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Drive-By Truckers Drove Home a Rocking Show Saturday at The Pageant

Drive-By Truckers performing at The Pageant. Photo by Greg Artime.


–by Vicki Lee and Randy Jackson

–photos by Greg Artime


Saturday night’s concert at The Pageant in Saint Louis was American rock band Drive-By Truckers. The show opened with Margo Cilker, a singer with a crystal-clear voice and a down to earth personality, sharing heartfelt tales of love, loss and gratitude. She was backed up ably by John Calvin Abney, a well-established guitarist and harmonica player. Together, they had a full folk/roots sound with their acoustic guitars, harmonica, and vocals combined with sincere, relatable lyrics.

Margo Cilker performing at The Pageant. Photo by Greg Artime.

Margo started the set with “That River” and flowed into “Lowland Trail”. Her songs float easily between a forlorn reminiscence, loneliness and yet, a grateful acceptance of her life and experiences. Margo embraces it all and has no regrets. She points out the double standard of men and women in songs like “Kevin Johnson” and “Brother, Taxman, Preacher” with pointed lyrics.   Margo is a genuine soul sharing her life with us from the stage. She and Abney connected well with their audience who were appreciative and receptive. Her style stands in stark contrast with what was to come later and that turns out to be a good thing. She eased us into the evening with sincerity and talent that will serve her well in the coming years.

Margo Cilker performing at The Pageant. Photo by Greg Artime.

Tonight’s headliner, Drive-By Truckers, were on a mission. They came out rocking hard from the start with four guitars and a drummer throwing everything at us that they had. They had a lot to say and never let up.  DBT said everything that they had to say in their songs, and they presented it all with stunning power and lyrics that never backed away from their clearly defiant message. Stand up to the system and never back down. This attitude in their music reflects both their political views, and in the most recent album, Welcome 2 Club XIII, reflections on the realities of everyday life.

Drive-By Truckers performing at The Pageant. Photo by Greg Artime.

Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood share lead vocal duties. This is a guitar heavy band, which is the perfect sound for the music that they play. There were times when piano and harmonica were introduced, and it fit like a glove. Together, Cooley and Hood are unrelenting and work tightly together, as you would expect of partners who have been closely connected for thirty years.

Drive-By Truckers performing at The Pageant. Photo by Greg Artime.

The other band members, Matt Patton, bass; Brad Morgan, drums; Jay Gonzales, keyboards; usually step back and give them their space but are intertwined and resourceful members that keeps things moving along with the two leaders to provide solid pounding power guitar with lyrics that take you through a world of cynical politics, rebellious fierceness, and an honest love of humanity.

Drive-By Truckers performing at The Pageant. Photo by Greg Artime.

DBT’s intensity and emotion were a dynamic force especially on “Hell No, I Ain’t Happy” and “People Who Died”. This is a difficult band to label. They have a powerful rock and roll presence with a periodic southern influence, and extremely emotional and insightful lyrical compositions with songs like “We Will Never Wake You Up in the Morning” and “The Sands of Iwo Jima” along with a little bit of cow punk thrown in here and there.  They share a powerful message with their fans, and they’re not afraid to battle the forces that be in their own way.

Drive-By Truckers performing at The Pageant. Photo by Greg Artime.

They didn’t spend a lot of time trying to interact with the audience in the traditional rock and roll way, telling tour stories or inviting us to sing, though there were plenty of songs that the audience jumped into and sang. The intensity never let up, and the audience was swaying and fist pumping right along with them for the entire show.  We came away from this performance with a deep respect for their personal convictions, musical genius, and sheer dedication to their craft.


Drive-By Truckers Setlist:

Maria’s Awful Disclosure

The Driver

Every Single Storied Flameout

Lookout Mountain

Where the Devil Don’t Stay

The Sands of Iwo Jima

Women without Whiskey

We Will Never Wake You Up in the Morning

One of These Days

Hell No, I Ain’t Happy

Sign of the Times (Prince)

Gravity’s Gone

The Company I Keep

Birthday Boy

The Righteous Path

A Ghost to Most

Plastic Flowers on the Highway

3 Dimes Down


State Trooper (Bruce Springteen)

Self Destructive Zones

People Who Died (Jim Carroll Band)


Margo Cilker, with John Calvin Abney Setlist:

That River

Lowland Trail

Sound & Fury

Kevin Johnson

Here in Baker

Keep It on a Burner

Brother, Taxman, Preacher

Flood Plain


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