The first time I saw Steve Earle, was in 1999 when he visited Rockefeller in Oslo with The Del McCoury band. The year after he was the keynote speaker at the SXSW, delivering a strong speech against capital punishment. Later I saw him at Rockefeller again in 2004, and at the Austin City Limits festival in 2005, and then at Bergen Fest in 2013. It is always difficult to point out which one was the best concert, but I might fall down on the Del McCoury concert plus the one last night at Rockefeller.
Steve Earle‘s history as an artist has, to put it middy, been bumpy. He was a rebel with high expectations from his debut in 1986 until he was kicked out of MCA in 1991, reputedly for being too political and too much rock. He was on a downward spiral the first part of the 90’s, with a serious drug habit and a year in prison and rehab, but was back on track around 1995/96. From then his career has had a steady upwards direction. He has chosen to be outspoken about his political beliefs, and has fought a continuing fight against the death penalty since the late 90’s.
Musically Steve Earle delivered some of his best albums in the 80’s, like Guitar Town, from which he played several songs at the concert, and Copperhead Road. He also played songs from his other albums, and started the concert with songs from his latest album, Terraplane.
The support band on this tour, is The Mastersons, a man and wife band, who also play in Steve Earle’s band, The Dukes. Chris Masterson plays guitar, while wife Eleanor Whitman plays violin, guitar and keyboard. They presented a good half hour set, and contributed wwith some great instrumental work at the concert, plus Eleanor Whitman sang a duet with Steve Earle – as she does on Terraplane – on Baby’s Just As Mean As Me.
All photos are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be uswed without written permission.