Saturday, August 26, 2006

Robert Gordon at
The Cadillac Lounge
w/ Chris Spedding

Robert Gordon burst onto the musical scene in the early ‘70’s, coming out of the primordial ooze that was the NYCity punk scene. Playing original songs in the same clubs frequented by the likes of Blondie and the Ramones he was just treading water with his band, Tuff Darts. A convergence of events saw him emerge as a solo artist (w/ guitar support, initially the late, great, Link Wray) performing roots rhythm ‘n rock. Elvis with a grrrrrrrr on. A post-beat, pre-hippy ethos. All leather, black slacks, duck tails and Brylcreem. Standing on the shoulders of Eddie Cochrane and Gene Vincent he’s stuck in the ‘50’s… the good part, not the boring part. He could have broke big but his chance to showcase the powerful Springsteen tune, Fire, done like it’s supposed to be done, was sucked away by the star making machinery when the Pointer Sisters watered-down version became a smash radio hit. Perhaps he was too authentic for the radio. The door he kicked open let bands like Stray Cats and Shakin’ Stevens find a niche.

My wife and I looked hard at catching a show back in 1979 but had to defer due to something… oh, right, our honeymoon. So better late than never as we have tix for two consecutive nights at the Cadillac Lounge. Guest guitarist this time around: Chris Spedding. A grand reunion, as Spedding had replaced Link Wray in 1978 and was the featured guitarist on Rock Billy Boogie, the album that introduced Robert Gordon to the alternative music airwaves in our city.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since that time. Gordon’s career has never reached the stature his talent deserves. Over the years he’s dabbled in movies, personal tragedies and demons. After a long trip he’s found his way back home, to where he started. This isn’t an ‘oldies tour’, he’s always played those songs, it’s a chance to honour the journey by looking back while moving forward. He’s riding a wave of artistic success, if not popularity. In August of 2007 he will join other luminaries; Narvel Felts, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Brenda Lee, Charlie Rich, The Jordanaires, W. S. Holland (Johnny's drummer from Jackson), Sonny Burgess & the Pacers, Carl Mann and Sam Phillips, when he is inducted into the International Rockabilly Hall of Fame at a function in Jackson TN.

The dates at the Cadillac Loungeare special. The only ones in Canada, sandwiched loosely between a summer European tour that ended on July 17th and return to Europe for a fall tour that starts on Hallowe’en. Sam, the owner of the Lounge, sometimes hosts our Toronto region Dylan gatherings. I believe these shows are a favour to him for supporting Gordon throughout the lean years, his stage always being open. This is a great Toronto theme bar if you're ever up here. It's just steps west of the trendy Queen St West club and shopping scene. All the benefits of being in the heart of the action with none of the traffic. Great food and the best patio in the city outside of the reefer bars .

In my never ending effort to shake off my OCD issues around time I contacted the club to find out when doors were opening. 8 pm I'm told. So at 7:45 we pull up to find the patio half filled with people already finishing their dinner. At least we're not first. Still, the bands not due onstage until 10 pm ("But don't hold me to that," the girl at the door says.) And we've already eaten. Which means it's jacks 'n lolli's time.

I spy a poster on the wall commemorating this date. It's half obscured by a beer advert. When I ask about purchasing one the bartender tells me there'll be more available later and Robert Gordon will be signing some. That's cool. But I don't buy it...the story that is. When Sam shows up I ask him the same. "All out of them," he says, "put them up all around town." Damn! Then it the thought hits: What would Michele do? (Michele is a friend of Sam's, I'd already cozied up to him earlier by passing on her best and we usually congregate at this bar in her company, so she was on my mind.) Well, she wouldn't take NO for an answer, that's for sure. The first thing I did was scout the nether regions of the club to see if there was another one in a less visible place. No such luck. So I ask if I can have the one on the wall and Sam said "take it quick man, i got to run." Climbing the leopard-skin couch I tear the large beer poster down and carefully remove the memento and put it in my trunk. There's no harm in asking, it seems.

Shortly after 10 pm the sound and light guy if fiddling around onstage. I take a moment to prepare my rig and meander up front as a silver-haired gent starts playing some familiar chords. Interesting, I think, he's sound-checking the opening song.


I hit record just as Robert Gordon steps to the mic and launches into The Way I Walk, a lazy-river doo-wop song that has the audience immediately doing their immitation of 180 bobble heads. "di ooby ooby ooby ooby doo wop" repeat that ten times, it feels good. If you gotta have a mantra this one don't suck. Great gift from rockabilly hero Jack Scott, that gets passed on to us.

Gordon's voice is terrific. An hypnotic, soulful baritone. Though others have said he doesn't have the range he had 30 years ago it's not painfully obvious like it is with some other artists I could mention, but won't, until November.

I'm Gonna Be Your Lover Boy injects some octane and a little bombastic fun. It occurs to me, as Gordon preens onstage, there's a lot in rockabilly that's present in the hip-hop scene. Music you can dance to and a tendency for the slick-haired, leather-clad, singers to toot their own horn. With rockabilly it's just good ole fashioned fun though, not mysoginistic, gun-totin', gang recruitin' braggadocio.

More boogie than rockabilly in a cover of Cliff Richards' Move It, a call to arms for butts. Followed quickly by a song Tommy Sands (some Frankie Avalon look-a-like which won't really narrow it down too much) made famous, The Worryin' Kind. This gets a great treatment, wonderful surprise.

First nod to Elvis in the shape of A Mess of Blues, which is probable where Dylan got the idea for his country tune Living The Blues that he sang on Johnny Cash's TV show. Bob's bad mojo is coming back to haunt me tonight (right, like that kind of cosmic karma could exist) as the song closes with the first interruption of the evening. Something blew onstage and we lost all the PA's. Maybe a fuse, maybe some excited fan kicked the plug out of the wall. In the confusion the audience starts to stir, some looking for drinks, some looking for a place to deposit the last 5 drinks they had. Sam comes charging out from behind the bar to see if he can nail down the source of the problem. More people start migrating towards the patio, others strike up the conversations they'd left behind. Some of the magic is beginning to seep out of the show. Waitress passes me and asks if she can get me anything. "A band on the stage would be nice." Not her table apparently. I take the chance to flip discs after taping 10 minutes of nothing but me bitching. (This has been thankfully edited out of the final copy.) Shortly after everything's back in order.

Gordon returns, apologizes, checks his levels and bravely dives into Long Lonely Weekend. Believe it's a Ronnie Milsap song but it's not the easiest google around. Sad song, really, but you can get that in the title.

