HomeNewsInterviewsCD ReleasesCD ReviewsConcertsArtistsArchive

Isbell fills show with highlight after highlight

The Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, July 14, 2023

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Only three songs in, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit tore into "King of Oklahoma," a gripping song about opioid addiction taken from his recent (and best) album, "Weathervanes. On the record, it's a fantastic – though sad – song. However, on this live rendition, Isbell inserted a long, emotional, thrilling electric guitar solo into its mix that transformed this standout track into a special powerhouse performance. It was the most memorable highlight in a highlight-filled concert.

Most acts, when touring to support a new album, play a few key cuts of the latest record and then fill out their sets with hits and other favorites. Isbell, though, performed nearly the whole new album. His album is so amazingly good however, the audience must have still been fully satisfied with his song choices tonight.

One wonders what Isbell will do after the next album comes along because stellar songs, like "Death Wish," "Middle of the Morning" and "Save the World" will be awfully difficult to leave off of the se

Isbell is an extremely skilled guitarist, but so is Sadler Vaden, who often instrumentally jousted with Isbe during song solos. Of the few non-album songs played, "Cover Me Up" showcased Isbell's strong, gruff singing voice. He also duetted with wife/fiddler Amanda Shires on "If We Were Vampires," one of the most deadly honest love songs ever written.

Isbell never puts on a bad show, but this one stands out as something truly amazing. It's impossible to find fault with any song or performance the whole night. He may need to start doing shows with two long sets and an intermission, the way jam bands do, just to fit all the good stuff into one night's show.

Deer Tick opened the show with an enjoyable set that featured a rotating cast of lead vocalists. However the best moment arrived when guest vocalist, Ben Vaughn, came on to sing his lovely tune, "Too Sensitive for This World."

With temperatures reaching up into the '90s, it was a pleasure to feel the cool night air of The Greek. The night's soundtrack certainly made this summer night something spectacular.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
AboutCopyrightNewsletterOur sister publication Standard Time
Subscribe to Country Music News Country News   Subscribe to Country Music CD Reviews CD Reviews   Follow us on Twitter  Instagram  Facebook  YouTube