Gloria”) to former live favorites (“The Electric Co”) to deep album cuts (“Zoo Station”) to songs that have never been performed live before (“The First Time”). On the fifth and final leg of the Vertigo tour, at least one of the two new “U218” tracks (“The Saints are Coming” or “Window on the Sky”) should make it into the live set. But can we expect U2 to delve further back into its catalogue? Why not? If the band is prepared to bust out “The Ocean” from 1980’s “Boy,” then anything is possible. Below are five golden oldies that could/should make the cut for the final shows that kick off in Brisbane, Australia on November 7.


If the snippet of “Stories for Boys” during “Vertigo” counts, then “Twilight” is the only song (out of the first seven) off “Boy” not to be played on this tour. Musically, it would fit the early part of the set well. The song is both ominous and punchy, a close cousin of “11 O’clock Tick Tock,” and would surely go over better with general audiences than the pretty but disengaging combo of “An Cat Dubh/Into The Heart.” The lyrics include the lines “In the shadows boy meets man” and “I lost my way,” and while they were initially about the journey from boyhood to adolescence, they’re also in keeping with the tour’s theme: the return to innocence from the ambiguity of adulthood. Just before “Beautiful Day” would be a nice spot for “Twilight.”


Why U2 never play any of the last six songs on “The Joshua Tree” regularly, is a mystery to rival Roswell and the Loch Ness monster. Does the band’s copy of the album only have the first five tracks on it? Was the band warned by leading scientists that exposure to the live version of “Exit” after 1989 may literally blow people’s minds? Who knows. But by far the song most likely to make a debut on the final leg of this tour is “One Tree Hill,” which holds a special connection with New Zealand, one of countries the tour it set to take in. The song takes its title from a volcanic hill in Auckland, a favorite place of U2’s late friend and colleague, Greg Carroll, a likeable Maori who worked with the band in the Eighties. He was tragically killed in a road accident during the making of “The Joshua Tree” and “One Tree Hill” was written as a tribute to him and his memory. A performance of this song in his native country would be especially fitting as this year marks the 20th anniversary of his passing.


One viewing of the “Zoo TV–Live From Sydney” DVD and its hard not to feel a little envious of those in the Southern Hemisphere for having been treated to such live rarities as “Lemon’ and ‘Dirty Day” in 1993. However, spaces in the set had to be freed up in order to incorporate these songs. One of the tracks that made way for them on the Zoomerang leg was “Ultra Violet (Light My Way).” Indeed, this cut from “Achtung Baby” has not seen a set list since. As U2 has been playing a sizeable chunk of its 1991 album on the Vertigo tour, including “Zoo Station” and “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses,” (songs that have also been dormant since Zoo TV) this is an ideal time for an “Ultra Violet” revival. Before the [tour] kicked off March 2005 in San Diego, there were rumors that the song was being considered. It may yet appear. The song would be a perfect replacement for the tired “Mysterious Ways” in the first encore, making for a smoother transition from “The Fly” into “With or Without You.”


Okay, the odds of this track from the Passengers album debuting at one of the remaining shows is as about as slim as that of U2 playing the “October” album in full, on woodwind instruments, dressed as the characters from “South Park.” But there is a reason why this track should be considered for the final leg: Adam Clayton. One of the most pleasing sights of this tour has been the swagger and joy with which U2’s bassist has performed. The static Adam of the past, puffing on a cigarette in the shadow of Larry Mullen Jr.’s drum-kit is gone. Now, with the problems that blighted his life firmly behind him, he is confident and mobile on stage, able to accept and enjoy the adoration he receives as part of the band. So maybe it’s the right time for him to step up to the microphone and deliver his narration from the end of this track? After all, in the past we’ve had Larry singing Irish pub songs and Edge’s karaoke. And where better to show how far Adam has come in recent years, than the very territories where he was at his lowest?