Next up, a scare and a total mental disconnect when it sounds like they're about to cover Every Little Breath You Take, that homage to stalking that The Police did a couple decades ago. It's followed by a major treat as it turns out to be a cover of Doc Pomus' collaboration with Mort Shuman, Suspicion. What a great song. First heard it when Terry Staffordrecorded it in the '60's, had the 45 rpm. I mean it's sappy but it's a classic, captivating moan. There is no back up on the stage but the mind can play funny tricks as you can distinctly hear the "woo - ooo's" that respond to the lyrical call. In that space just after "every time you hold me I'm still not certain that you love me" ... woo ooo! Over on my left a party of 4 is supplying the harmony, not obtrusively, and just a hint of it appears on the recording but it augments the moment wonderfully. It works best after the line: "every time you call me and tell me that we should meet tomorrow" ...on cue, woo - ooo, from the crowd, a little louder. Robert heard it on stage and half-chuckles into "ha-i can't help but think you're meeting someone else tonight."
This was so enjoyable it was goose-pimple time. In fact, I'm gonna put it on right now.....Back, f*ck, i almost cried that time.

No let down on the quality of the show as we're into the Paul Hampton/Hal David composition Sea of Heartbreak. This was first recorded, I think, by Don Gibson, who penned a slew of his own hits for other artists as well. Johnny Cash covered it, which is probably where I became familiar with it because I'm not much into Margarita's so it's unlikely I've heard Jimmy Buffet's version. Gordon's is top-notch, it honours them all.

Notice something here? These songs are all f*cking killer tunes. Songs that will survive forever because they reach you on a level you can't even verbalize. A combination of melody and sentiment that is so evocative you can't help but respond emotionally. Unfortunately most of these songs stay in peoples memory because of some watered-down version that was radio friendly. Gordon's reaching back and treating them right. The onslaught doesn't stop here.

Gordon gives us a chance to get our bearings with a couple lighter songs, Nervous, followed by a duet of sorts with Chris Spedding on Spedding's own Wild Wild Women, a raucous celebration of raucous celebration. The song serves as an introduction to Chris who has been providing some stellar guitar work in support. And this guy is a real guitar player. All he has with him is a guitar and an amp. No crap. No guys running in from side stage to strap a freshly tuned axe around his shoulder. He'd just as well put a capo in your butt as strap one on his fret board. Didn't notice any fuzz-pedals either. Naked.

He opens up with a song designed to prove you don't need 18 guitars to perform 16 songs. Guitar Jamboree is a roll call of most of the greats. First the familar intro and he starts with blues great Albert King, "no one can get within a mile of him", followed by some blistering licks. Tip 'o the hat to Chuck Berry "with his famous duck-walk" and talking guitar. Then the "time they still talk about" when Jimi layed Purple Haze on us all. Lovely, tripping, transition, then we pick up the pace. Jack Bruce, Sunshine of Your Love. Pete Townsend with something from Tommy. Keef' with Start Me Up. Clapton with Layla. Harrison with Something. Break, clap and smile. Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and a couple of others I couldn't make out followed by a tight solo. Very nice.

Motor Bikin' has a good pace to it and I haven't heard a bad song all night. Hey Miss Betty is another unfamiliar but immediately enjoyable tune. Spedding closes his set with three classics; Wild Thing, Shakin' All Over and Summertime Blues, all embellished by his stellar guitar work.

Gordon's back onstage and he's playing an Iggy Pop song, given to him in the early '90's, Beside You. Ain't much to the song and it certainly doesn't seem like something Iggy would do for himself. Gordon's voice gives it all purpose.

More Elvis in the guise of the very familiar Don't Be Cruel. This sh*t is right down Gordon's alley, it's where he really excels. If age is diminishing his pipes it's very hard to tell.

Band introductions follow and we learn the two youngsters onstage, playing drums and bass, are Todd Glass and Greasy Carlise. Things go slightly awry here as we learn the drum skin on the bass drum has broken. More downtime, almost 20 minutes this time. We're only a handful of songs away from the lead-in to the denoument, just before the climax. This audio-interruptus thing is really starting to spoil the moment.

Let me digress for a moment here and say that a concert is not just 90 minutes of music. It's an aural painting that must be absorbed, digested and converted into energy. The best artists are trying to deliver something and I strive to receive it. It doesn't always work and I don't get obseqious about it...if you suck I'll say so. But if you don't I really want to get the whole picture. There's so much involved in the pacing of a show. The sequence, the pace, as well as the content of the songs, converge to create the product. And like sex, timing is everything. We were on a roll. Everyone had been properly massaged by Gordon's voice, stroked by Spedding's licks (or licked by Spedding's strokes depending on what your pleasure is)and were building for the moment. These breaks are to the show what "don't stop now" is to a good f*ck...a bad idea. Needless to say I probably let this impact my enjoyment more than I should have. But I'm a little bit like that sometimes.

Not to be too critical here but I think, especially because of the first problem with the sound, that this would have been a good time for Spedding to sit on a chair and regale us with some instrumental surf classics. Instead they left the stage and the audience became a little more disconnected, distracted and drunk. In fairness to them, there ain't much you can do about this, sh*t happens.

Gordon's back onstage to deliver Bertha Lou, a song Dylan also copped for his Rita Mae and probably took a hook from it for Everything Is Broken. 'Course it could be public domain.

A terrific Hello Walls, another surprise that lightens the mood considerably, which is a little strange since it's not high on the list of 'feel good' songs. Didn't expect any Willie tonight.

Is Fire one kick-ass song or what? No need to review it. When Gordon does this song it has found it's resting place. The bad boy of rockabilly sings his theme song, Bad Boy and then delivers There You Go and If It Feels So Right in rapid order as the hour is getting late.

Rockabilly Boogie closes the set and the encore consists of another great Elvis tune, the yearning, burning, Love Me, with backing harmonies provided by the guy who was leading the 'woo-ooo' krewe in Suspicion. He's good too. His memory ain't what it used to be as he calls out for "wild wild women"!

We close with the salacious Red Hot.

Awesome. Think I'll do another night.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Jonny Lang at Hampton Beach NH
John Fogerty/Willie Nelson
at Darien Lake NY

You bounce around the blues long enough and you get religion. Happens to the best of them, you can only hope they grow out of it. Jonny Lang, now 24 years old, is 10 years into his recording/performing career and 5 years into his marriage and NOW he's looking for a reason to believe. I jest. Sorta.

