In a rare weeknight outing, I saw Social Distortion at the Promowest Pavillion on Thursday night. This was the first time I've ever seen them live, and I was not disappointed. They put on an incredible show. The band sounds every bit as good live as they do on their albums. Mike Ness' raspy, melancholy, and often furious vocals laid down over the driving guitars made for pristine Social D. Of course, with a band like Social Distortion every song is a rock n' roll joy, but some of the highlights were their renditions of greats like "Sometimes I Do," "Story of My Life," "Prison Bound," and "Ring of Fire."
Mike Ness still possesses all the energy and ferocity of his earlier days, now accompanied by a wisdom gained through years of learning lessons the hard way. All of this comes out in his near perfect guitar playing and vocals. He was ably backed by the other members of the band, especially by the skilled guitar playing emanating from Jonny "2 Bags." The crowd fed off this energy and made for an exciting concert experience.
If I had any complaints about the show at all they would be, first, that the bass and low end sound at the Promowest occaisionally overpowered some of the vocals and guitar. Whether this was on purpose or simply the way the sound works at the venue, I do not know. My only other gripe is that the band played almost all of their songs that a fan needs to hear except "Ball And Chain," and despite the amazing set list of the night, I must say I left with a sense of disappointment at not getting to hear the song that turned me on to Social Distortion so many years ago. Perhaps if they had taken the stage just ten minutes earlier, rather than at ten o'clock, they could have squeezed it in.
In any case, I will go back to see them again, to be sure, and the show served only to further strengthen my love and respect for one of the best rock bands of our time. I give the show 4 1/2 out of five stars.