Live: Billy Bragg, Page Auditorium, 11/1/08

I swear after this we'll stop writing about Billy Bragg.

I expected a great show Saturday night, but Bragg's set really blew me away. Bragg was brilliant, charming and apparently a heartthrob ("He looks like Anderson Cooper with a guitar," my ex-girlfriend said). I won't run my mouth too much, but here's my partial setlist with some notes. Please feel free to make corrections and fill in blanks via comment, and we'll see if we can get it updated.

1. (not sure--something about Afghanistan)

2. "Farm Boy." Almost a Neil Young-like twang and distortion. And Neil could have written this song. Almost.

Roadie in wolf suit brings out tea. Bragg raps about Halloween and political discussions on tour bus across America: "Noam Chomsky for Old Men."

3. "Shirley"

Rap: Red states and how American political colors are mixed up, misnamed American football, the need for universal health insurance.

4. "Mr. Love and Justice"

Rap: Woody Guthrie as dirty old man, Ingrid Bergman, "tumescence," 10-year-old spelling bee champ in Charlottesville, Ken Coomer wanted to change song to "Uma Thurman"

5. "Ingrid Bergman"

6. "Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key"

Rap: Return to playing Woody songs he wrote w/o Billy and Jeff Tweedy, contemporary resonance of Woody songs.

7. "I Ain't Got No Home In This World Anymore"

Rap: Bill O'Reilly, BBC News, oxymoron of "democratic capitalism," holding people to account

8. "NWPA (No Power Without Accountability)" (remarkably little edxcitment for a song about the evils of globalization, given the effect of such on North Carolina... betrays the bourgeois Triangle audience)

Bragg to acoustic ("If anyone wants to shout 'Judas,' now is the time. Got to keep all the Dylan graybeards interested."

9. "Sexuality"

Rap: CH Rally, Hope, anti-Americanism, elect a black man--would never be a black UK PM or French president or German chancellor, real struggle comes after election, prepare for disappointment, but keep pushing

10. "Save the Country" (Laura Nyro cover)

Rap: weather, State College, POW-MIA and Gitmo

11. "Oh Freedom"

12. "Milkman of Human Kindness"

13. "The Saturday Boy." With "7 Nation Army" and "Smoke on the Water" quotes

Rap: Uncle Sam is scary, going commando in Minneapolis and losing your voice, "no one comes to hear you sing," Johnny Clash, shitty amp

14. "Old Clash Fan Fight Song"

Rap: Old people and the Clash, Rock Against Racism, audiences make the difference, not performers.

15. "I Keep Faith"

Rap: Community

16: "Power In the Union"

17. "Great Leap Forwards"


Rap: R.I.P. Levi Stubbs, soul music and Britain

18. "Levi Stubbs' Tears" (with openers the Watson Twins)

19. "Sing Their Souls Back Home" (with Watson Twins, dedicated to Stubbs)

20. "New England" singalong


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