Cece has been a big fan of Jonny Lang since the clean-shaven youngster first burst onto the national scene with his superb second album Lie To Me. He's up to #5 now as Turn Around is slated for release in September. The novelty of his youth has worn off so it will be interesting to see if he's developed into a captivating performer.

Initially this weekend was going to be filled with friends and food and booze, to go along with the music. It's been pared down somewhat as a couple friends who'd planned to attend months ago, found they had other committments more recently. A Sunday 'day trip' into Boston for lunch and walking was put aside when a series of events converged to make alternate plans more appealing: big chunks of the Boston tunnel system either failed or were suspect, throwing area traffic into a tizzy; John Fogerty showed up at a venue halfway home; the past few weekends on the road have taken their toll and i'm waking up to the alarm clock way too often.

We're on the road at mid-day, hoping to miss both rush-hour and border traffic, aiming for the nondescript town of Utica, NY. In what is becoming a ritual as we cross this section of NYState, we stop in at Delmonico's for dinner and a couple of Ole Blue Eyes martini's. Cece is with the pasta dish again as I take my one opportunity a week to consume some beef, ordering the filet mignon. But it's the warm martini that keeps me coming back.

On Saturday we elect to veer off the Interstate at Albany. The I90 dips south to near Boston before coming back north towards our destination in New Hampshire. It adds a few miles and takes less time but offers not much chance to stop and stare. The freeways are soul-sucking. There used to be a time they were liberating. Before the commute to work...before the donuts in the cities...back when we were still living in the garden and fuel was cheap. Ahhh, the 50's, anybody else miss them? Now they are simply clogged arteries feeding the major centers. To see America, you gotta take the road less traveled.

Which in this area is Route 7 East to the tiny artists community of Bennington VT, which is where we stopped for a rest and a cappucino at a South St. cafe. Funky little town that gets it's winter revenue from skiers and summer revenue from hippies revisiting their youth.

Further on down the road, we're on Route 9 driving through the Green Mountain range of Vermont. Lots of terrific scenery in these hills as Cece and I stop at the top of Hogback Mountain for a lookout before heading down the other side and a lunch stop in Peterborough, NH. Yet another artists community. Everything that isn't a city in these areas is a Woodstock-knockoff. Not like that's a bad thing. Had a great turkey/guacamole sandwich here at the award winning Harlow's Pub. This little hamlet is crawling with eateries and bars. It looks like a 'good time' town for sure.

We arrive at our modest digs in mid-afternoon. Time for a drink and a one hour drive into the vacation community of Hampton Beach. Originally we were booked to stay in town for two nights. Circumstances alter cases and we found ourselves with a new schedule and only one night to spend in NH. We abrogated the "two night minimum" rule which is why we're in Mancherster. Except for missing out on meeting some friends it turned out to be a fortuitous change.

This is a whole different culture, the American 'beach' town, than anything we have in Canada. We have these communities, a few, spotted around our vast land, but we don't have the 'culture' associated with the lifestyle. No Pallisades Park, no Atlantic City, no Coney Island, no Rockaway Beach...these are American signposts. And if they're all like Hampton Beach, it's a pretty vacant landscape. The beach is lovely, if crowded beyond enjoyment. It's a bit late in the day right now so there is some space but given the unending line of traffice on the 1/4 mile main strip, I'd guess they were packed in like sardines at noon. The town itself is like a carnival. It smells like a carnival anyway, all taffy and popcorn and franks. Kinda tacky. But the beach is right there. And the majestic blue ocean. And the tight-skinned girls in bikini's, so it's not all bad. And it ain't all to be had, either, not by far. I take a minute to walk out and dip my hand in the cool water. Get repaid with a shoeful of wet sand. Even trade.

Plenty of time until doors at the Hampton Beach Casino. It's not a real 'casino'. That's just an Indian word for 'big wooden barn near water'. We' duck into the Sea Ketch for an early dinner.

See, catch the pun? That should have been a sign like the episode of Cheers where Cliff Claven takes the boys out to a place that serves 'roast bif'.

Cece, ever the smart one, opts for some pasta again. I'm thinking that fish 'n chips is safe. Well I've had worse meals. Make that A worse meal. I ordered a hamburger in Glasgow once and got a battered-deep-fried-beef-puck with some dicey spices. No bun. No mustard. Didn't really resemble anything I'd come to know as a 'hamburger'. The fries were excellent though, so it was half a meal. Here the fries were frozen only a few minutes before serving. As for the fish, I can live with the demise of the noble halibut, either haddock or cod will do in a pinch, but what is this???? The batter is soggy and tasteless. That's why they put the 'beer' in beer batter! I think they were previously frozen as well. What a horrific meal.

Oh, well, time for some drinks and music. Metal detectors at the door are once again foiled and we have time to imbibe a bit before the main act. Jonny Lang is letting his second-guitarist open with a half hour solo set. He looks like the geek from Sloan, plays a few neat riffs, but preaches way too much. Even sucks us into listening to a Christian song by promising some 'rock n roll' about 15 minutes into the set. Had me focussed for a bit. He does close with a crowd-pleaser, a very enjoyable version of Hey Jude, which is saying a ton 'cause I hate that song.

Not very good seating arrangements in this barn. Cafeteria seating. Loud metal chairs and tightly packed tables. Fearing the worse when the show comes on, a constant scraping of the floor as people move about, I choose to stand under the speaker banks where I'm joined by an assortment of drunks, debutantes and dilettantes. I mean that pejoratively. Pre-show entertainment is provided by a post-pubescent, slightly inebriated, blonde who is showing her girlfriends the fine art of oral sex using a beer bottle to demonstrate. Mr & Miss Prissy, a 30-something couple from Hoboken, NJ take offence and voice it. Other girl in the party, the brunette with a smile like a magnet, screams back: "Wait'll you see my boobies!" Yup, think I've found my spot for the show.

Without much ado Jonny Lang is onstage with a paired down ensemble. Himself, a drummer and a bass player. Three songs in I still haven't heard anything familiar and I'm mostly thinking about the facial expressions lead guitarists make and how they have little place in the art of performing music. OK, Hendrix was whacked on acid and probably didn't even know his guitar was on fire, so there's an excuse for his expressions. BB King is freakin' 80 years old so we'll give him that scrunched-up-prune-face thing just out respect for his longevity. Everybody else runs the risk of looking either crazed or constipated. Plus, I seriously believe Jonny could be lounging on his couch in his ninja turtles jammies, with his Star Troopers puffy-slippers, guitar sitting in his lap, and burn of a riff that'll strip the eyelids off your face. No need for the affectations on stage. Sometimes I let observations like this ruin entire concerts for me...but not tonight. That'll be taken care of from the stage.

