Friday, April 30, 2010

Simon & Garfunkel
April 24,2010
New Orleans Jazzfest

So you're wondering why the tour was pushed back a couple months?
Take a listen here. They did us all a favour.

Having said that, the only place in the world you could roll out Simon & Garfunkel with an under-rehearsed Simon and a cracking-voiced Garfunkel, is New Orleans.
They don't call this city the Big Easy for nothing.

Our thoughts are with our friends and those strangers as they prepare to do battle with yet another disaster.

This recording suffers from a multitude of problems; poor positioning, I was wide right (I decided early I wouldn't wade into the mud for a better spot), a vocal crowd including Sir Clap-A-Lot and Chatty Cathy's, the artists onstage and a strong, persistent wind...the biggest culprit of all. It's also incomplete as we left at the encore so we'd be comfortably in place for Patti Smith. If you can tolerate those troubles, it testifies to the moment.

Now something magical did happen when it became apparent Art was not going to be able to deliver. He started by begging off some verses then left the stage for awhile. Upon his return things were no better but the audience was behind his every attempt 100%. It was heartwarming, if not acoustically divine. We'll get that in a couple of months.

A Hazy Shade of Winter
I Am A Rock
Keep the Customer Satisfied
Slip Sliding Away
El Condor Pasa
Scarborough Fair Canticle
Mrs Robinson/Not Fade Away
Homeward Bound
(Paul solo)
Diamonds on the Souls of Her Shoes
The Boy in the Bubble
That Was Your Mother
The Only Living Boy in New York
(Art Returns)
My Little Town
Bridge Over Troubled Water

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Patti Smith
April 24,2010
Tipitina's Uptown
New Orleans LA

Gotta love New Orleans.
Had a vacation planned for early April but it got bumped to late April due to reasons over which I had no control.
Wasn't planning on seeing any music this time through the States but circumstances alter cases and I ended up seeing 5 generations of the Neville's do this years "Nevillution" at Tipitina's in the French Quarter. Caught Art Neville's Funky Meters at Jazzfest in front of Simon and Garfunkel. Closed that Saturday night with Patti Smith at Tipitina's Uptown.

Patti was terrific. In great voice and a great mood. Her stage patter was political, satirical, hysterical and whimsical...all at once. She was playing the part of anarchist; "You can't depend on your fucking government for anything." Equally comfortable as the activist, raising consciousness about a local rebuilding effort. And nostalgic; "People think I'm the great-great-great-great- Grandmother of punk because I spit onstage....Have you ever tried singing AND swallowing?"

She had me at "Hello".

Patti Smith
Tipitina's, New Orleans, LA

Be My Baby
Redondo Beach
Free Money
Ghost Dance
Beneath The Southern Cross
Pushin' Too Hard (Lenny vocal, special guest Jan Savage from The Seeds, as introduced OR Peter Buck of REM as reported by Rolling Stone)
We Three
Dancin Barefoot
Ain't It Strange
?Black Leaves Are Falling? (a new song about Roberto BelaƱo)
My Blacken Year
Pissing In A River
People Who Died (Lenny, Tony, Patti vocals)
Wichita Lineman (Micheal Stipe vocal, also with Peter Buck,Scott McCaughey )
People Have The Power (with Stipe and Buck,Scott McCaughey )

Perfect Day
Because The Night

Backroads Tour
Day 9
The Yellowhammer State

Lots of road today as we drive into a bright, rising sun, heading East.

I've got a few things I want to see in Montgomery but it'll be just drive-by shootings as it's Sunday and everything is closed. I mean EVERYTHING. More on that later.

Montgomery has no traffic so we quickly find our way to the Civil Rights Memorial

and then the First White House of the Confederacy.

The Hank Williams Memorial was on our list and we ran into a little luck as we were approaching Montgomery when we came across his boyhood home in Georgiana, AL.

Only a short distance away his resting place.

