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Concert Reviews:
Afghan Whigs return at Saint Andrews dulls the pain of Tigers loss

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Thursday, October 25, 2012

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DETROIT -- Afghan Whigs frontman Greg Dulli did the crowd at Saint Andrews Hall a favor on Wednesday night, Oct. 24.

He waited until the very end of the show to offer any news about the Tigers' fate in the first World Series game (though smartphone toting fans certainly knew). "Sorry, San Francisco had its way with (Justin) Verlander," Dulli noted. "But you've got six more games!"

And, truth be told, the Tigers were a secondary concern for anyone who had the good judgment to be in the house on Wednesday for this stop on the Whigs reunion tour.

Dulli and company, who reunited last year after a decade apart, rocked their once regular Detroit stomping ground with relish, cranking through a brawny hour and 45-minute set as if the intervening years had never happened (though the group employed careful backlighting to make any vestiges of aging hard to notice). The Whigs ably straddled the line between the sharp songcraft of the group's recordings and the fury of its live performance legacy, delivering plenty of favorites -- "Crime Scene, Part One," "Gentlemen," "Going to Town," "Fountain and Fairfax," among others -- but particularly delighting with a diverse set of covers, primarily from both the classic and contemporary R&B realms.

The show was only five songs old when the Whigs delivered a garage-ized rendition of the Supremes' "Come See About Me," then appended Drake's "Over My Dead Body" to the Whigs' own "When We Two Parted." A joyful romp through the Emotions' "Best of My Love" preceded "66," and the Mary "Queenie" Lyons' obscurity "See and Don't See," during which Dulli walked through the crowd, led into a pairing of Frank Ocean's "Lovecrimes" and The Weekend's Wicked Games.

The Whigs also slipped a bit of the Supremes' "Where Did Our Love Go" into the first encore, "Bulletproof," and a refrain of Prince's "Purple Rain" into the final song, "Faded."

It made for a memorable night, a satisfying reminder of many a sweaty Whigs show back in the 90s and early 00s -- and certainly an on-the-spot antidote for the Tigers' loss. Here's hoping it won't be another 11 or 12 years before the Whigs make it back this way.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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