Finally, a flicker of recognition as the band launches into a hot version of A Quitter Never Wins. The trio has been joined onstage by another guitarist and a keyboardist to fill out the band.

Jonny's guitar playing is very impressive, even if his song selection leaves something to be desired. He's right up there with Jack White and Charlie Sexton when it comes to my own exposure to the position. He changes guitars for every song, which might be a little precocious, but I guess the virtuouso's get like that.

After that brief respite we're back into the no-mans-land of unknown songs. I know Cece is a little better versed in his catalogue but we're still getting a healthy dose of the yet to be released album with the Christian themes. I'm not feelin' very Christian these days as I see the philosophy has been hijacked and put to bad use. (OK, pop quiz: What "days" is the author talking about? 313 AD? 787AD? the 1300's? the 1500's? during the Jesuit onslaught of the post-discovery years? those friendly slave-ownin'/witch huntin' Christians of colonial America? the Reagan years? or Dubya's more recent crusade? See? It's not easy being nice if these guys can't do it.)

Stepping down from soapbox.

Jonny shoulda played more familiar tunes. He could have dropped a few covers into the set. Or a few more covers, as his take on Stevie Wonder's Living In the City was a highlight of the evening. If he wasn't inclined to do that, at least a couple more songs from his breakthrough, and to date the album that marks the apex of his career, Lie To Me.

We did get the title song in the encore and a soulful version of When I Come To You but sadly missed Hit the Ground Running or Rack Em Up. I also missed the brunettes boobies if they made an appearance as I had to move about 12 feet to avoid the Moron Tabernac Choir that started singing along. Overall I give the show a 5/10. The drummer was excellent. Hard pounding, light on the bass, heavy on the skins and cymbals. Jonny's playing and singing was as advertised, excellent and improving. Worth another show in a venue more conducive to listening, perhaps.

Long ride on Sunday to reach Darien Lake NY for tonights show. All Interstate, no fun at all. Last time here we saw Dylan and the Dead, and as always, the DeadHeads brought their two-hour traffic jam with 'em. None this time, clear sailing right into the non-preferred, takes-two-hours-to-exit, far lot. No metal detectors here and I didn't even offer up my bag for inspection. Nor did I get stopped. Hope these guys never get a job at the airport. Cece is tasting a margarita while I quaff a cold beer and watch the crowd.

Excellent seats tonight, dead center, just to the right of the soundboard. Willie's onstage 5 minutes early. Doesn't have the sons with him this tour, just the same raggedy collection of 2nd cousins and that Mickey Raphael guy on harmonica. Willie's crowd is loud and proud and not very attentive. Cece and I are bracketed by two couples who are at their first concert since the kids got out of diapers. The kids have kids now. Both of them talked right through the songs and then applauded or whistled loudly. That's incongruous to me. Either you care enough to shut-the-fuck-up during the songs or you don't. If you don't, then there's no need for the applause. Am I missing something here? It's our good fortune that neither of them return for Fogerty's set.

Willie's just willie. Harmless fluff. Got no idea how he got the reputation he has as an American Legend. I mean, I like his politics, I even like his tunes, but c'mon, he treats every song with a casual disdain for the heart and soul of the lyrics. Clap-a-long, sing-a-long...arrrrgggggghhhhh, I can do that at home. The guy on my right probably would have sung the songs for me for free ... actually, he did, which didn't make it more enjoyable. He almost connected a couple times, most notably on the songs that contained the word "Buffalo" (nearby major American city). So that's a cheap score at best. Still, he's still movin', and that's smile inducing. We did get a more engaged version of the new song, Superman, that he wrote while recovering from being old. And all the hits to boot, as always, 'cause it's the same show I've caught 8 previous times with little change. I cring when I have to note I've seen Willie more often than any other band except for Bob Dylan and Jack White, but it doesn't hurt that much. Of course 8 of those times were opening for Bob and the 9th is tonight so it's not like the needles' just stuck or something.

John Fogerty! #641 on my list of things-to-do-before-i-die. Loved CCR, right from the swamp to that acid stuff in the early '70's. Never got the chance to see them live. This evening was a suitable replacement. Now here's a guy who knows how to treat his fans. The wait between sets was a little long, almost 50 minutes, which means, had i closed my eyes at the beginning of the Willie set I could have had a two-hour nap. After lights go down we waste no time getting to the good stuff and the torrent of music does not abate until the closing chords of Proud Mary.

John opens fast and furious with the raucous Travellin' Band. This was one of the first CCR songs I took to that was released after I became aware of them. The early, cajun music, I took a while to cotton too. This rock stuff struck a chord the first time out.

Making sure we understand where the night is going he follows that with that muddy paeon to youth and Huck Finn, Green River. If "barefoot girls dancin' in the moonlight" doesn't do it for you then just "pick up a flat rock and skip it across the Green River". Two songs and he's already summed up Creedence Clearwater's entire oeuvre. Almost.

A little nod out to the hippies with a Woodstock story. John takes the time out to clarify he didn't play this song at the Fair, he wrote it about the Fair. Not sure why that was necessary unless memory loss is a by-product of living in the '60's. Any excuse for Who'll Stop the Rain is ok in my book.

Bang, smash, into major treat #1 for the evening, a rocking, rolling, version (is there any other?) of It Came Out Of The Sky. A slam at greed of all kinds and what happens when there's only one of something. Don't matter, feels good to hear it. Hope Jodi holds out for the 17 million.

Willie Nelson comes back on to duet on a very passable Jambalaya. Fogerty, straight up, would have made this major treat #2 but that'll have to wait a bit.

More swamp music from the master in Born On the Bayou, followed by a wall-of-sound attack on Commotion. The tempo stays at breakneck speed with Rambunctious Boy before we get that aforementioned treat #2.

Lookin' Out My Backdoor has to be one of the all-time great summer drive feel good songs. Right up there with Mungo Jerry's In the Summertime. A mind-altering, mood-altering romp through time and space. Crazy shit, so enjoyable it should be illegal.

Fogerty's delivered a lot already and points to a stuffed, scarecrow that was part of the Jack Daniel's tent, saying: "Look at that guy, he's not moving at all." Then asking, "what do i got to do?!?!!??" Workin' the audience like we're sitting in his living room.

Some newer, or less known, or post-CCR, tunes; Hot Rod Heart, Bootleg and Deja Vu, wrap themselves around a couple great funky tunes in an extended Ramble Tamble and the smile inducing, I Heard It Through The Grapevine.