We were told we couldn't buy beer or alcohol in Alabama on a Sunday but that didn't worry us because we were staying in Georgia this evening. I wasn't aware they had the same antiquated blue-laws still in place. What I did find peculiar was that you could buy pornography and hash-pipes, just not beer. Gotta wonder how the Churches missed that one.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Backroads Tour
Days 6 through 8
The Pelican State

First Day

A little late on this update but NO will do that to you.
There's almost nothing better than driving over Lake Pontchartrain...mostly because you are minutes away from the Crescent City.
Our host treats us to a day of local colour and a handful of bars. Unlike our '03 trip which was spent mostly in the French Quarter and in a drunken haze this trip allows us to see the rest of the a drunken haze.
We start at Gram Parsons grave, 'cause it's there and many don't know why. Afchter that bodysnatchers episode and a futile attempt to create ashes to scatter at joshua tree, Grams body ended up in the hands of his step-father and in a cemetary near Metarie, LA.
As we were wandering around trying to find the site a groundskeeper showed us the way, noting many people come through here for just this purpose. Seeing dead-people sometimes just reminds you how many wasted lives the '60's and 70's created.

More dead people at St Louis Cemetery #1, the voodoo queen, Marie Laveuax. When we happend upon this site there was a young man doing a documentary, explaining the juju that surrounds Marie. He relegated her unique knowledge of persons to her job as a hairdresser as well as a contact, via her daughter, with other sources of information. No magic involved.

Along the road we saw the house Bob recorded Oh Mercy in, Ann Rice's home before the fans made her move, and a tour of the Lower Ninth Ward where the greatest engineering failure in American history wiped out a neighbourhood.

Fats Domino's house is in decent shape, due to the help of Tipitina's fundraising effort.

Unfortunately there's no such fund-raising for the house next door.

One thing to keep in mind, amoung a hundred, is that parts of the 9th ward were decrepit before Katrina. The issues surrounding rejuvenation and rebuilding are complex. Efforts have been made, even if they were misguided.

A less distressing stop was made at Ernie K-Doe's bar.

You want bars? Visit NO. Lafitte's in the French Quarter is a nice spot to stop. The oldest building left standing after a series of burn-downs during the Spanish Occupation.

More comfortable are the bars on Frenchmans Street. Not quite 'locals only' but they are devoid of first-time-visitors. We stopped in at the Spotted Cat.

A quick stop by Tipitina's to pick up our Patti Smith tix rounded out the early day.

And a totally unrelated observation, here's what the Battle of New Oleans looked like from the wrong side.

Night time is filled with a show at Tipitina's French Quarter where 5 generations of the Neville's were partaking in "Nevellution". I can't remember them all and will need the help of my recording to refresh my memory but the night started with a youngun' I'll call 'Hip Hop Neville'. He didn't suck terribly but the band he had supporting him could have used some help.
When Snoop Dog Neville (Cyril) took the stage with Charmaine the night got better. Now I don't have my editing software with me and I don't even have headphones so I can barely hear this stuff on my laptop but the show turned around at Papa Was A Rolling Stone. Hope to have more good sounds after I get home. this recording is a little 'hot'. We missed seeing Art 'cause he was a little tired.

Papa Was A Rolling Stone

Day 2

Cece and I missed our chance for a plantation tour because I didn't know how long the drive was. That's ok, it's always nice to have a reason to go back.

We were supposed to be worried about the Gators but this cat has evil on his mind.

We did get up close and personal with some Gators during the swamp tour though.

Nightime entertainment was dinner with our hosts at Brigtsen's. Good food, good company, that shit can't be beat.

Day 3

Simon and Garfunkel at Jazzfest. Art's voice was shot but it was nice to see the audience cheer him on. Now it's one thing to have your voice suck at the Jazzfest where our $45 got us a ton of other acts, including Art Neville and his Funky Meters, but they best not bring this shit to Toronto where the tix are costing $250 dollars. I don't think the audience will be so kind.

Catch this wonderfully horrific version of Bridge Over Troubled Waters.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Backroads Tour
Day 5
The Magnolia State

"Where we going today, baby?" Cece asks over morning coffee.
I reply, "Tupelo, honey."

We spend the morning chasing down the signposts that are the young Elvis. At the museum they have the First Assembly Church the Presley's attended. It was moved here from somewhere else.

