It’s not easy to have an audience these days, so artists have to get creative. Greg Dulli (The Afghan Whigs, The Twilight Singers) did just that. In the two part live stream, Dulli made his own audience with naked mannequins. This could be a homage to Clockwork Orange. Dulli’s live stream aired in two parts on August 1st, both prerecorded at the Gold Diggers in LA. At both shows, Dulli played 18 songs—nine were the same in both shows, while he added nine that were different. It was a sophisticated show, the golden lighting, the instruments in the back and yet it was just Dulli. But what would be a show without a friend? The only other person on stage was Dr. Stephen Patt, known as the rock n roll doctor. Patt played the baritone guitar, pedal steel and bass.
The ticketed live stream started with a piano cover of the Afghan Whig classic “Demon in Profile.” Even in the beginning, it is clear that Dulli is an impressive artist. It is just him, but that gives the concert a new intimacy that might be lost with a real audience. Dulli follows classic by classic, the Twilight Singers “She Was Stolen,” proving that his songs don’t need big arrangements to be powerful and profound. Dulli’s unique voice excels during the show. It is full of emotion, especially during “The Killer,” which is recorded with harsh guitars, but now it’s soft and unplugged. It is up to the fan to decide which version they prefer, but the piano definitely adds a new layer to the song. Next up is “Oriole,” another song by his band The Afghan Whigs. This song is originally already heavily relying on acoustic guitars. After that, Dulli plays “Sempre,” from his newest solo album Random Desire.
Throughout the set, Dulli is always switching between the piano and the guitar, supported by Patt and sometimes alone. After the cover of “Toy Automatic,” Dulli covers the great Nina Simone with “Black Is The Color Of My True Love’s Hair,” a folklore song around for centuries but made famous by Simone. While it might not be as sturdy as Simone’s version, it is a beautifully executed cover that would make her proud. The cover can also be found on The Twilight Singers Album She Loves you. Following are “Marry Me” and “A Ghost,” both are from Random Desire.
The quiet covers of “Too Tough to Die” and “King Only” show how great an artist Dulli is. The original versions by The Twilight Singers are already masterfully done. Still, the loneliness of Greg Dulli’s voice with only the most essential instruments shows how music is real art.“It Falls Apart,” “Scorpio,” “Lockless” and “Slow Pan” are all from Random Desire and the last ones he played from it. Some fans asked why Dulli didn’t include the fan-favorite “Pantomima” from the album. Dulli replied on twitter: “ You know, I just could not make Pantomima, The Tide or Black Moon work for me in this particular set up. I did try. Plus I had to give the other material it’s shine.”
As the show comes to an end, Dulli plays the classic “Teenage Wristband” by The Twilight Singers. But another real highlight is just around the corner. Dulli covers “I Would Die 4 U” followed by “Baby, I’m a Star,” both by Prince and should always be played together. If Prince can end his masterpiece “Purple Rain” (the film) with these two songs, it should be the only way to end a masterpiece of live performance.
Live at Gold Diggers let Greg Dulli shine in all his glory. The set was intimate besides him being on a screen, his energy was contagious and compelling. Dulli even manages to play the piano while playing the harmonica, which seems incredibly difficult and showcases his musical talent just over again. If anyone watched his performance without being a fan already, they turned into a fan that night.
Demon In Profile
She Was Stolen
Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair
Too Tough to Die
It Falls Apart
I Would Die 4 U
Baby, I’m A Star
File Photo: Sharon Alagna