Drive-By Truckers Live Photo | The Beacham Orlando

HELL YES, I AM HAPPY | Drive-By Truckers Live Review | June 5 2014 | The Beacham Orlando

by • June 12, 2014

When I was at the Drive-By Truckers show a few days ago, having managed to get all the way up to the front with my friend Nina helping lead that charge, it was all at once a really pretty beautiful thing. It was made even better for the fine trip down memory lane it ended up being, too. Nina even hopped in her time machine a while and went back to when DBT songs helped soundtrack her long drives and being all of 20 years old.

For me, I was remembering that guy I knew from the Internets once upon a time, that Texas kid with the red beard and forgettable name who mailed me a big heavy box of 50 or 60 or 75 alt-country dubbed CD albums years ago, helping introduce me to The Drive-By Truckers in the first place. I liked the band right away, too, especially because no one really sounded like them to me. It was all anger and set jaws and joy and rock. They sang some of best stories of the South I’d ever heard.

I was remembering a show I’d seen of theirs in a tiny Utah bar tucked away in the mountains, back when Jason Isbell was still part of the band and looking like a 12-year-old (maybe he actually was that young?). There’d been a nearby fistfight in the middle of the fans mid-show and my friend Kess went home that night fairly doused in the beer that’d been spilled far too near to her flipflopped feet.

I was even remembering how amazing an album Decoration Day was and still is. “Amazing” is kind of a boring word and it doesn’t begin to tell the half of it, not by a long shot, but I loved that album forwards and backwards and sideways. (Some of the lyrics are tattooed onto my brain someplace, I just know it.)

So what’s to say about this show? It was as good and great as could have been expected. It brought out the country sorts and the guys not wearing bears as fashion accessories and the widest of smiles. It was loud and full of country tales, both old and barely recognized. And maybe there should have been more folks there for the kind of reputation I’ve built up for these guys in my mind over the years, but the ones that were there made up for those who weren’t smart enough to attend or be fans just yet.

Drive-By Truckers Live Photo | The Beacham Orlando 2014

I regularly got caught up in how excited Nina was to be there. She had, I kid you not, made three pillows out of some Drive-By Truckers tees the night before I invited her along. And that was some icing on that cake, you know? Being with someone who gets what kind of a treat it is to see and hear the Drive-By Truckers sweat and sing and rally all across that stage.

Maybe that nostalgic trip is what made me hope for more songs I knew better, even if they were so many albums ago. Even if they were songs written by Jason Isbell (yes, “Outfit”). But when they got around to singing “Hell No, I Ain’t Happy” … along with pretty much everyone in The Beacham … I was singing along, too. And I was happy. Nina was happy. Everyone was so damn happy to sing pretty damn loud about how they weren’t. Which is exactly how something like that should end. That’s what I tend to think.

Thanks, guys, for giving me another solid memory to stick in my Drive-By Truckers box full of them.

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