Social Distortion @ Marquee Theatre|1/22/23
By most standards, I arrived on the Social Distortion scene rather late, some 15 years ago. I wasn't much older than 14 when I bought my first album, and was -- like most fans -- immediately hooked.
Many of us grew up on the lyrics of Ness, who taught us to chase what we wanted, that the bad times wouldn't last forever. After an over 30-year career, he had seen and done it all. There was something comforting about that.
Last night's sold-out show at the Marquee Theatre was a reaffirmation of these values, and a testament to why the band is still going strong, finding its place among a whole new generation of fans.
As they closed out the night's set with "Ring of Fire," made famous by Johnny Cash, Ness invited three young kids from the crowd to join him on stage. Ness explained to them the importance of getting an education, and finished his brief lecture by explaining that tonight's show was part of another valuable lesson: Passing of the torch to the "new school" of fans.
The enormity of that moment will stay with me for a while. Now for the actual review:
Social Distortion took the stage, opening with "So Far Away" from its third album Social Distortion before launching into "Bad Luck" from its fourth album Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell. "Still Alive", from 2011's overlooked Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes, followed by "Highway 101" from my personal favorite, Sex, Love, and Rock N Roll. This back-and-forth exchange between old material and new would continue throughout the night.
"The Creeps (I Just Want to Give You)" and "She Begins" preceded "Cold Feelings" and " The Far Side of Nowhere". "Crown of Thorns" from 1996's White Light, White Heat, White Trash marked the halfway point in the hour-and-a-half long set. "Sweet and Lowdown", "Ball and Chain," and "Drug Train" seemed to fly by faster than I wanted. Finally, "Dear Lover" ended the set and the band left the stage briefly, before returning for their encore.
"California" and "Can't Take it With You" were followed by "99 to Life" and the aforementioned "Ring of Fire".
Social Distortion did a fantastic job of providing its loyal fans with everything they could expect from a show. They hit all their major material and Ness still sounds fantastic. Where the band will go from here is anybody's guess. But after tonight, one definitely got the sense that the band isn't anywhere near finished, and that the never-waning popularity of the band will continue to grow.
For those who couldn't make last night's show, fear not. They will be playing tonight as well.
Last Night: Social Distortion with Red Devil Squadron at Marquee Theatre
Crowd: A mix of fans young and old.
Songs I wanted to hear: "Angel's Wings" and "Sick Boy"
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Approximate Set List (I may have missed something while venturing to the bathroom):
"So Far Away" "Bad Luck" "Still Alive" "Highway 101" "The Creeps" "She Begins" "Cold Feelings" "Far Side of Nowhere" "Crown of Thorns" "Sweet and Lowdown" "Ball and Chain" "Drug Train" "Dear Lover" "California" "Can't Take it With You" "99 to Life" "Ring of Fire"