While there have been a number of surprise inclusions on the Vertigo tour, “Kite” has to be one of the most surprising omissions. A powerful anthem from “All That You Can’t Leave Behind,” this song seemed to be set for a long gig-life but for some reason it has disappeared from the live show. Perhaps the band feels that “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” is a direct and natural replacement for it, or that performing both would be too much of an emotional strain for Bono, as both songs dwell on difficult personal subject matter. Then again, it may not. What ever the reason, this final leg of the tour does give “Kite” the chance to fly once more as the Elevation tour did not stop in Australia, New Zealand or Japan, and it would make sense for U2 to include more material from its massively popular 2000 album. Certainly, “Kite” would not sound out of place in the current live set. The song could come directly before “Sometimes…” where it would pack a mighty emotional punch or as a bridge between “All Because Of You” and “40” in the final encore.

The fifth and final leg of U2’s Vertigo tour launches in Brisbane, Australia November 7, and wraps in Honolulu, Hawaii December 9.

Review: The Killers at the Theater at MSG, New York, Oct. 25, 2006*

October 26, 2006

By Carrie Alison, Editor

At least the little girls understand. That’s what I’ve been telling myself lately as I listen to “Sam’s Town,” wondering what happened to the young and exciting band from Sin City that I fell in love with only two short years ago. But what a fast and furious two years it’s been and like all boys, The Killers became men, they tried to live up to all that “Hot Fuss” but ended up taking a detour to “Sam’s Town” instead.

This wasn’t just any detour. It was a more informed, ambitious detour to “Sam’s Town” by way of Asbury Park. You know, The Boss’s Town. Shades of “Born to Run,” and hints of Bono, an admitted major influence to singer Brandon Flowers, are unmistakable here. Flowers is so fervent in his need to entertain, educate and perhaps save us all, that it makes me cringe. He wants it all so badly, you almost want to beg him to remember to drink his milk and take his vitamins, lest he strain himself on all of the overwhelming enthusiasm and desire.

At least Flowers is still humble enough to admit, “…if I only knew the answers, I wouldn’t be bothering you” during “Why Do I Keep Counting?” This show of fallibility is surprising, given his infamous boast to MTV earlier this year that “Sam’s Town” was, “one of the best albums in the past 20 years. There’s nothing that touches this album." Such excessive sentiment is no surprise considering the town whence he came.

As concept albums go, you might as well go big or go home, and while “Sam’s Town” felt like it was just too much too soon for this young band on its sophomore sojourn on wax, the potential for a grand circus of a show was not lost on me. It’s an album of rock songs with big ideas, or rather big rock songs with ideas; thankfully Wednesday night proved to me the latter notion. A detour to “Sam’s Town” was indeed a trip worth taking; even it’s just for a day.

Having seen The Killers twice for their rounds with “Hot Fuss,” I was pleased to see how much thought went into bringing “Sam’s Town” to life on stage. It was straight out of what you would assume a grand show would be like in Tombstone. Complete with theatre curtains, all manner of spotlights and kitschy streamers, this was so much more than just a presentation, this was a band intent on announcing itself as being fully realized and fully alive. The shiny metallic backdrop of “Hot Fuss” is gone, paving the way for the arrival of grown, married men who have done their musical homework.

Strutting out last behind his bandmates, (guitarist Dave Keuning, drummer Ronnie Vanucci and bassist Mark Stoermer) Brandon Flowers, now 25, has become a dandy of a showman, with all the grandiosity of a seasoned professional. His nose high in the air as he surveyed the massive cheering crowd, not with a look of gratitude, but as confirmation that the band has lived up to exactly what he always thought it would.

Opening with “Sam’s Town” proved that Flowers now has full control of his vocals, eschewing the overextension of earlier tours. “Enterlude” although a tad silly on record, became a surprisingly sweet crowd sing-a-long. Hit single “When You Were Young,” a tune I feel is a perfect example of that line The Killers perfectly straddle— mixing Bruce Springsteen and Depeche Mode in tone and topic—was positively incandescent. Who cares what those jaded critics think? It’s the fans that matter, and they love this shimmery ode to adolescent puppy love more than you could imagine.

