Austin 101 Magazine

Gary Clark Jr. Jammed on Night 3 at ACL Live Concert

by John Croxton
Gary Clark Jr. is an Austin success story. A local boy made big. He’s a Grammy winning musician and has gotten so busy that we don’t have as many opportunities to see him anymore. So we simple must see the show. This one was rescheduled from earlier this year and was well worth the wait.
In the not-too-distant past, Gary Clark Jr. and Eve Monsees were Austin High School classmates, learning to play guitar together and growing up in the Austin music scene. Wednesday night Eve and her band, the Exiles took the stage to open the final of Clark’s three-night sold out run at the Moody Theater. Monsees later joined Clark for the final song (encore “Don’t Owe You a Thang”), capping off a string a musical guests sharing the bright lights with Clark onstage over the three nights (including Jimmie Vaughn, Tameca Jones, Eric Tessmer, and Eric Gales).

Clark played songs from his new album (“This Land”) releasing in early 2019 as well as old favorites (“Bright Lights”, “Blak and Blu”, “Ain’t Messing ‘Round”) and closed out his set with an electrifying version of his first charting single, a cover of the Beatles 1969 #1 hit “Come Together”. As he likes to do, he also got into some old blues, with songs from B.B. King (“My Baby’s Gone” and Albert Collins (“If Trouble Was Money”) among others.

We heard about the 2 previous nights’ show and openers. But tonight’s show was special. Clark played until around midnight and didn’t seem to be slowing down. He took a short break before the encore and that was it. He brought on amazing guests including opener Eve & the Exiles, who he grew up with around Austin. How cool is that? In addition, guitarist Paul Walker was incredible, playing above his head and jamming like crazy. We love that Clark let’s local Austin musicians shine and is incredibly generous in the opportunities he provides.

The lyric ‘knowin’ by the X on his hand’ refers to Gary as a young boy trying to get into Austin music clubs (such as iconic Continental Club) to watch his guitar heroes play, but so young he had to have the X because he wasn’t old enough to drink.
Also, Sonic Highways was a season-long documentary on HBO, where each week they showed the recording of each song on the album in the city it was recorded in.
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In the Austin episode, Gary Clark shows up at Studio 6A to record his guitar solo in ‘God as My Witness’, but without a guitar. Foo Fighters guitarist Pat Smear lets him borrow the guitar he brought, and that he had just bought for the solo. After Gary Clark plays it, Pat says “You can keep that guitar, it’s never going to do anything like that again” (meaning that Pat, a highly skilled guitarist himself, can’t touch Gary Clark’s talent). Really cool moment.
You can view the ACL TV taping video of the song Foo Fighters recorded in Austin as part of their Sonic Highways album (God as My Witness), where Gary Clark Jr. joins them onstage.
Check out the video. The song was recorded for the album at KLRU-TV Studio 6A in Austin, Texas and features blues rocker Gary Clark, Jr on lead guitar.
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View the 2018 show, night 3 setlist.
If you haven’t seen GCJ live, it’s about time. You might be able to catch him at Austin’s iconic venue Antone’s where he is a part owner. Also, he heads out on a major 2019 US tour starting in March in Miami.
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