I don't know if the house was moved as well but it would have been an easier lift.

Next stop is for breakfast at Johnny's Diner, featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives but a favourite hangout of the young Elvis.

Check out the picture of the dude I had to kick out of this booth.

Now you can't tell from this picture but that is a beautiful shot of a young and gorgeous Elvis sitting at this booth. The restaurant is selling t-shirts, hats and cups BUT NOT prints of that photo, which they own. Quite the oversite. I mentioned it to the staff and they said it had never occured to them to do that...perhaps next time you stop in you can pick me up a print if they wake up to the possibilities.

The rest of the tour includes his primary school, high school and the hardware store where he bought his first guitar.

On the road again towards Meridian for a stop at the Jimmie Rodgers museum. Now I thought this was going to be a brief stop, merely a signpost, but the host at the museum made it much more than that as she regalled us with JR stories. Furthermore, even though it says "NO PHOTOS without permission from Jimmie Rodgers INC" she let me take out my camera. Only Cece and I in the place and she seemed happy to have company.

Great artifacts inside here, lots of postcards and letters, one from his stint in NYC to his sister asking why she doesn't write. A copy of his business card with a note on the back asking the promoter to treat the holder with respect. His performance tux and the travelling case he used when on the road.

The highlight (or intended highlight) was Jimmie Rodgers original guitar, made for him by Martin guitars and at the time, the only one in existence with a rosewood body and mahogany neck. It's kept in a safe. Excuse the glare in the lower corner. I have more pics but need to do some photo editing.

The real highlight, for me at least, was a quilt hanging on the wall with signatures of about a hundred country music stars. The story behind this was even more interesting. A lady in town got it in mind to create this and contacted various management companies for the different stars informing them of the project. She sent out 4 pieces of material to each and these stars signed them...then she quilted over the signatures. Timing is always of the essence and I was told she received the items back from Elvis' management on the day he passed away. Download the picture and zoom in ... a unique project. There are three other versions of this quilt but they are not for sale, not that I didn't ask.

Now we haven't been chasing down dead people at the rate we normall do but Jimmie's grave was just around the corner and we figured it wouldn't hurt to add another stone, or two, to our collection.

The day ends with a stop at Dunns Fall and a short ride to Hattieburg.

Tomorrow...the Big Easy.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Backroads Tour
Day 4
Tennessee again

Tonight I'll volunteer no opinions except this one...if you go to Nashville the #1 don't miss thing to do is ????
Visit the Ryman? No
Go to the Grand Ole Opry? No
Watch some hockey team play the Blackhawks? No

You gotta book a tour on the Nash Trash Pink Bus.

The most unorthodox and "R" rated city tour I've ever had. A laugh riot from start to finish. While they don't dish as much "trash" as you'd like they definitely engage the tourists and give you a different, if skewed, look at Nashville.

A stop at Jack Daniels to stock up filled our route to Hamilton AL where we're resting tonight. We have a friend in Kentucky who tells us Tennessee whiskey is swill but we think that's just sibling rivalry amongst a couple states(g)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Backroad Tour
Day 3
The Volunteer State

The morning starts with a quick stop at the Old Bardstown Village for a few shots of life before...well, pretty much before anything I knew. The buildings were made out of wood and they are falling apart. No need for pics, you'll see some samples later.

Off to the Volunteer let me volunteer some opinions. Americans and Canadians are a lot alike, and not. The differences are sometimes subtle, but telling, or if not telling, at least they beg a question. For instance, in the US all the bridges over the major interstates have fences. The question many people were throwing bricks onto passing cars to make THAT necessary? Try to pump gas here without being forced to pay for it first. The question many people fill up with gas and take off without paying to make THAT necessary? Many bridges are named after deceased law enforcement officers, a noble thing I think. In Canada we have a lot of unnamed bridges, the supply of bridges far outnumbers the demand for honorariums. In Canada I know lots of people but none who pay 25% of their income for medical insurance. In the Canadian dictionary there is no entry for 'co-payment', whatever that is. OK, off the soapbox for now.

