It had been almost two years since the last time I saw Eagles of Death Metal when I saw them at Aftershock. The Del Mar horse races have “4 O’Clock Fridays” during the regular race season which includes a free concert after the last race. I usually only go to the races once a year and strategically plan to go when a cool band is playing. This was that occasion.
Larry was actually down to go this time (he bailed on Ministry) so I met him for a couple beers at a stuffy place not meant for lowlifes like ourselves called Red Tracton’s before we headed across the street into the races. I planned on meeting up with Dee, who I had not seen in several months, once inside and ironically right after we came in as I was texting him saw his good buddies Jesse and Julian walking by as I was waiting for Larry to relieve himself. It turns out they were looking for him too and we met up with him just around the corner. After a couple beers and many laughs we made our way toward the stage.
Once we got there I was in shock. The place was empty! I had seen several concerts here and all of them were packed – except this one. I would venture to say that it was about 1/3 capacity. Maybe the band’s name scared people away but I would say they lean way more towards the Eagles than death metal. Their loss. The band was still touring for the now almost two-year-old Zipper Down album and it was on from the start as Jesse “Boots Electric” Hughes took the stage by riding a motorcycle across it. From there the band set the tone by launching into “I Only Want You.” I knew the universe was with us when we got away with smoking a joint despite security guards walking by every five minutes. Boots made a point of this being the only time he played a horse track and said he had lots of family there at the show. He also made a point of saying guitarist Dave Catching’s name a dozen plus times. Dave is all ZZ Top beard, no face and killed it on his Flying V, especially on a fantastic cover of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream.” Maybe it was the pot but I had not noticed how good of a guitar player Boots was until this time seeing him. The female pigtailed bass player that Dee had a crush on and the drummer held down the rhythm section quite well also. I really wanted to hear “Cherry Cola” and the band obliged. One other memorable moment was when they started playing “Save a Prayer.” I could not figure out why everyone except for me was singing along with this song yet I somehow felt like I knew it. Then I said, “Is this Duran Duran?” to which I was greeted with a look I can only describe as “DUH!” (Full Disclaimer: I do not actually own Zipper Down and apparently have been living under a rock for the last two years.) Overall they crushed it. No Homme on drums and Boots did not really hit the high notes but crushed it. The exit in a King’s robe was a nice touch as well.
SETLIST: I Only Want You, Don’t Speak (I Came to Make a Bang!), Complexity, Save A Prayer, Whorehoppin’ (Shit, Goddamn), Silverlake (K.S.O.F.M.), Cherry Cola, The Reverend, I Like to Move in the Night, Secret Plans, Flames Go Higher, Wannabe in L.A., Heart On/I Love You All The Time, Moonage Daydream, I Want You So Hard (Boy’s Bad News), Speaking In Tongues