For the second (10pm) set by Rhett Miller at McCabe’s in Santa Monica, CA on November 20, 2015, the mood was more loose and relaxed. The audience was a little smaller than the earlier sold out show, but clearly made up of dedicated fans. Rhett had changed into a fresh shirt and was just as eager and enthusiastic in his playing as he had been during the earlier set. Because he is so dynamic and powerful in his performance, his voice did sound rougher by the end of the night, but clearly he was having a good time.
Rhett made a set list, but it was more like a suggested list as he varied from it throughout the night, including playing some requests. This was such a treat as he played a bunch of songs I hadn’t previously heard live from Rhett or his band, Old 97’s. Check out the photo of his set list next to the actually list of songs he played. I have also indicated which albums the songs are from; solo albums are marked with an asterisk.
- “Doreen,” Hitchhike to Rhome, Wreck Your Life
- “What We Talk About,” Fight Songs
- “King of All the World,” Satellite Rides
- “Singular Girl,” The Believer*
- “Wheels Off,” Most Messed Up
- “Fair Enough,” The Traveler*
- “Streets of Where I’m From,” Too Far to Care
- “Lonely Holiday,” Fight Songs
- “Bel Air,” Wreck Your Life
- “Give It Time,” Most Messed Up
- “Big Brown Eyes,” Too Far to Care, Wreck Your Life
- “A State of Texas,” The Grand Theatre Volume One
- “Wish the Worst,” Hitchhike to Rhome
- “Longer Than You’ve Been Alive,” Most Messed Up
- “Most in the Summertime,” The Traveler*
- “Rollerskate Skinny,” Satellite Rides
- “The Other Shoe,” Wreck Your Life
- “Dance With Me,” Blame It On Gravity
- “Indefinitely,” Fight Songs
- “Wave of Mutilation” (Pixies cover)/”I Wanna Be Sedated” (The Ramones cover), The Interpreter*
- “Hover,” The Instigator*
- “Perfume,” The Grand Theatre Vol. 2
- “Barrier Reef,” Too Far to Care
- “Most Messed Up,” Most Messed Up
- “Let’s Get Drunk & Get It On,” Most Messed Up
- “Timebomb,” Too Far to Care
I’ve compiled a YouTube playlist of all the songs from the set from all the videos I linked in the above list. Check it out under Rhett Miller Set List 2 Nov 20 2015.
A few notes now on what Rhett decided to chat to the audience about between some of the songs. He played through the first four songs before stopping to talk to the audience by introducing “Wheels Off.” He explained that he had been playing a series of shows at Largo under this title and so he decided to write “a theme song for his Largo show.” Admittedly the lyrics are embellished to reflect a livin’ larger than life kind of dude, though I have seen Rhett drinking Jameson on the Largo stage (“pour me some Jameson, give me some rocks”).
Prior to playing “Lonely Holiday,” he told a long detailed story about living in a house in Bel Air — a cottage on stilts. He talked about watching the lizards in Benedict Canyon. He later learned that Jim Morrison had lived in that house for a short time and that perhaps Jim had watched the ancestors of these same lizards and been inspired to write, “I am the lizard king, I can do anything.” Rhett continued on about living in the house with a few interesting characters. One was a young woman who picked up a well-known (married) NFL player (I’ll keep his name confidential) at a club and brought him back to the house. Rhett couldn’t believe that he had unknowingly been sleeping down the hall from this person. He mentioned that “Lonely Holiday” was a request he had received earlier and that this song was inspired by the time he spent living at this house.
He next paused from playing to introduce”A State of Texas.” He explained how he gives Old 97’s first dibs on songs he writes. When he brought them this one, which sounds like a travel brochure for Texas, it did not impress, arguably the most stereotypical Texan of them all, guitarist Ken Bethea. Ken felt that it was too “on point,” too “on the nose.” Of course, who was pleased as punch when the University of Texas Longhorns began to use this song?
Rhett blasted through a bunch of songs before stopping and asking for requests from the floor. One gentleman shouted out “Hover” and Rhett played it, and though he said it had been a while, he made his way through it just fine. He got another request from a longtime fan for “Perfume,” which was great to be able to hear live. He then pushed his way through the final five songs. He seemed to enjoy playing so much that evening that perhaps he might have wanted to “do it all night long” (a line from “Let’s Get Drunk & Get It On” that I’ve borrowed for the title of this post), but he closed off the set with Timebomb and we all knew he was done, no returning for an encore. After all, he did have another show to play the following evening back in Texas. Those of us who stayed for the whole night at McCabe’s got such a treat — 49 songs in one evening (50 if you count “Wave of Mutilation” and “I Wanna Be Sedated” as two songs, though he plays them as a back-to-back medley)! Amazing! Thank you Rhett for the energetic and entertaining night of music.