Before we make our way into the city we take the opportunity to stop at Andrew Jackson's Hermitage, his homestead, just east of Nashville proper. The Hermitage is in some disrepair (not unlike America itself) and currently there's an effort being made to restore it (not unlike America itself). Ain't much to say about Old Hickory's crib, one ostentatious main mansion surrounded by decrepit slave quarters (not unlike America itself).

OK, NOW I'm off the soapbox.

Jackson did do me the favour of not having to chase down his carcass at some remote burial ground as he has chosen to spend eternity at home, with his family.

First stop in Music City is Jack's record store, Third Man Records. Interesting side project Jack has going, a big "fuck you" to the majors in the music industry who have forsaken developing new talent for the more cost efficient "let us shove some Idols you voted for down your throats, that way we know what you will buy even before we record it." I missed being in the city for Record Store Day where The Raconteurs played a set at the inhouse recording studio/venue. Got here too early for the release of Wanda Jackson's album.

Them's the breaks. Did pick up a hundred dollars worth of Stripes crap and could have spent another $300 on some rare vinyl if Cece didn't pull me out.

What's wrong with this picture?

It's one thing to build a replica of the Parthenon but it loses some of it's appeal if you let motorized vehicles park in front of it.

The night time is the right time, to be with the one you love, too many things get in the way in the day...yada, yada, yada. Cece and I spend a nice evening on the General Jackson cruising the Cumberland River and watching a hokey (but enjoyable) country music show.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Backroads Tour
The Bluegrass State

Normally I like my grass green, but today we'll make an exception.

Loretta Lynn's home in Van Lear, this should be easy.

You'd think.

If you ever try to find this place just when you think you must have gone wrong...keep going.

When you see this lovely road marker

you are almost there.

You're not nearly out of danger, but you're almost there.

The road gets narrower and the cliff-edge gets closer, so the thing to do is to drive right by the freakin' house so you gotta navigate a U-turn with a rock wall on one side and sure death on the other. Made it though...and that should be self-evident.

Unfortunately we couldn't find Webb's General Store on the way in so we were unable to arrange a tour. (This can be done by phoning ahead and Loretta's brother will take you in.) On the way in you don't see the front of this store, only the side.

Making our way out of coal country we cross the great state of Kentucky until we come to the Daniel Boone Forest, home of the Red River Gorge. More long and winding roads with the threat of imminent death a little more there are fences along the cliff edge. Some lovely scenery and the funky Nada tunnel bore into the mountain as you exit.

Hope to have a nice scenic shot for my collection but the photos require some work and work ain't on the agenda this week.

From there we stop in Lexington for dinner,drinks and a bit of conversation with longtime dylanpool friend aliasanything and spouse...who are Abby and Bryan in the real, non-interweb world. Some people you can't forget, even if you only meet them once or twice...Abby's on that list. The kids are working hard on their next EP and album and you can check out their sounds at The Rainjunkies site. Our plan was to stop in for an hour or so but time flies when you're having fun, so four hours later, we're back on the Bluegrass Hwy heading for Bardstown while watching a beautiful red-sky sunset.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Backroads Tour
Day 1
The Buckeye State

Staying far away from the big cities the day starts with a short detour from our Ashtabula hotel to the Hubbard House Museum, a late stage safe-house on the Underground Railroad.

We follow the south shore of Lake Erie west a few miles and land at the Nifty 50's Diner in Madison for a hearty breakfast prior to heading into the heart of Amish country.

Now Amish country wasn't the joy I thought it would be. No fault of the Amish who could be seen in their horse-drawn buggies holding up traffic on various roads. The problem was in the "Amish towns" which were really towns near Amish farms making a living off people like me who detour to see something authentic.

Lehman's Hardware in Kidron was worth the stop. Picked up a cast-iron frying pan. It was heavy. Some interesting 'way back' stuff in there if you want to pay $8,000 for a vintage round-edged fridge.

Berlin was too busy to stop and a little hilly so we moved on to Millersburg for food and a $12 Kodak Brownie camera that will find a place in my curio cabinet once it's nice and shiny, if never operable.

