On Saturday night The Dandy Warhols played The Fillmore in San Francisco as part of their tour celebrating the 13th anniversary of their album Thirteen Tales of Urbana Bohemia. For many of their fans this album was an introduction to the band. Their biggest hit, the extremely catchy and fun “Bohemian Like You” is on the album and was featured in a Vodafone commercial and on the soundtrack of several movies and TV shows. While I was familiar with their single “Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth” from their previous album, Thirteen Tales was the first album of theirs I owned.
Sometime between leaving home and arriving at the venue the show sold out. The crowd was made up of a range of ages with many in attendance appearing to be long time fans. I knew coming in that they would play two sets. The first set would be Thirteen Tales from beginning to end and the second set would be a variety of songs from their other albums. At the start of the show frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor announced that’d they’d be playing 13 Tales to celebrate the 13th anniversary and was met with cheers. Because of the format of the show, the first set was a little more predictable than I prefer, but I have only seen an entire album played beginning to end live a couple times and it being their most prominent work made it a unique and enjoyable experience. It was nice to have the opportunity to hear the deeper cuts live. Considering they now have 8 albums, the likelihood of hearing some of these songs at a normal show is pretty low. The crowd knew when “Bohemian Like You” was coming and it made for one of the most enjoyable parts of the show. The majority of the crowd was dancing and singing along to every word. One of those deep cuts I previously mentioned is “The Gospel”. The mellow final track of the album made a great close to the first set.
After a very brief break Taylor-Taylor started out the second set on stage alone and told the audience it was time for them to sing before performing a solo version of the “Everyday Should be a Holiday”. It was a more mellow take on the song than the album version and he let the crowd handle most of the singing on the chorus. They went on to play material from through out their career for about another forty-five minutes. They didn’t play their other two big singles “We Used to Be Friends” and “Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth”. While I was looking forward to hearing those live and seeing the crowd react, they did play enough material that is popular with their fans that they weren’t greatly missed. A highlight for me was “Boys Better” from their second album …The Dandy Warhols Come Down. You could tell the song was a fan favorite by the enthusiastic cheers and singing along from the crowd. They appeared to close the show with that song but then keyboardist and percussionist Zia McCabe stayed on stage by herself. In an apparent nod to the history of the venue she performed an acapella rendition of “Mercedes Benz” a la Janis Joplin. The crowd loved it and continued to cheer after she left the stage until the house lights came on. It was a fun end to a very entertaining show. At times it seemed the band was just as happy to be there in front of this crowd as the crowd was to be there watching them. It was a unique opportunity to hear a classic album played cover to cover live and the second set kept the party going.