Son Volt: The Pageant, St. Louis, MO 4/21/07

Early on in Son Volt’s performance at The Pageant, a few things stood out that this was not going to be your run-of-the-mill Jay Farrar and Co. experience.  For starters, the usually silent Farrar was talkative, explaining that this was a “homecoming” for him and thanking the packed house for making the trip.  Those in attendance were treated to mainly the “new” Son Volt catalogue, with Farrar and his band mates mostly ripping through tunes from The Search and Okemah and the Melody of Riot.  Farrar, for the most part of the night, seemed happy delivering his new material to an alert and loyal fan base. No performances of “Caryatid Easy,” “Route,” “Back Into Your World,” “Straightface,” etc…the new material was enough to silence requests for more older material.

The other early thundering development came from new Son Volt touring member Chris Masterson and his guitar. Masterson, who recently replaced Brad Rice, is no stranger to many, having toured in the past with Jack Ingram and Bobby Bare Jr. Perhaps looking too comfortable next to Farrar, Matserson didn’t back down on songs like “Circadian Rhythm,” “The Search,” and “Jet Pilot,” tunes that he’s only been playing for a few months but has already mastered (pardon the pun) in a way that makes you wonder about his future in the long-term.  A taste this good of what Masterson can bring to Farrar’s new found rock energy cannot go unnoticed; my guess is that if Masterson wants in for the next album/tour/whatever, it will be his to take.  Perhaps that’s wishful thinking, but Son Volt hasn’t rocked this loud in years, and it would be a shame to see its lineup change yet again, without the complementary energy that Masterson has brought to the table. 

What is certain is that the keyboard influence of Derry deBorja will be around, and it’s also for the better for the songs Farrar is now writing.  deBorja gives a tune like “Underground Dream” a new dimension, one that differs from the past Son Volt lineup that leaned heavily on steel guitar and the talents of the Boquist brothers.  I’d hate to suggest that deBorja has replaced Dave or Jim Boquist, but he’s a welcome addition and another example of Farrar’s ability to move on and be the steady captain of something that might keep changing, but perhaps now a project that has finally settled in to what will always be a rocking good time.

Set List:
Satellite, Who, The Search, Circadian Rhythm , The Picture, Underground Dream, Beacon Soul, Highways and Cigarettes, Jet Pilot, Automatic Society, Exurbia, Methamphetamine, Damn Shame, Voodoo Candle, Medication, Medicine Hat
Tear Stained Eye, Action, Bandages and Scars, Drown, Afterglow 61

2000 Light Years From Home, Windfall, Life Worth Livin’, Chickamauga

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