In Roscoe Village (near Coshocton) we came across a quilt...ahhh, this is the perfect memento of a trip to Amish country...except it was made in China. So much for authenticity.

Unfortunately we woke up to a chilly morning, snow threatening and wind blowing hard. This made it a little difficult to comfortably meander the streets in these little towns so perhaps I'm not being fair. Of course, the can just counter-blog if they feel hard done by.

We did come across a dangerously interesting, if a little paranoid, display of American liberty in action. This guy has some issues.

Heading to South Charleston we close the day with a trip to the Indian Burial Mound. When the Smithsonian excavated this site in 1840 they discovered 10 skeletons surrounding one 7 foot tall skeleton. Significance of that, I don't know, except that I'd imagine they were good at basketball as well as lacrosse.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bob Dylan
April 15-17, 2005
Boston Uncommon

5 years ago Dylan had a 3 night stand at Boston's Orpheum Theatre and he played 44 songs...42 of them were unique. What a weekend.

Tough Mama

Tomorrow Is A Long Time

Chimes of Freedom

it’s a crisp day but the sun is high and we cover a lot of ground before we happen upon the Littlest Bar. and they ain’t kidding. maybe room for 15-20 people safely. in the afternoon, there was enough room for all of us to squeeze in and order a round. or almost, a couple had to stand about outside, looking in. we must revisit in the evening, when it’s rockin’ or perhaps heavin’…it’s a little small to rock.
there’s still time for some late afternoon sightseeing before we make our way to dinner, organized by local Dylan fan, and friend, dancin’neathdiamondskies. and then the show.

the Orpheum is a bit past its prime, a tad worn down, most of the glitter long gone. but it’s cozy.
the band comes out quick, moving ‘double-time’ into a light and airy To Be Alone With You. a chance to celebrate life’s few pleasures. Bob’s still got the randomizer and rhyming dictionary on his keyboard and tonight the unfamiliar rhymes are centered around ‘walk the line’ and ‘yours and mine’. the rapid pace of the song has Bob stumbling through… “to many thoughts get in the boat?!?!?!?!” or something like that. I said it was light and airy. real nice fiddle break by…wait! where’s Elana? Donny Heron is playing the fiddle tonight and she’s nowhere to be seen. no time to think.

‘cause next up is a gift to Cece for missing it in Washington. tour debut, 5th live performance, 2nd I’ve been fortunate enough to catch…a more extended intro has us knowing, even before Bob leans forward to say… “Hazel…” and the crowd goes wild. a very good performance, evocative of the album version, if a little more road-weary. such a good sign I don’t even care we’re going to hear TDTD next.

then we don’t…we get a moody It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) with its wonderful palette of thought-dreams. so surreal a song, oft taken for granted due to its regular appearance, but just listen to the words. even Bob allowed, in his 60 Minutes interview…you can’t write like that, not on purpose anyway. much more controlled version than the scream-fest we had in Richmond VA last summer and just as captivating. more great fiddle work and the hole on the stage where Elana used to stand doesn’t seem as big.

a little jazz number to lighten the mood with If Dogs Run Free. perhaps the ‘low-light’ of this three night stand…and it didn’t suck at all. it’s a weak song at the best of times but a nice little interjection… “if dogs run free, then why not me (I don’t know!)”… makes it worthwhile in a small way.

now that he’s got us dozing Bob comes out with an uppercut that brings the audience to its feet as the familiar Robbie-esque guitar run leads us into Tough Mama. first for me since ’97...though it hasn’t been played much. it was part of the surprise London ’03 stand and had made its tour appearance last week in Milwaukee…on a Friday night. with Bob’s ‘day-of-the-week’ pattern, that was promising. and here it is again, a full blown power version. it’s cream-your-jeans time for Michey and –ryan- sitting in front of the soundboard, dead centre tonight. Bob nails all the lyrics, the pace is steady and fast throughout and he closes with an emphatic harp solo. well done.

heartbeats quicken as it sounds like we’re going to get… Frankie Lee and Judas Priest! Christ! if we get this, then maybe august west’s request for Joey can come true. ‘cept it’s not Frankie Lee and Judas Priest. it’s Shelter from the Storm…which is not a kick in the bags. a spare, country-ish version that trots along at a comfortable pace. well received by the appreciative crowd. for my taste, it’s much better than the fall ’02 versions I heard. I miss the harmonies from Charlie and Larry but Bob is much stronger this year. as an almost perfect rendition unfolds, Bob has a slight lyric stumble right at the “got my signals crossed” line…and you wonder if it’s a mistake or a macro-joke. either way, it’s ironic.

