Last Night: Soul Asylum At House Of Blues

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We were pleased to see SA pick up the pining pieces of "Runaway Train" and immediately splinter them with the speedy "Closer to the Stars." It was hard to overlook the handful of people exiting after the band's hit single had been played, but that's when the mood of the show shifted, and everyone still present was there because they knew that Soul Asylum's 25-plus year history encompasses way more than a radio hit.

After a short break, SA returned to the stage for an encore, Pirner taking to the mic solo, offering his a cappella cover of Janis Joplin tune "Mercedes Benz," most of the crowd singing along with his every word. Motivational Silver opener "Stand Up and Be Strong" closed out the set, its riffs dancing into Guns N' Roses territory.

Pirner then looked into the crowd toward a small, particularly and steadily rowdy group of SA super-fans, asking ever-so-genuinely whether they were having an "OK time." After receiving approving cheers, he took off his guitar, jumped into the crowd, and hugged a few lucky fans. It's moments like these that not only make a show memorable, but also produce respect for an artist who shows such appreciation toward his fans.

But it's moments like the next one that make a show memorable for other reasons: As Pirner climbed back onstage, his loose-fitting jeans drooped, exposing one hell of a plumber's crack. Realizing his faux pas, Pirner jokingly treated the crowd to a half-assed (pun obviously intended) mooning, leaving the crowd in stitches.

Contrary to what we may have believed, sagging pants evidently didn't necessarily go out with the '90s.

After the band's speedy one-song encore, Pirner repeatedly thanked the crowd, sincerely acknowledging, "You all can be anywhere in the world tonight and you've chosen to be here with us. We thank you." And just like that, the jester unveiled his earnest side.

Personal Bias: We appreciated such a varied set list, including hits and rarities alike. Still would have liked to see the Spaghetti-O's T-shirt though.

The Crowd: Extremely mixed, from twentysomethings to fortysomethings, and one SA shirt-wearing dude who kept the dreadlock dream alive.

Overheard in the Crowd: "How do you spell 'asylum'? Is it with two 's''s?"

Random Notebook Dump: Did you know SA's "Misery" can be heard on the radio during Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee's sex tape?


Marionette Somebody to Shove All Is Well Misery Lately The Streets Whatcha Need Black Gold Without a Trace When I Ran Off and Left Her (Vic Chesnutt cover) Gravity Cartoon / Gone Till November tease (Wyclef Jean cover) Into the Light I Did My Best Runaway Train Closer to the Stars Just Like Anyone


Mercedes Benz tease (Janis Joplin cover) Stand Up and Be Strong

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Neph Basedow
Contact: Neph Basedow