Concert Review: The Afghan Whigs & Howlin’ Maggie @ Bogarts, Columbus, OH (9/25/99)

This was it, supposedly the last Afghan Whigs show. For most people, that doesn’t mean much. The Whigs were an acquired taste, first with their midwestern bar band brand version of Husker Du meets The Replacements, and later with their refined soul rock that combined ’60s Motown and ’90s Seattle.

Like the legendary KISS, their records never did justice to the band the way their explosive live shows could. Lead singer/guitarist Greg Dulli, currently fronting the more sedate Twilight Singers, could be cool and seductive one moment, acerbic and nasty the next. At this particular show, Dulli was more reflective and unguarded than previous shows.

After a solid opening set by Whig contributor Happy Chichester and his reformed band Howlin’ Maggie, Happy joined the Whigs on stage for the set-opening cover of Thin Lizzy’s The Boys Are Back in Town, engaging in some triple guitar fun while Dulli adjusted the lyrics to “The Afghan Whigs are back in town.”

Drawing from their vast catalog of originals and covers, the band stuck mostly to the later era of the band, ignoring the earlier material, while sprinkling in their trademark covers of The Supremes, Steve Wonder and others. Still, this was not the Whigs at their best. Maybe it was the moment, knowing this would probably be the last time the band would ever take the stage together (unless someone, say, threw a bunch of money at them to unite at Cochella or some other destination show), that cast a somewhat somber note on the whole evening.

The Boys Are Back In Town
Superstition/Going To Town/In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Uptown Again
Come See About Me
Be Sweet
Neglekted/Do You Feel Like We Do/Nasty
King Only
If I Were Going
Bad Girl/66/Little Red Corvette
I’ll Be Around
Somethin’ Hot
Bulletproof/Baby Love
People Get Ready/Faded
Fountain And Fairfax/Hot For Teacher
Omerta/The Vapire Lanois/All You Need Is Love
Into The Groove/Rebirth Of The Cool