Legendary singer songwriter Bob Mould has a lot of reasons to finally hit the road after the global pandemic brought live music to a standstill.  In addition to his latest solo release Blue Hearts, Mould  has a box set called Distortion covering his post-Hüsker Dü days (a whopping 295 tracks!) that is deserved of attention. A balmy Friday night in San Francisco found Bob and August Hall for what would prove to be a monster of a return to live music.

Openers Moaning (hot tip if you’re looking for more info on this band:  search for “Moaning music” not “Moaning”) kicked things off at 8:30 p.m. to the slowly gathering crowd which managed to reach critical mass just in time for Bob Mould’s 9:30 p.m. set. The band stormed the stage, Bob wearing a mask that he quickly removed and hung on his mic stand, and tore right in to “Next Generation” off of Blue Hearts.  Short on talk, long on rock, Mould paused briefly to thank the crowd for masking up but otherwise preferred to waste no time tearing through the 24-song set.

In spite of only being a three-piece, it sure felt like the band could have used a larger stage. In the brief moments when not singing, Bob would dart across the stage, sometimes running out of room and finding himself behind his amps before making a quick pivot back to the mic stand. Even though the air conditioner in the venue was cranked up high, Mould’s shirt was quickly soaked through with sweat, as he belted out tune after tune with hardly a break. At 60 this guy still rocks harder than people half his age.

The crowd skewed a bit towards middle aged, suggesting long-time fans who have followed Mould since his Hüsker Dü days. Bob’s not one of those acts that people are going to check out on a whim in spite of his prolific discography, the result being a house full of dedicated followers who were more than happy to don a mask and sing along. However, unlike Mould’s 2019 sold out show at the Fillmore, Friday night’s venue certainly had some room to spare, suggesting that there are lots of folks aren’t quite ready to get back to indoor shows (even those requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test). The result of all this was an intimate show that no one would soon forget.

The setlist spanned Bob’s career but payed special attention to 2020’s Blue Hearts.  Released during the height of the pandemic, Mould was clearly happy to finally be playing these tunes live and didn’t waste any timing diving right in with the first five songs pulled from the release. Twenty-nineteen’s excellent release Sunshine Rock also had a good representation and for those long time fans there was healthy dose of Hüsker Dü tunes to wrap up the evening and get the room moving.

Between the amazing tunes and the stellar performance it’s hard not to be impressed with Bob Mould which is no doubt what keeps people coming back time and again.

Setlist:

  • Next Generation
  • American Crisis
  • Fireball
  • Forecast of Rain
  • Password to My Soul
  • Sinners and Their Repentances
  • I Don’t Know You Anymore
  • The Descent
  • You Say You
  • See a Little Light
  • Sunny Love Song
  • Celebrated Summer (Hüsker Dü)
  • Hardly Getting Over It (Hüsker Dü)
  • The War
  • Voices in My Head
  • I Fought
  • Sunshine Rock
  • If I Can’t Change Your Mind (Sugar)
  • Siberian Butterfly
  • Something I Learned Today (Hüsker Dü)
  • Chartered Trips (Hüsker Dü)

Encore:

  • Flip Your Wig (Hüsker Dü)
  • I Apologize (Hüsker Dü)
  • Makes No Sense at All (Hüsker Dü)

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