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The song that exposed The Killers to the world, “Somebody Told Me,” found Flowers gracefully gliding around the stage with the ease of a veteran rocker. You’d never know that this once was a guy who had a modest stage presence and was content to stick to the safety of his keyboard. Touring with U2 and observing Bono every night has paid off; there is no lack of confidence here, just warmth and sincerity and megalomania for days. He’s confrontational now, no longer awkward or too shy to look the audience in the eye.

A decadent “Smile Like You Mean It” gave way to new single “Bones” and its vocal acrobatics, a trademark touch of “Sam’s Town.” While cringe-worthy on record, the booming choral style worked well in concert, without feeling like a hack Queen redux.

“Jenny Was a Friend of Mine” was as stately as it comes, and I couldn’t help but wish that instead of the Wild West vibe of “Sam’s Town,” The Killers had followed the implied murder mystery vibe of this tune. That however would have called for them to delve deeper and deeper into an eyeliner and gothtastic teen spirit, and in light of current flavors My Chemical Romance and 30 Seconds to Mars, they’d only seem like a tasty side dish, instead of a band hell bent on forming its own identity as men with a mission.

If a thumping “Uncle Jonny” was the perfect example of the scope and vision of “Sam’s Town,” a lurching and punchy “Andy, You’re a Star” (a tune that has always felt like a distant cousin of Iggy Pop’s “Nightclubbing” to me) was the undeniable gateway to it. A deep album cut from “Hot Fuss,” “Midnight Show” was fantastically melodramatic leading to a soaring “Mr. Brightside,” a ditty that I contend is one of the best classic pop songs of the last quarter century. If the jumping and ecstatic audience was any indication, they unanimously agreed with me.

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It was, however, the grand finale of “All These Things That I’ve Done,” that sealed the deal for this writer and the exuberant audience. Despite the critique this one takes because of the delicate and revealing refrain “I got soul but I’m not a soldier,” this is a song that lets The Killers shine and run on all cylinders. Arguably a treatise on modern masculinity, the men in the audience were the loudest and most emotional here; arms reaching out, fists pumping, eyes closed as they sang in acknowledgement and acceptance of not being as tough as their steely and distant fathers and grandfathers, but still very much vital men.

“Exitlude” bid us a final farewell as “Sam’s Town” closed up shop for the day. I didn’t think I would say this, given my reaction to its inclusion on the record, but I get it now. When escapism is this delicious, you can’t deny that “outside the sun is shining, seems like heaven ain’t far away.”

For more information on The Killers, visit the official website. Read’s review of “Sam’s Town” here. Carrie Alison can be reached at

A Thank-You Note to Dublin*

October 23, 2006

By Barry Dorsey

This is a thank-you note to Dublin. My Labor Day weekend there rivaled the night I lost my virginity. The twists and turns of four days in your city were born of pure magic.

Everything was last minute: a friend offered me a ticket to see the U2 gig at Slane Castle through Moby; my old boss fronted the flight; my brother and friends loaned money, an international cell phone and lists of places to go. An Irish friend in New York said I could crash at his parents, but it fell through the day before departure. On the plane over, there was a list of hostels in my pocket and a few emergency numbers the Irish community in New York had given me. Without a doubt, I was in a state of euphoria coupled with slight shock.

Friday, 8:30 a.m., my passport received its first stamp. At 32 years old, this was my first time out of the United States. I felt the chilly morning air but had incredible warmth growing inside of me. The guy who works for Moby was staying at the Berkeley Court (five-star hotel). The plan was to get the Berkeley concierge to hold my bag, find and check into a hostel, come back and get my ticket to the show. My expectation was a city of green, not a city of Dutch dressed in orange sweat suits. Between the Holland football match and the U2 show there were no hostels available. One lady laughed at me. Options were limited—if I found a hotel room, the budget would be blown.

