Progressive or outlaw country music may seem like a dead issue in 1983, but you couldn't have proved it to the packed and jubilant crowd at David Allen Coe's show at the Wax Musem last night.
There were enough cowboy boots and hats and oversized belt buckles to stock five western stores. And it was a macho affair--each of Coe's numerous references to sex, drugs and alcohol was greeted by wild whooping and hollering.
After a brief acoustic set, Coe and his band began a seemingly endless review of his musical career dotted with songs by other popular progressive country artists. His material was full of autobiographical details of his prison life and the existential dilemmas he has faced ever since trying to be the tough and tender outsider.
Coe is a talented songwriter and he delivered his best in a warm and forceful voice. But he had neither the artistic power and range nor the repertoire to warrant his three-hour performance. He also wasn't helped by his band, which filled out all the clip-clop western beats with just about every southern rock cliche' around.
Nonetheless, there was no chance Coe might not meet his audience's expectations for a rowdy good time.