John introduces the featured guitarist as Billy Burnette. Qu'elle surprise. He'd had a brief and forgetable stint in Bob Dylan's road band back in the spring of 2003. It was his misfortune to replace Charlie Sexton at the helm. A hard act to follow even if you're given the time to develop. As it was he got a dozen or so shows in Australia and was replaced by the bluesy Frenchman, Freddy Koela. He's much more in his element here, able to display his rockabilly heart and chops.

Family talk about his 4 year old blonde, blue eyed daughter, who has been featured on the screens at side stage all night, and his not much older, blonde blue eyed wife before he launches into the totally unrelated Have You Ever Seen the Rain?

Some talk through the show about the Vietnam War and how the past seems to be repeating itself, received moderately well by the audience but there's not much melodrama tonight as Keep On Chooglin' and Rock and Rolls Girls gets our mind back to the matter at hand.

The show closes strong with hit after hit as Fogerty unveils Down on The Corner, and you can just see raggedy Willie blowin' harp for your nickels. All of the CCR catalogue is prone to 'mondegreens' but I've misheard : "doubles on kazoo" as "devil's on the loose" for years. Still prefer my version. Superb guitar in this song, instantly recognizable riff just sends shivers of joy through your body. Fogerty's a very active 61 year old, seems to be having the time of his life.

Centerfield, with the 'baseball bat' guitar is slightly marred by some fumbled lyrics to open and an extended break when Fogerty makes a foray into the audience to fetch some flowers from a fawning female fan. Fortunate Son shock-rocks us back to the real world and in the encore, Proud Mary promises that the wheels will keep on turnin'.

Not much absent from this set. Energy to spare, good times , old times and time to get to the vehicle before the large mass of the crowd. We exit the grounds in a record 15 minutes!

A lot of miles, some hits and misses but always a joy to be able...

Next up: Robert Gordon (w/ Chris Spedding) in Toronto

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Raconteurs
in Ann Arbor
and Cleveland

on the road again'
chasin' music with my friends.
oh right, Willie's not until next weekend but Cece and I had the pleasure of catching a couple Raconteurs shows in the company of Ryan and Teri...and some other friends along the way.

The Kids are in about noon on a scorching hot Friday, there's cold Guinness in the fridge and a refreshing pool waiting in the backyard. That's where I find them three hour later when I return from work. We have steaks and chops on the barbie but Ryan is always treated to some succulent WingMachine wings when he visits Toronto. By late evening everyone's pretty well satiated and excited about the upcoming weekend.

Morning comes early for the youngun's. One advantage to the baggage that comes with don't need no stinkin' alarm to wake up. It's help sleeping you need.

No traffic and an uneventful trip to the state of 10,000(or more) lakes, Michigan. Shortly before crossing the border Cece spots a small highway sign promising food, The 50's Diner. Right up our alley, diner food, fuel for the soul. We are planning on stopping in Madison OH at the Nifty 50's Diner on our way home this weekend. This was quite a coincidence happening upon this little building a couple kilometers off the main highway. Same great motif...antique road signs, lots of terrific James Dean photo's, a wide assortment of Elvis memorabilia and some rather funky time pieces. A pleasant stop on a wonderful sunny day. Been making great time to here and we're set to go the distance.

That distance wasn't too far before we find ourselves in an hour and twenty minute lineup at the border. Not the worst but it sure adds a lot to a 4 hour trip. Don't be afraid of the American border, no matter what you hear on the news. If you have the proper papers, are white, middle-class and middle-aged, then chances are pretty decent you'll get through with little trouble.

One quick stop at Mount Hazel Cemetery just on the outskirts of Livonia to gaze at the tombstone of Son House, a blues great who settled in the area and inspired many an artist in his time and after...including Jack White. I'd planned on reading a biographical piece from a great travel book I have, The Tombstone Tourist, but the place was infested with nuclear hornets so we filmed from a distance after our initial approach. The cemetery on Lahser Rd is no longer in use but there are two broken down fences that lead to a circular road. He's buried in the 'lower half'. You'll know why the quotes are there if you ever visit. A very impressive stone bears his name and epitaph:

From here we're but a few minutes from our friend Jacki's place in Livonia. Her brother Craig and his girlfried Shelly are ducking a wedding to visit with us before the reception. Jacki's pups greet us at the door and make their prescence felt for a few minutes before being ushered to the spacious backyard. Margarita's are soon being poured and with Tom Waits keeping us company from the dvd player stories are traded and plans are exchanged as everyone basks in our combined good fortune. Craig does us the pleasure of playing a rendition of John Prine's Christmas in Prison, a favorite of Cece's. Ryan picks up the guitar but we shut the movie camera off 'cause it goes to his head when we pay him too much attention. Actually, he's shy and we've not as much time as we'd like.

A quick check of directions and we're off to the hotel and then to Ashley's Bar, a brewhouse and whiskey house all in one. How can you go wrong? Jacki's slated to meet us here and our friend from Bay City, Todd, has come south with a buddy, Mark. Gotta take advantage to touch base with friends when you're crossing their porch. We missed Dean this trip but we'll get him next time. Everyone finds the place in time to get a very nice meal. I settled on the pork loin in a cherry sauce, 'cause I'm in Michigan and cherry sauces are a big thing here. Ryan and I are on the streets for treats before he heads back for more drinks. Teri finds an Urban Outfitters that is just screaming out her name. I find a spot in the line at the will call window for my tickets.

No will call until doors! I step in line, hoping that I'm not too late. If they are waiting until that time to dish out the tickets I don't want to be around the block. As fortune would have it Brendan Benson and Patrick Keeler are walking the streets outside the venue. I have a momentary brain freeze and can't nail Patrick's first name so I pass on the chance to say a word to him. Brendan, however, has been cornered against a shop window by a crazed crowd of fans...ok, maybe he wasn't cornered exactly and the crowd may not have been crazed. Actually the two girls may not have even been a crowd. Bad news is I didn't have my camera, either still or video, nor a pen. So I just shake his hand, tell him the band played a kick-ass set at Lollapalooza, thanked him for the music and moved back to the line.

A wasted opportunity.
Things I should have said: "Dude, I thought Jack would be carrying this band but your performances are impressive." or
"Here's 5 buck's, there's a McDonald's around the block. Do yourself a favour and snake a burger down your throat."
Maybe next time.