I stopped at St. Stephen’s Green, sat on one of the benches and started laughing. This is where I would sleep and it would be just fine because I was in Dublin. At that moment the doors of your city opened up to me. Back at the Berkeley my friend let me take a shower. The conversation danced around my dilemma but in fairness to him he was consumed with preparing for the show and he was the one who got me my ticket.

Simon Ward, a guy I know from New York, had told me to call his brother, Gavin, to go for beers. Gavin asked where I was staying. I told him the park and he said I could crash on his couch. We met for beers; he took me around Dublin, then back to his "gaff" where I quickly passed out.

Saturday morning. Gavin woke me and said that I could ride to the show with him and his sister Rachel. On the bus they told me that they had a connection with U2 and we were all going backstage. Unbelievable. Rachel explained that I would wait while they went inside to get a wristband for me.

We got off the bus when we saw the sign for the VIP parking area. The gardai explained it was a four-mile walk. Rachel approached a car and swung a lift from a footballer from Limerick. After offering him a few pounds, he said, "Put it in a poor box." On the way in, a lady was collecting money to help Recovering Drug Addicts. They got the money.

About a half-hour later they came back out defeated, no sign of their contact. It didn’t matter to me, I was at Slane Castle for U2, life was good. They wouldn’t give up. They both waited with me hoping to see someone they knew. A young lady walked up and said hello to them. Rachel asked if she could help us out with a wristband and the woman told me to put out my hand. I thanked her and the only thing she asked in return was, "Please don’t kill anybody."

Just as we walked through the gates of the VIP area, fireworks went off. Ireland beat Holland. The mood was electric. Beers began to flow as we watched the winning goal on TV.

Here I was in Ireland, standing next to a castle that’s older than any structure in my country, hanging out with strangers who were treating me like family. Ladies and gentlemen, it didn’t seem like it could get any better.

Turns out, the VIP area was not the real backstage area. Regardless, when they took me back, I was in heaven. We sat at a picnic table and shortly after a bevy of gorgeous Irish women sat with us. I dove right in asking if they wanted to hear a good story. The journey was explained and Gavin sat there looking kind of bewildered. Introductions were made and "your one" Alison was very nice. Turned out she had spent two years in Los Angeles and was familiar with New York as well. After she left, Gavin said, "Um, Barry, that was Alison Doody, she is kind of famous in Ireland." Alison came back and introduced me to her husband, Gavin, she had told him my story and he welcomed me to Ireland. I said, "Oh, my friend’s name is Gavin, too." Gavin Ward shook his head and later explained that Alison’s husband was Gavin O’Reilly, CEO of Independent News & Media.

Straight from the park bench, the comedy continued. It was time to share the experience. I called my mother back in Freehold, New Jersey, and put her on the phone with Gavin and Rachel. It was a great moment. I could hear the joy in her voice, as I’m sure she heard it in mine.

Without going into detail about the whole show, there are two moments that must be shared. During "Out of Control" there was an instrumental. Bono started talking about the days when the band first started and they went to play in London. Paraphrasing here, "I want to thank my old man for lending me 500 pounds, I want to thank Larry Mullen’s father for lending him 500 pounds, I want to thank the Edge’s brother and father for …" It shed a tremendous amount of light on the band for me. Here they were playing in front of 80,000 Irish people who loved their music but they had to borrow money at one point in order to do it. Brilliant.

The other was something unexpected. I was aware of the passing of Bono’s father. I have never lost anyone close to me; however, there has been no contact between my Father and myself for the past 10 years. He’s a stranger and my memory of him is tainted with unpleasant thoughts.

During the song "Kite," I cried like a little boy. You could feel the love Bono and his father shared for each other. The tears fell not because of the absence of it in my life but because we were witnessing its existence—love as an absolute truth. He was bold enough to share that with us. Halfway through the song, Rachel reached over and hugged me. She had no idea I was crying. I melted and then felt I’d learned something, had an epiphany of sorts. For the past year, I’d been wrestling with the relationship that has been destroyed with my father and the fact that he had the same tension with his father. Was this my destiny? Were these my roots? Maybe it was the drama of the moment or maybe it was a gift saying you can give this love to a child one day too. I hope for the latter.

