You wouldn’t know it by looking at them, but The Outlaws haven’t lost a step. The southern rock powerhouse commonly referred to as the Florida Guitar Army show no signs of aging despite quietly climbing into their late sixties. In fact, age is arguably The Outlaws rallying bid to combat. They wield an overwhelming amount of confidence in their instruments that only a lifetime’s worth of dedicated experience could grant. Their 2019 visit to Shirley, Massachusetts’ Bull Run Restaurant provided a rare opportunity to rekindle their relationship with a niche fan-base of 300+ New Englanders who frankly have no other source of live knee-slapping, foot-stomping southern rock to turn to in this day and age.
The Outlaws are fully aware that they peaked upwards of 40 years ago. To their credit, they’ve adopted a candid essence of nostalgia, fully accepting that their purpose is to reminisce in a lost art rather than fully revive it. They poked fun at their dwindled fame at first, joking that “The Cape Cod Colosseum was fine, but this will do for now”. For the deep-rooted, enduring fans however, “this” (meaning the Bull Run Restaurant’s homey ballroom setup) was a perfectly intimate venue for a band that once rocked major arenas like the new defunct Cape Cod Colosseum. “This” provided a forum for like-minded individuals to substantiate southern rock’s marveled existence. “This” helped assemble a community that likely would not otherwise exist.
Even with the audience’s pertinent adoration, The Outlaws felt the need to openly discuss their lifelong journey of peaks and valleys. Lead singer Henry Paul brazenly disclosed that “The band stopped mattering in the late 70’s and early 80’s. We played at smaller venues and eventually disappeared for a few decades, all doing our own thing…We reconvened in 2005, and the great memories that sparked our fan-base brought a lot of people out to remember the good times we had.” When push came to shove, neither The Outlaws nor their fans fully understood what they had until it was gone.
Nearly 14 years after that reconciliation, The Outlaws call to arms still holds true today. Sure, people came out to see them play face-melting guitar solos lasting over ten minutes apiece. Sure, everyone loved the stories The Outlaws told both with their harmonic choruses and with their otherworldly prowess on the strings. But what really brought hoards people out of the woodwork to a restaurant ballroom in central Massachusetts was their memories. These aging stars painted vivid, descriptive pictures of the 70’s and 80’s with nothing but their hands. They created a time-capsule of unadulterated, sentimental bliss that each audience member could experience without a care in the world. For a brief moment, they allowed the few younger crowd members to understand why older generations despise DJs that show up to concerts and essentially just press play. This was hand-crafted art meticulously arranged onsite. No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to find live southern rock music like this anywhere else, period.
Below is a playlist featuring the full setlist performed by The Outlaws during their 2019 trip to Shirley’s Bull Run Restaurant.
Favorite Live Tracks: Green Grass & High Tides, (Ghost) Riders In The Sky, There Goes Another Love Song, Freeborn Man
Excellent review Matt – your words def capture the vibe in the room… An awesome night of classic southern rock from a truly legendary band! Green Grass and High Tides Forever……….