Where we’re dining: Passerelle Bistro & Taste of the South
By Ariel Turner
Tickets for euphoria’s Taste of the South at Fluor Field have been split into two categories this year: full access to food, desserts, drinks, and the concert, or for $55 less, get the concert, drinks, and dessert. The latter option gives you just that, an option, to have dinner elsewhere while still getting the open bar, desserts from some of the best pastry chefs in the Southeast, and the show.
To still get Taste of the South-level cuisine in walking distance from the ball field, head to Passerelle Bistro to enjoy dinner overlooking the Liberty Bridge. Executive chef Jenifer Rogers has created a menu of French dishes influenced heavily by bold New Orleans flavors. Rogers is an experienced pastry chef, too, so don’t skip the bread. And a word of advice: Stick to the food and save the wine and cocktails for the show since “all-you-can-drink” is not just a cute phrase once you get there.
Crusty Bread $7
toasted house bread, salted butter, radish fennel conserva
Crawfish Etouffee $15
crawfish, spicy thickened stock, rice, green onion
Crab Maison $14
watercress, blue crab, marinated tomatoes & capers, cucumber, crostini, maison dressing
Vegan Dirty Rice $16
Carolina Gold rice, wild mushroom duxelle, corn, summer squash, cauliflower “mock” choux
Walnut Crusted Trout $23
warm kale & roasted sweet potato salad, maple vinaigrette, house brousse, cherry gastrique
saffron shrimp stock, mussels, red snapper, shrimp, garlic, grilled baguette
Drive-By Truckers @ Taste of the South
The Drive-By Truckers used to hit the Upstate a lot, bringing their roaring mix of hard-rock swagger and alt-country grit to places like The Handlebar a couple of times a year. But in recent years, singer/guitarists Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley haven’t led their fellow Truckers into town all that much.
That’s just one of the reasons that the Athens, Georgia, band’s performance at euphoria’s Taste of the South event at Fluor Field is such a special occasion.
“It’s been a really long time,” Hood says. “It’s been too long. And I hear Greenville has changed a lot. My brother’s from Piedmont, and I’ve heard the whole area’s been going through a boom.”
The Truckers have a deservedly strong reputation as a live band; over their 30-plus-year, 11-album career, their show has remained a raucous, ragged one, without a hint of predictability.
“Every set is different because we don’t use a setlist,” Hood says. “We decide what we’re going to open with, and that’s all we know going into it. It’s just based on how we feel up there, and how the crowd feels. The mood, the vibe, the staging, it all affects the show, and that’s why we don’t do a setlist, because we want to be open and free to go wherever that leads us, even if it leads us astray.
“That doesn’t happen too often,” Hood adds with a laugh, “but that possibility is always part of the fun. Rock ‘n’ roll is a little more fun if there’s a chance it can go off the rails.”
The setlists also bit the dust because in the early days, they became a major bone of contention between Hood and Cooley, the creative nucleus of the band for its entire existence.
“Cooley and I were in three bands together before the Truckers,” Hood says, “one of which was really good. When we started the Truckers, we made a conscious decision not to have a setlist because before, I’d make a setlist and then I’d veer off of it, and it always pissed Cooley off. We used to fight about it, a lot. So when we started the Truckers, we tried to think about the things we fought about and figure out ways to fix them so that we didn’t.”
That partnership is probably what helped the Truckers create the most successful album of their career back in 2016, the stunning “American Band.” It was an unabashedly political, potentially polarizing collection of songs that expressed the band’s bewilderment and rage about our country’s political landscape on the eve of one of the most polarizing presidential elections in our history.
It was also an album that a lot of people around the band implored them not to make.
“People told us we were going to lose half of our fan base,” Hood says. “They told us that we were committing career suicide.”
The Truckers had heard that before, though, specifically about 2001’s “Southern Rock Opera,” an ambitious, 20-song concept album based on the career of their fellow Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd that brought them their first taste of national success.
“When we were making ‘Southern Rock Opera,’ were convinced we’d lost our minds,” Hood says. “And that was the record that put us on the map. We seem to do our best when we’re working on something that people tell us not to do.”
It’s taken the Truckers more than three years to craft a follow-up to “American Band,” but their new, as-yet-untitled album is coming early next year, and subject-wise, Hood says it’s more of the same.
“The world, our country, and our society have gotten to such a strange place,” he says. “It’s been really challenging to articulate the way that makes you feel in a way that anybody would want to hear. It was really challenging to figure out how to write songs about right now. It’s probably as political as the last record, but it’s also more personal. It’s a personal slant on how it feels to be here right now. But I’m really proud of what we ended up with, and hopefully other people will be, too. “
What: Drive-By Truckers, w/ The Vegabonds
When: 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20
Where: Fluor Field (Taste of the South), 356 Field St., Greenville
Tickets: $75 (concert, desserts & cocktails), $130 (concert, cuisine & cocktails)
Info: 864-233-5663, https://euphoriagreenville.com/