Two of Gavin’s friends drove us back to Dublin. We all went to The Clarence for the after party. I was smiling like a kid in a candy store. Bob Geldof, Moby, Bono and an absolutely stunning girl named Deirdre were there. Gavin and Rachel left for home and I stayed on to see what the hand of God was planning for me next. Into the party walked Ali McMordie, my buddy who works for Moby. We hung out for a little while and then he went to Lillie’s. He sent Moby’s car back for me and I arrived at Lillie’s in a Mercedes with Moby’s DJ. They took us up to the VIP room and the Irish Football team was there singing old school Irish songs. Out on Grafton Street, before we entered, I bought a rose from a vendor just in case Deirdre was there. She was upstairs. I gave her the flower and I walked away. I just wanted to make her smile. They must have sung "The Mighty Quinn" three times for some guy named Niall Quinn. People were there from backstage and they all were amazed by what I had just, and continued, to experience.

That night I stayed with Kevin Lynch, a friend from New York. He was at the party and told me it would be cool if I crashed at his parents. No key to his house upon arrival, he had to wake his father, Gus. They made me Irish stew and tea. The next day Gus took me back into town to collect my bag and check into a hostel. He asked if I would like to see where he worked at RTE. It was priceless, pure pride. He had worked there for 30 years and it was part of his fabric. His conversation bordered on the hilarious. He drove me around Dublin for about an hour.

If Dublin, in all its hip glory was a new hot single looping a James Brown track, Gus Lynch was that James Brown track in the form of a limited edition vinyl print. He was what I was hoping to find in Ireland, he was Ireland.

There were a few more episodes that were quite surreal but I think that the aforementioned will suffice. My last night in Ireland, Monday, took me from a benefit at the Voodoo Lounge to Lillie’s VIP room again. There was a band playing and at closing we all went to a party at someone’s house. Then a fella named Ena called a cab to see me off to the airport.

Earlier at Lillie’s he’d listened to the events that transpired over my four days in Dublin. He said something that made me feel like a million bucks. He said, "You’ve come home." I could only be so lucky.

You’re an old soul, Dublin, and your streets are breathing with the life of the young. I can’t wait for the day I get to return. Thank you for the trip of a lifetime, thank you.

Review: Beck at the Theater at MSG, New York, Oct. 18, 2006*

October 19, 2006

By Carrie Alison, Editor

Here’s the 411 on Beck Hansen, King of Wacky Wordplay, these days. His latest release, "The Information," is being hailed as one of his best. It’s playful, unsettling, tense, spacey, 15 songs long and has enough beats and wits to match anything on the charts, and then some. (Though, looking at the Billboard charts, a battle of wits wouldn’t even be a pinkie wrestle challenge for him.) It even came packaged with stickers for you to make the album cover you want.

Recorded at the same time as 2005′s fantastic "Guero," with producer Nigel Godrich of Radiohead fame, Beck certainly has something to say with his new titular, informative works. He’s back to his stream-of-consciousness ramblings ("Elevator Music") that made "Loser" so irresistible. He’s still kooky, still unpredictable, and just so happens to be a grown ass married man of 36 with a two-year-old son.

So what’s he trying to tell us with "The Information"? Perhaps we should sample lyrics from the namesake song: "When the information comes/We’ll know what we’re made from/And the skyline rising/High rise eyes see through you." Sounds a lot like old time chatter of the forthcoming "revolution," no? Beck has always been hard to decipher; always cryptic, always goofy, but then out of nowhere will say something personal, poignant and pointed. 2002′s "Sea Change" was truly (and arguably) the most overtly topical in his catalog of genius. Bad break-ups can do that to you; give you no choice but to lay those cards down for the masses and pray you have the winning hand, or at least something to say. "The Information" however, finds Beck at his murkiest. The beats, samples and strange odysseys of couplets are plentiful, but he seems almost lost in the tide. And then there’s the exhausting 10-minute album-closing opus "The Horrible Fanfare/Landslide/Exoskeleton" sounding like Beck’s own personal "Battlefield Earth," starring ultimate hipsters director Spike Jonze and author Dave Eggers. True, Beck’s a longtime Scientologist but I don’t buy that "The Information" is his pulpit.