Strike up a conversation in line with a Michigan State couple and their very young son. They only cross the amber/green line for really special occasions. This ranks as one, as father and son are fans of Jack White in all his incarnations.
Conversation inevitably turns to the Stripes and Dad mentions he saw Jack collaborate onstage with...wait for it...Bob Dylan of all people!
"I was there," I reply, expanding on that by letting him know I've seen Dylan a handful of times Detroit that is.
His wife chips in with; "Don't get him started on Dylan, he'll never stop." I hear that a lot. Usually it's Cece saying it.
Dad carries on with some highlights. "He did a great show at the Auditorium in Chicago a while ago."
"I was there," I reply, "with the people we have here with us today."
"Ya," he carries on, "the Comstock show was good too."
"I missed that but the other people with us today were there."
The wife, sensing they needed something unique offers up the piece de resistance; "We saw him with Willie Nelson at Cooperstown!"
"I was there," I reply, "it was the first of 7 ballpark shows that took us to New Haven, Brockton, Richmond, got a show cancelled by a hurricane in Maryland, Lexington, South Bend and quick pop out for a tour ending show in Kansas City."

Now that I had them reeling, I dropped the Rolling Thunder bomb and dusted off my broom. You see I'm sitting at 95 lifetime dates and there are four dates scheduled in my immediate area for the fall 'new album' tour. Think I'll see those and retire at 99. I mean three digits would be excessive, eh?

Will call's open...woo hoo, shouldn't be long now.

Or so I thought.

Should be easy. Tickets in alphabetical order. Slightly complicated by the fact they had two window open. Further complicated by the fact there were two piles of tickets: one for ticketmaster will call, one for fan club will call. Add to this that people are showing up without the proper papers and we aren't two patrons in before there's four piles of tickets and mass confusion. At least we're close.

Inside the venue in plenty of time. Sweet place this Michigan Theater. We got great seats about 11 rows back, dead center. Show opens on time with a 45 minute set from Kelley Stoltz. What can I say about Kelley? Why don't I start where I always do...with completely unfounded subjective opinions that don't speak to his talent at all. (You should read my Ron Sexsmith review.) First off, your music career should take off before your hair does. Or wear a hat. (See Dwight Yoakum)
Secondly, lose the keyboards at the front of the stage and the attached 'fuzz wheel thingie'. You've got someone to play those, it clutters the stage up and it's ruining Bob Dylan's current show (not that you're to blame for that). The distortion thing has been done by Hendrix, you can't do it better.
Third, name the starting line-up of the 1951-1952 Red Wings.

He played a 45 minute set with a few promising spots. Best among them was one about your mother knowing more about you than you can sleep with, I think, a song called Memory Collector. Early musical highlights of the set were the 'pennywhistle song' and some nice sounding slide work on Birdies Singing.

Spoken-word highlight of the set was an attempt to name the roster of the World Champion Detroit Tigers of 1984. Over two songs. Apparently he's recorded this. Hopefully the second take 'cause tonight he leaves out the starting catcher, Lance Parrish. It was fun, the moment represented his greatest success in engaging the somewhat disinterested and docile crowd. Perhaps sensing this Kelley takes a page from the Wilco "How to Treat the People Who Pay Your Salary When They Don't KowTow" handbook and tries to goad them into standing. "You just relax now, in 30 minutes you'll be going crazy." I'm left thinking that's more a reflection of the difference between his set and the next one rather than any cosmic change the crowd is going to undergo in the intervening half hour. Not sure if that was his point. The real point is he was up against that dreaded nemesis of all opening acts: anticipation!

The set does close strong with some gutsy, almost garage-rock songs. This is why he doesn't need that extra keyboard. More guitars. And more cowbell, can't get enough of that. Kelley is a local boy and besides the homage to the baseball greats he tosses out a couple other area references: a tip of the hat to upholstery legends, The Muldoons and a comment about spending all his extra cash in the record stores of Ann Arbor.

Now the niceties are out of the way, time for the main course. I comment to Cece that it's not a good sign the two seats directly in front of us have remained empty through the opening set right up to this moment...minutes before the Raconteurs are set to take the stage. That likely means one thing and one thing only. The owners of those seats are still in the bar and have been there a while. Sure enough, as the preshow music is playing, in stumbles a drunk and his younger brother. And he's talkative, just my luck. I do my best to be polite but firm...I'm here to watch the band, not chat with the spawn of WCFields. His brother keeps interjecting helpful, if perhaps too subtle, hints like: "Shut the fuck up, will ya?" and "They don't want to hear you." The drunk brother offers up the information that the younger one is simply paranoid 'cause he likes to smoke the chronic weed. He further spews onto me the information that he's been drinking Jagermeister all night. I reply, "Really? I never would have guessed." When the band takes the stage he turns around and... doesn't make another sound all through the evening, just thoroughly enjoys himself without making a nuisance. That's what drinkin' is all about when it's done right.

So have you heard about the Raconteurs?

Before you continue reading go to their site using the link above. Find where they are on tour near you, or far from you. Get tickets. Then come back and find out why, but don't waste a second getting the tickets. Tempus fugit.

Jack White is a seminal talent.
An artist for his generation.
The Fourth Face on the Mount Rushmore of Rock:
Robert Johnson, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan and Jack White.
Unconscious talent.
Normally i try to stay away from the hyperbolic and this is one of those times.

And now he's in a band. OK, so we got that over with.

The band has been trying hard to develop a distinct personality. Jack refuses to field questions about the White Stripes when they are doing press. Don't ask about Meg and whether she's back in Switzerland spittin' out twins either. He won't tell. He might answer a question or two about the model chick and how she dresses him much better these days but I wouldn't ask it if I'm in arms length. He has a temper, doncha know? I digress...which is my middle name.

Anyway, the sound of the band, during their first 20 shows or so, has been a little muted. The album is wonderful, a very good collaboration on such short time. The rhythm section is made up of two young guys from The Greenhornes: Patrick Keeler on drums and Jack Lawrence, (the creepy/cute lookin' Deliverence/Revenge of the Nerds guy, depending on your bias. I think he's one cool dude wrapped up in a geek outfit)on bass. They've brought along another local player to fill out the sound on keyboards and extra-guitar. And Brendan's there, taking most of the vocal duties (about 60/40), some guitar work (about 30/70) and splitting the 'cuteness quotient' evenly at 25% with the other three. His voice is terrific. Better than Jack's. Not as interesting, but better.

