Dixie Dregs–Live at Center Stage

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They’re back.  And thank goodness.  It’s only been since March 6, 2000, so 18 years.  Or… 40 years since this lineup that made their first recording in 1977, Free Fall

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A high school buddy introduced me to the Dregs around 1981.  I hadn’t heard anything like them before or since.   Part country, jazz, fusion, rock, classical – they could play anything they wanted, and they did just that, mixing in the genres from album to album.  You can’t really say too much about Steve Morse, the band’s leader and guitarist.  Despite the bright lights with which he surrounds himself, he’s the calling for the fans.

As might be expected, those fans are young guys, or, well, young enough to have been deprived of living foolishly in the 60’s, though I’m sure there were some of those in the crowd, too.   Music has no age limit.

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It’s hard to pinpoint musical highlights for a show like this.  The songs were well-known, as people don’t just stumble into a Dixie Dregs concert.  It’s all instrumental, with ace musicians at every spot – drums, bass, keyboards, violin, and keyboard.  At times simple, at times complicated, the between song jest of “we can’t agree on what the time signature of this song is” speaks to 1) the sophistication of some of the pieces and 2) to hell with musical expectations.

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Speaking of being unconventional, the Dixie Dregs renamed themselves in the early 80’s as The Dregs as a (failed) gesture to find a mainstream audience, not withstanding a handful of Grammy nominations for Best Instrumental Performance.  That lasted a couple of albums before later regroupings reclaimed the fuller name.  So, it’s of interest, if not admiration, that they raised a middle finger to political correctness and kept the Dixie in their name, given the vitriol of the times.

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The question arises, after such a band layoff, how do the members keep their talents up to the level that we were witnessing?  Answer, they never quit.  For example, this article about Steve Davidowski.

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Or, bassist Andy West, at least a part-time VP for Analytics and Adaptive Learning at Pearson Education.  He kept playing too, with or without this band.

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And, if there was a disappointment, well, there would be two.  One would be that, despite covering everyone’s favorite Dregs songs, they didn’t do a cover version of somebody else’s, something always fun and surprising in past tours.  Second, the Setlist taped to the stage indicated “Gina Lola Breakdown” would be the second song of the encore. which would have been a fun send-off.  But, who’s counting?  Well, dang it.  I did.

Hey, look! Here they are now!



Keep scrolling for the many faces of Steve Morse, plus other photos.
Setlist:
  1. Divided We Stand
  2. Free Fall
  3. Holiday
  4. Assembly Line
  5. Twiggs Approved
  6. Take it Off the Top
  7. What If
  8. Rock ‘n’ Roll Park
  9. Moe Down
  10. Odyssey
Set 2:
  1. Allen’s Violin solo
  2. Northern Lights
  3. Go for Baroque
  4. Country House Shuffle
  5. Day 444
  6. Leprechaun Promenade
  7. Refried Funky Chicken
  8. Wages of Weirdness
  9. The Bash / Drum Solo
  10. Cruise Control
Encore:
Bloodsucking Leeches

Click on any photo for larger views.

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