Baltimore’s eccentric, booty-shaking kings Spank Rock opened the show, and quickly had the entire general admission floor on its feet grooving to lyrics such as "all you white girls/shake it ‘til/my d*** turn racist." Despite the dirrrty lyrics, Spank Rock was so impressive with its fusion of underground rap and the genre-hopping mastery of Outkast that you just had to dance.

Anyone who has witnessed a Beck concert knows that he’s gonna throwdown. Be it with funky fresh dance moves (dude can do splits!), ace beat boxing, or for mind-blowingly skilled musicianship; you’re in for a treat. Imagine, if you will, then, the shock of the opening song on Wednesday night being mega hit "Loser." But it wasn’t Beck on stage doing it—it was puppets dressed as Beck and his backing band, providing the backdrop, tone and scenery for the evening. Real-time puppets!

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Surprisingly relying on a hit heavy set, Beck seemed to plow through the first offerings, "Loser," "Black Tambourine" and "The New Pollution" quickly, as if doing a medley to get them out of the way. Taking brief respite for a peppy "We Dance Alone" from "The Information," he dove right back into more favorites with an undeniably entertaining "Que’ Onda Guero" off of "Guero," with a bouncy snippet of "Hell Yes."

New melodic jam "Think I’m in Love" followed, feeling so oddly familiar, like a soul cousin of "Girl," which would show up later in the evening. A down tempo but catchy "Elevator Music" came several songs afterward, along with a pretty but middling "Dark Star" featuring Beck on harmonica. "Nausea," also off of "The Information," was fun, but felt too much like a remix or fraternal twin of "Black Tambourine," and a surprisingly deflated but nevertheless entertaining "Where It’s At" revved the crowd up with shout-outs to ’80s designers Sergio Valente, "Jordache turn it up!" and "Ooh la la Sassoon!"

A gorgeous and mournful "Broken Drum" from "Guero" followed; the one song I longed to hear but doubted he’d pull it out. The plaintive ballad "Lost Cause" would find lighters in the air and male concertgoers closing their eyes to sing along in acknowledgement to the painful break-up anthem.

Just as I was starting to write off the dazzling but oddly fatigued show, Beck called out, "Any requests?" and dove right into a beautiful acoustic rendition of the Flaming Lips tune "Do You Realize?" It was such an ace cover, you’d almost forget all about the pink robot battling Yoshimi. Almost.

Then a dinner table of all things, replete with place settings, wine glasses and bowls, made its way to center stage, giving the backing band with seating and, presumably, a break, as the tuxedo-clad Beck provided dream dinner theater. An acoustic country jam of "You’re Running Wild" entertained as the rest of us kept our eyes fixed on that dinner table, wondering what was to come. And at last, with the arrival of show-stopping, extraordinary hoedown jam of "Clap Hands" it was clear—this was no ordinary dinner party. Each item on that dinner table was for musical accompaniment: the bowls, the glasses, the table itself. Everything. Absolute, unrivaled genius. Attention to detail in everything he does is one of a million reasons why I love Beck.

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Now back to those puppets. During the encore break, a brief, rambunctious and hilarious "Puppets Take Manhattan" sketch video provided lots of laughs, leading into a silly "1000 BPM" with bear costumes (frankly, it looked like the annoying "Bear City" bit on "Saturday Night Live") and a hyper show-closing "E-Pro" with arms in the air, and people without a care. Which is just how Beck likes it.

Maybe that’s his message—just have fun with his trippy dance, dance revolution. Because in the end, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it, preferably with two turntables and a microphone.

For more information on Beck, visit his official website. "The Information" was released October 3 on Interscope Records.