Georges’ drums usher in the more familiar, but always pleasing, Cold Irons Bound. once again, tonight it doesn’t disappoint and this can be added to the list of songs Bob always does well.

as the band switches instruments Bob treats us to a lengthy piano noodle that becomes the intro to another monster surprise, another monster song, it’s getting to the point where we might not be worthy, as Tomorrow Is A Long Time makes its tour debut…and only appearance in the tour. only the 69th (what’s your favorite number, dude?) appearance live, first since 2002. and it’s freakin’ glorious. the crowd is vocal in announcing its pleasure as the magic continues.

something old, something blue, in the guise of a rockin’ and engaged Highway 61 with George in complete chaotic control. there’s no let up in this show.
a lone cry of “we love you Bob” in front of … oh my god! Chimes of Freedom. first performance since 2001 and only the 24th lifetime. this is goosebump-inducing stuff. half of me is fearing the song will get goofed up onstage and break the spell of the moment; half of me is blushing with joy watching –ryan- excitedly, but silently, pump his fist in the air; and the other half of me (hey, it’s a big song) is just relishing the moment as Bob delivers a near perfect version. slight lyric flub where he transposes a couple of lines late in the song but it’s hardly noticeable. the images are just mind-blowing. majestic bolts followed by mad mystic hammering. whew.
Summer Days almost seems out of place tonight.
even Mr. Tambourine Man benefits from the strange mojo around the Orpheum this evening. Bob uses the upsinging to a level of ‘tolerable’ as it’s balanced with some breathy, whispering lines. a big improvement over ‘04’s version.

so just when you think he’s pretty well laid it all out there for the evening we get a new addition this tour to the Friday night set list…Mississippi. not as moody as it was in 2001 it’s almost jaunty at times. only a verse or two of upsinging in a new musical arrangement and one lyric change… “might not even have anything for myself anymore!” cute.
show closes with the show closer, Watchtower. and it’s out on the streets to talk about our good fortune and where the heck is Elana? and do we want her back if the band is going to play those songs?

Forever Young

Lenny Bruce

Blind Willie McTell

well if this is Maggie’s Farm, it must be Saturday. as expected and a perfect warmup as we are still tingling over last nights set list.

in the second slot, a rare appearance for Forever Young. in its over 450 live appearances it’s only been the number two song 13 times, so something’s still happenin’ on stage, but we’re trying to be aware.

we get the new start/stop arrangement of Cry A While. this song continues to move up the ladder in my estimation. the more I hear it, the more I like it.

unlike Bye and Bye, the jazz number for the night but overall making this a substantially more disappointing start that last nights show.

Hollis Brown tries to right the boat but it’s an underplayed, subdued, loose-strings version that doesn’t pull the audience in quite as strongly as it can. less of a ‘howling’ version than we’d like.

more of the upsinging on If You See Her Say Hello. this is a 50/50 song. half of me likes to hear it…the other half is sorry I had too. it’s a song that deserves more heart than it gets in its current incarnation.

sensing he’s losing us, Bob throws us a bone. only one of the night, but it’s a biggie. first performance since 2000, 98th performance overall, Lenny Bruce is STILL dead. nicely done, a strange choice but a personal debut for me and a treat for all…it’s so rare.

when HWM comes out I think it’s way too early in the set. too early for the end to be near. and it is early, at song number 8 so we still have a bit to go.

the tour debut of Hattie Carroll followed by a banjo version of High Water is leading this show up to a nice finish.
Every Grain of Sand, with some experimental upsinging balanced with some throaty dips, and it comes of just fine thanks, ending with an extended harp solo.

as Highway 61 rambles through I realize it’s the first song that’s been repeated from last nights show!