The biggest factor in developing a style distinct from the Stripes, other than the extra band members, has been the song selection. The original songs come from Jack and Brendan I assume but it's the covers that are different. No more Dylan. No more delta blues via Son House, Robert Johnson or Blind Willie McTell. Instead we get a 'glam rock' cover in It Ain't Easy, a 'diva' cover in Bang,Bang, (whether you remember it as a Cher tune or a Nancy Sinatra tune) and assorted garage band covers.

In the early live shows it seems Jack has been putting a lid on some of his more extravagant guitar moves. Over the past few weeks that has been removed. It's been evident on the latter recordings but the final proof was posited this weekend. The Lollapalooza set from August 4th was webcast and it was a one-hour smashfest. It's coming out time for the Raconteurs.

The sound in the venue is a bit 'muddy' and VERY LOUD. As in, I've seen a large number of shows since I was first exposed to Alice Cooper back in 1972 and this was the SECOND LOUDEST show ever. Ear-drum rattling, teeth chattering, bone splinterin', seat vibratin', LOUD. So when I say 'muddy' i don't mean that in a bad way but in a Phil Spector wall-to-wall kind of way.

An instrumental jam that contains the riff from Hands opens the show and morphs into Intimate Secretary. The crowd responds wildly to Jack's couplet in the opening verse and the band drowns it out with noise. Jack shouts out to Iggy Pop (who's in the audience) and the Stooges as the song closes.

Without delay we're into Level with that great little vocal 'call and response' duet on the repetitive intro before it explodes into a balls out narrative on the difference between a 22 year old girl and a 22 year old boy. One's worthy. Still on the Stooges theme, sort of, more 3 Stooges really, Jack and Brendan are engaged in a little wrestling match-cum- head butting contest as they trade guitar links. Jack, pesky little gnome that he is, waits until Brendan is leaning hard against him (think about it, Jack is one buffed specimen of manhood and Brendan looks like he's just been released from rehab)

Jack's at the mic imploring the fans to clap along to the next song, telling us he won't be offended if we do...the number 3 slot for your hit single, Steady As She Goes. I guess they were trying to find something along the lines of Father and Son by Cat Stevens or My Way by Paul Anka...just missed it by 'this much'. Good advice in any case... find yourself a girl, settle down. If you find the right one it's all you need.

Acoustic guitars, another short head-to-head confab between Brendan and Jack, then we're into the wonderful story of a lifetime...ummm, Together, with a caveat. A mind-blowing couplet in this song. Don't know who wrote it but it works on so many levels, both as a biographical note and a promise of future excitement in this relationship: "I'm adding something new to the mixture/ so there's a different hue to the picture..." That's a very cool rhyme. I thought Jack sang this line so I was a little surprised to see Brendan slide over to the other vocal mic and raise the tone of his voice a little to sound very much like Jack, when he gets into that helium-phase.

Brendan stays forward for It Ain't Easy, the aformentioned 'glamrock' cover. True to it's original flavour it's both a crowd-pleaser and a worthy version. Maybe next tour we'll get Rebel, Rebel from Jack in this slot.

The record's been out about a nanosecond, the band is only twice that age, so i guess it's time for the remixes to start coming out. There's something that has been put on the B-side of a single called the "Bane Rendition". It's being used as the rather extended intro to Store Bought Bones, an alternate version, then the album version. Now I don't know who the fuck Bane is but he owes Norman Greenbaum some royalties 'cause that's "Spirit in the Sky" dudes. Of course, it's not Spirit in the Sky as it changes into a rollicking SBB.

Next up, highlight of the evening, a cover of Sonny Bono's Bang Bang, first released in 1966 with Cher's terrific vocals. Showing the awesome and fearsome power of contemporary popular culture, most people reference the Nancy Sinatra version that made it to the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino's homage to the cuisinart, Kill Bill (again and again). Jack has made it his own. Excruciatingly pleasureful and increasingly lengthy delays before the delivery of 'bang bang', followed by the crashing thunder of the 5 man, mostly electrical, band. Then, as the song develops, the 'bang bang' becomes a primal scream and the band's response a barrage of note bombs. All this wrapped around a soulful, crying, guitar line.

At this point I'm starting to hope my recording doesn't come out.
This stuff is too good to give away.
You should have to be here as a witness.

There's no rest for the wicked and we're fast into Broken Boy Soldiers, another sonic boom song. Jack makes more use of the 'mega-mic', a microphone that acts like a fuzz-box, distorting his voice, making it...wait for it...shrill, if you can believe one can make the distinction. Sounds like he's doing that Winchester Cathedral song with the megaphone. (You will now be able to do the math, ascertain my age and know why I can't hear the high notes.)

Yellow Sun follows, more acoustic but no less quick. Blistering fast pace to most of the songs and though this could be deemed one of only two 'mellow' songs on the album, and though there's a colour in the title, there's nothing mello yello about this one. Another cautionary tale wrapped up in a pretty melody. Fear conquers love.

Another extended, experimental jam to open the last song of the main set, Blue Veins. If Steady As She Goes may be poking fun at 'settling down' there's no doubt this song is about the virtues of unconditional true (blue) love. It's an epic song. A career-maker for anybody but Jack. I kinda like it.

Encore break.

One minute later the show closes with a second nod to Iggy Pop as BrenJa play a riff from TV Eye before launching into a cover of the Flamin' Groovies Heading For the Texas Border. QUICK, somebody call The Standells, their Dirty Water has been totally ripped off. At the very least let Status Quo know things have changed.

And we close with Hands.

That was one kick-ass show.

Off to a bar attached to the parking garage as pre-arranged by jacki. There are still tables when we get there, a distinct advantage of going to a show with a predominantly underage crowd. I waive to Cece to grab one of those tables as I head towards the lineup at the bar. Unbeknownst to me everybody at the table was ordering drinks and being served while I patiently waited my turn. Fearing it would be hard to get back I add a couple Long Island Ice Teas to the order of 1 pitcher of Stella Artois. There was barely enough room on the table to fit it all on. Cece, ever the trooper, downs her Jack&Coke and takes one of the Iced Teas off my hands. Ryan and Todd help out with the pitcher of beer. In the end I was probably not TOO impaired as I left the bar.
Great conversation, as always when we get together with different groups of friends on the road. I mean if you can't have fun when you're out catching live music...then when can you have fun?
Todd and Mark are working on a theater production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show that is going to knock the socks off of the natives of Saginaw, MI. They'll just be standin' there in their bvd's with their leg suspenders and no socks. Here's some information on it if you're in the area and up for a good time:

The 303 Collective presents

by Richard O'Brien

directed by Stasi Schaeffer
musical direction by Noel Howland
scenic design by Marc Beaudin


Caitlin Berry
Paul Kostrezwa
Natalie Myers
Brian Bateson
Deena Nicol
Kristyn Hemmingway
Todd Berner
Honesty Elliott
Samantha Whetstone
Scott Warnke

August 17, 18, 20, 25, 27 at 8:00 pm
August 19 and 26 at Midnight!