Review: Scissor Sisters at City Hall, Nashville, Oct. 17, 2006*

October 18, 2006

By Andy Smith

Taking a simmering and salacious, after-hours gay club vibe to a prime-time alt-rock audience requires work. As in, "Work it, girl." Rather than depend on low-level, prerecorded mix tapes to cast the between-set mood, the Scissor Sisters travel with a DJ. After the opening act Small Sins left the stage by 8:45 pm, Sammy Jo spun to lively up the crowd. As clubby as his cuts and beats could get, the Nashville cuties needed a refresher course in live shows as participatory activities and not mere spectacles.

While the pre-show tension built, other than a few pockets of fabulously frenzied moves, far too many fans stood still for the bumping build-up. But by around 9:30 pm, the Sisters stormed the stage. Then, even the too-cool-for-the-rest-of-us folk were flying hands, flailing arms, freaking hips, and feeling booties to a rousing "Take Your Mama," the perfect opening song.

In contrast to some mixed early verdicts from the rock press, the new songs from "Ta-Dah" fused perfectly with the older tunes from the debut disc in a 15-song set list that freely alternated between both records. Particular show stealers from the new material included "She’s My Man," "Kiss You Off," and "Everybody Wants the Same Thing," the latter being the perfect anthem to unite the truly eclectic and electrified crowd.

If people think that the Sisters’ funkified fusion of sex and dance would only play well in blue states or places like the Bay Area, they should have taken note of the Frankie Goes to Dollywood spin that frontwoman Ana Matronic put on the whole evening. She was downright down-home in a spicy yet maternal sort of way, paying her respects to many Music City divas and more. The old time religion of the goddess Athena, the feisty spirit of dancing revolutionary Goldman, and living legend Dolly Parton were all collectively conjured by the Sisters’ magical matron Matronic.

Warming up to the Nashville crowd by discussing fried chicken, religion, and First Lady Laura Bush’s wardrobe, Matronic said she knew we southerners were "close to heaven." As evidence, she mentioned our 42-foot-marble goddess that graces the recreated Parthenon in Centennial Park.

As logic would have it, such pagan invocations and matriarchal intimations provide the perfect introduction to a song like "Tits on the Radio." Later, she commended those dancing and calmly critiqued those stuffy stiffs who might make the dancers uncomfortable. Channeling Emma Goldman, she quipped (and I’m doing my best to accurately paraphrase here), "When the revolution comes, you better have your dancing shoes on." From that charge, lead singer Jake Shears took over and dedicated "Music Is a Victim" to his dozen or so Radical Faerie friends who had driven an hour to attend the show—they’d come from the gay Mecca Short Mountain (a rural, gay commune that’s been one of Tennessee’s hidden treasures for more than two decades).

This odd marriage has a legendary subculture subtext; it melds hardcore urban glitter with rural hobo glam; it’s also a marriage between the Scissor Sisterhood of fans and the gay nuns from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who were representing in full costume. Finally, then, it’s a marriage of sin and salvation. And "Music is Victim" is the perfect song for this. Shears sings, "Hell if Jesus had the power than so do I/To rise up from the dead and take up to the sky/I’m buskin’ for the money so I get by/If music is the victim then so am I."

By the chilling techno-riffs that ushered in "Comfortably Numb" to the fierce and frankly on-the-floor nasty conclusion of "Filthy Gorgeous," the Sisters proved they could take two albums that are essentially clubby soundtracks and translate these songs into a captivating and intoxicating live set. With Shears, Matronic, and the rest of the band as our personal "classy honey, kissy, huggy, lovey, dovey, ghetto princess," we fans were happy to share the sweaty dance floor for one last round of groping and hoping.

Even as our hosts cleared the club in typical post-show efficiency, the benefit after-party had already begun in an adjacent bar where fans could drink and dance, mingle and meet the band.

How’s that for a Tuesday night in Tennessee?

For more information on the Scissor Sisters, visit the band’s official website. Check out’s review of the recently released "Ta-Dah" here.

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