Blind Willie McTell adds some nice Cajun flavour to the festivities. almost always done well (not counting the Desolation McTell we got in Columbus ’03) and almost is what it gets tonight as well as Bob mysteriously drops the “barren trees” line and make no attempt to fill the void or correct…just leaves the space empty.

a small and pleasant change in the closer as LARS is used in place of Watchtower.

we pour out of the venue and pick up assorted ‘hangers on’, Murphy’s Lightnin’ Review among them. his plan was to hit the Littlest Bar and I could only come up with 6 quick reasons why we shouldn’t: 1) our party is pretty large at 9, 2) the bar has a capacity of 23, 3) thousands of people just left the venue a mere couple blocks away, 4) it’s Saturday night in the theater district, 5) been there, and 6) done that. my arguments are lost in the din and we find ourselves stepping down the stairs of the Littlest Bar into a heaving, sweating mass of manhood. oh, and womanhood as -ryan- and I wedge ourselves in between a group of Sapphic love-dolls, two of whom were engaging in a Mexican tongue-dance. I began to consider I may have been wrong.

I leave august west, girlfriendmimi, -ryan-, dancin’ and a couple others inside and squeeze my way to the front door to hook up with MisLucy and Cece who are standing outside where you can breathe. we’re soon joined by the 4 Welsh lesbians who regale us with an aural assault, already having treated us to the oral show. they tell us of the good times they’ve been having…as tourist that is. over the half hour tirade they are bright lights in the dark night, dropping not-so-subtle hints about the wild times they were enjoying. my guess is they were all engaged and what happens in Boston, stays in Boston. quite the titillating group of girls. there was some Dylan talk…Dylan Thomas that is… whoever he was.

by this time, the rather well-lubricated (notice a pattern here?) Murphy is making noise about heading to another bar. I’m making noises about heading to another joint. unable to convince the gang I’ve been through this movie before the bar wins out and we find ourselves, all 9 of us, at a bar with 7 seats and no service. for a while, until we call it a night on this second long day.

Merle Haggard - Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down

Love Minus Zero Over No Limit

Ring Them Bells

I Dreamed I Saw St Augustine

Phantom Engineer

even better than no Maggie’s Farm, after 6 complete Merle Haggard shows (which weren’t that bad, really) I finally get the one song I wanted to hear – Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down. been a big fan of it ever since it appeared on Elvis Costello’s terrific Almost Blue album. finally, I hate chasin’ Merle to get just one song…why that would be like followin’ Bob for Joey.

Drifter’s makes its appearance in the warm up slot and Bob gets to stretch his vocal chords with his favourite rhyme pattern…. ‘mo’ waaaaah / do’ waaaah. and a harp solo to close. we are ready to rumble.

ah, right a tour debut in Love Minus Zero Over No Limit, that’s the spirit Bobby. ice & fire & laughing flowers. more harp as Bob is feeling it early tonight and the crowd senses it.

God Knows. bam! love this song. love the transition. add it to the list of ‘always done well’ songs. the tension builds slowly in the sparse first half of the song as a liturgy of trials is laid out... things that ain’t pretty, struggles, crimes and things that are fragile and can snap apart like puttin’ scissors to a string. then the full force of the band as the show of horrors continues through the rising crescendo then we see the river, the purpose, the ‘rise above’ and the heaven. quite the mountain of a song.

he’s serious tonight as my third ever Ring Them Bells unfolds. and not only is time running backwards…there’s no place left to turn or hide!
woo hoo for MisLucy as we get another one-timer for the tour in Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat. this night is shaping up nicely as we’re treated to some great guitar work and another interjection: “I see you got a new boyfriend (ahhhh, who is he?)….”

to prove there’s a magic about in Boston this weekend Bob tackles Tryin’ To Get To Heaven and he nails it. always a threat to succumb to the upsinging with this tune but tonight he’s smooth and low as he unleashes a melancholy version.
then it’s step-it-up-and-go time with a rockin’ Down Along the Cove to shake us out of our dreamland slumber, injecting a little adrenalin.