Tickets: $10 ($8 for students)
Call 989-980-7746 for reservations

The 303

303 Adams at Niagara, Old Town Saginaw

Here's a MAP and a key to their door.

Jacki's lookin' forward to a few upcoming Tom Waits dates.
Ryan and Teri are petitioning the Government of Canada to see if they can be adopted but not leave their real parents.
We're thanking whoever is in charge for the stuff that comes our way.

Everyone concurs, it was LOUD. Not sure if I mentioned that earlier.

Sleep and off to Cleveland in the morning.

For some reason I can't understand I am having trouble making up time on the highway. It's not that I'm driving slow, it's just taking longer than expected.
I mean, we left at 9:00, the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame is only 2 and a half hours away and we're pulling into the parking lot sometime after 12. I know it ain't a lot but i get a little compulsive about these things. I think it was the construction. NO, that's not it... it was Denny's. Took about a half hour to get our food after ordering. Ordering wasn't quick either. It was getting so bad I almost asked the waitress if there was something wrong. Like were we black or something. (Wife's Note: Please don't flame Marcel. This is not meant to be a reflection on the African-American community. It's a reference to this fiascoamong others.)
Food was good though, if too plentiful. I can only imagine there are mothers in China telling their children: "You just be grateful you don't have to eat all the food those kids in America do!"

Is there a line here? Have I stepped over it yet?

So, we're at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame to see the fabled Bob Dylan's American Journey 1956-1966 Two words: Over Rated.
Lot's of cool artifacts but how long can you stare at a handwritten page containing the lyrics to Blowin' in the Wind? Or a musical instrument? Or listening to an album version of a floor was taken up with this type of 'interactive' pablum. You could spend a day here if you want to sit through every official movie release they play in the theater. The highlight of the exhibit was finding the monitor that showed the outtake from Eat the Document where a whacked-out Bob was doing some stream-of-consciousness, or verbal vomit exercise, with a business sign that contained the words; bird, bath, dog and commission, among others. It's an extended version where Bob moves away, then back to continue for another gut-splitting 30 seconds. I played it over three times. Would have done it more but it was time to go.

Cece spent a little time walking through the Roy Orbison exhibit. More modest but because of that, less disappointing. We did a 'power sweep' of the other stuff on display. Not much depth to anything. I've seen more interesting shit in collections owned by friends. Maybe I'm just jaded.

The hotel's not ready with our room. Everything is closed in Cleveland on Sunday. Works calling on the phone every 15 minutes. How can things get worse? Well, they can't, which is why they started getting infinitely better.

We stop by the House of Blues to pick up our will call tickets. Box office is open and though it takes them a second to find Teri's order (those TWO separate piles again and that requirement to memorize the order of 26 consecutive letters) the girl in the cage was otherwise very helpful. She clued us in to a little known anomaly about the venue. If you ate at the restaurant attached to it you were given early entry! Before they opened the external doors. As we were looking for a place to eat in this closed-down city and a comfortable spot for the show, we couldn't turn down the offer. Now being novices, we didn't make the best of it but we still ended up with prime seats of our choice.

Dinner was great, our waiter was a boisterous fella who was also a big Bob Dylan fan. Go figure. We find ourselves about 20 people back in the line for early entry once we've finished our meal and quaffed a few drinks. We are also stuck in an unairconditioned hallway that is the service entrance to the restaurant. The line-up starts precicely at 4 pm, when the restaurant opens. The doors to the venue open at 7:15 pm. It's getting warm and it's only 5:30 pm. If you want to do this early entry thing right send one of your party to the waiting area at 4 pm. Hand them a drink. Rotate every 20 minutes.

While waiting in line we met another well travelled couple. I chose not to play "i'll show you mine, if you show me yours" with them.

Early on it's very comfortable. Not until about an hour before promised doors does the line start to double-back, making it precarious for those at the end hoping to keep their place. The venue security starts to move people into tighter lines and they bring people from the back to form a second, then a third, and by the time we were ready to enter, a fourth line. Now it looked like we were about 150 people back and not too happy about it. I voiced a mild displeasure about what seemed to be a gross injustice, until the security properly separated the lines upon opening the door and we were in like Flynn. The balcony called. Not only was it wide open but it was theater seating! Front row, very tight to the stage. Excellent.

I'm not taping Kelley Stoltz because the security people threatened to confiscate any media they caught in use during the show. Plus, I need some time to drink. A shame too because it turns out to be a much more engaging set than last evening, due primarily to a very excited GA crowd that was happy to be warmed up by some talented artists; an advantage to having less likely means you've been paying your dues and developing. Not sure they can take my rig but I'm taking the least amount of chances possible. As it is it was a little difficult getting by the metal detectors. Good thing Cece noticed them on the security in enough time to allow me to change my subterfuge.

The sound tonight is much better than last night. They are using the house amps, not their own bank. It's crystal clear and still LOUD. REALLY LOUD. It made Cece's hair move. It made Ryan's shirt move. It made my seat vibrate but I wasn't telling anybody in case it was just the dinner I had.

Much the same show. The high level of excitement and excellence is still there. Jack is using up all of the small stage he has available with his fluid moves back and forth, to and fro. It's obvious he coulda been a dancer in another lifetime. Brendan stomps about the stage a bit too.

Some songs are much longer this evening. All the players taking liberty with their solo's on this tour ending show. Bang, Bang is even more explosive than last evening, if that's possible. We lose It Ain't Easy and Heading For the Texas Border but get 5 songs in their place: 5 on the 5; a cover honoring the recently departed Arthur Lee, A House Is Not A Hotel; an unknown bluesy song; Crazy, a cover of the Gnarls Barkley hit of the summer and a super-sped up version of Call It A Day, from the first Raconteurs album, almost unrecognizable.

Excellent outing, very impressive band.

Next morning finds us skipping our stop at the Nifty 50's Diner in Madison OH because our guests have another 5+ hours on the bus to get them to their home after we've driven the 5 hours from Cleveland.

Just one more enjoyable and successful outing in pursuit of a couple hours of entertainment each night.

Next weekend: Jonny Lang in New Hampshire and Willie Nelson/John Fogerty in Darien Lake.