when I Believe in You comes out, I wonder how long this can go on? great voice, great delivery. so good, I don’t even mind when I get my first TDTD in three nights.

as payback for that, another ‘holy sh*t’ moment as I Dreamed I Saw St Augustine makes its first appearance since November of 1992! only its 34th performance ever and quite the surprise. no disappointment in the straight forward rendition.

one for Cece as Thin Man comes out and another for MisLucy with a very good Hard Rain, which builds to a slow boil. each verse gains in intensity, almost imperceptibly until it explodes in the final verse. great control of pace and tempo throughout.

another one-off for the tour in Phantom Engineer. though I got one of two in 2004 and one of two in 2003 so it’s semi-regular with me. Bob’s singing is a little lame but the guitar work is remarkable, so I guess it’s not Stu.

what, Watchtower? you run out of songs Bob?

in case you weren’t following along that was 42 songs in 3 nights with 40 unique…only 2 repeats (Highway 61 on nights 1&2 and Watchtower on nights 1&3). quite the weekend stand.

you want rare songs? how about … Hazel, Tough Mama, Tomorrow Is A Long Time, Shelter From the Storm, Chimes of Freedom, Mississippi, Lenny Bruce, Ring Them Bells, I Dreamed I Saw St Augustine and It Takes A Lot To Laugh.

you want tour debuts? how about…11 songs out of 42! and three ‘one-offs’ for the tour.

some impressive shows.

what’s in store for New York?

Monday, April 05, 2010

Down The Backroads, Headin' South Tour
April 16 - 28,2010
Toronto to New Orleans
via Nashville

Cece and I are taking an extended road trip for the first time since...well, the fall of 2005 when we tore through the UK for 2 White Stripes shows and 4 Dylan concerts.

Now we've been here and there since then, but only for weekends, usually by air, and for the purpose of seeing a concert.

We're getting back to what we love about the travel...looking around.

The goal this year is to create a coffee-table book of 40 to 50 glorious shots of America or Americana. The by-product will be a photo diary of the backroads of the USA. We're staying off the major interstates as much as we can. America is a country of small towns after all, so we're going to visit it.

Here's the short version of our tentative itinerary assuming the weather co-operates.

Leave Toronto for an overnight in Madison OH so we can breakfast at the Nifty 50's Diner.

April 17: Ohio Amish Country. We will visit 3 or 4 Amish towns and see what life's like with no electricity. It starts at the world famous Lehman's Hardware in Kidron OH, takes us into two scenic shopping towns, Millersburg and Berlin, before we end our way-back trip in Coshocton OH.

From there we'll cut off some morning time by heading to Charleston WV for the night.

April 18: Appalachian Hills of Kentucky and the Lincoln Highway. Home of Loretta Lynn, Butchers Hollow, Van Lear, KY, followed by a leisurely drive through the loveliest countryside in America. After stopping in Lexington to visit a friend we'll be spending the night in historic Bardstown, on Stephen Foster Drive. Gonna sip some bourbon.

April 19 & 20: Two days in Nashville. Plenty happening. Jack White's Third Man Records, Andrew Jackson's home, The Hermitage. A funky NashTrash tour and an evening dinner cruise on the Cumberland River.

We will leave Nashville mid-day, stop in at the Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg and sleep in Hamilton AL.

April 21: Rural Mississippi. Elvis' home in Tupelo, Jimmie Rodgers Museum in Meridian and a stopover in Hattiesburg, MS.

April 22-25: New Orleans. A city tour with our very own native son at the helm and a night at Tipitina's for the Neville Family. A swamp tour and leisurely drive along Plantation Row before we indulge in one extravagant dinner and lots of drinks. A day at JazzFest to see Simon and Garfunkel's only North American show. (er, well that was before the North American TOUR was announced). A crazy attempt to pack too much into one day by seeing Patti Smith at Tipitina's the same night.

April 26: The Gulf Coast with some serious stop-time in Montgomery where we will mix Civil Rights and Hank Williams before overnighting in Atlanta.

April 27: A stop in Cornelius, North Carolina then onwards home.