Pat and I had an opportunity to be a part of the road crew for Will Kimbrough when he toured Washington and Oregon in January. We felt so honored to help support this rare solo visit. He is humble, easy-going, gracious and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. Oh–and he’s one of the most talented and versatile artists in Nashville.
The tour formed around the 50th birthday party for Lori, our friend in Bellingham. The ‘Ham is a beautiful college town just south of the Canadian border. Lori is a huge fan of Will’s; so naturally her husband Tim and brother-friend Kenny planned her birthday bash, coined it Lori Gras! and hired Will to play for her at the party. From there, the search began to find other venues around Seattle and Portland. Will’s agent Sara with Axecess Entertainment contacted me to help with the search. We brainstormed back and forth several weeks before the tour. I wrote a press release that coincided with a blog and album review which Sara sent to prospective venues as an incentive to get him booked. Check out my No Depression Blog for more info on Will and his new album, Sideshow Love. Meanwhile, Kenny worked on flights, ground transportation and hotels, and coordinated details with Lori and Tim. Pat and I volunteered to drive and use our house as a hub between gigs. It took a village to organize this tour!
This is the first time I have seen Will play the Northwest on a solo tour. In 2006 he opened for Rodney Crowell at the Music On The Bay series in Coos Bay, Oregon where he played to a stunned and elated audience (including my son and me) for about 1/2 hour. All of the other times I’ve seen him, he played guitar for other bands without an opportunity to open the show.
Seattle is a tough gig. If you’re not Justin Timberlake or a local musician, it’s hard to get booked. Other ‘tween acts, like The Gourds from Austin (god rest their souls while on hiatus), and other veterans of the club circuit are scheduled to play every six months to a year in advance. Unfortunately, there are so many acts vying for limited venues on a short calendar, there isn’t room for outsiders. Sara successfully booked Will for the dates he requested, with some promising exposure through KEXP, our local public radio station.
Day 1: Wednesday, January 8, 2014
The Adrift Hotel – Long Beach, WA
As part of the road crew, we were supposed to pick up Will at the airport Tuesday night. The weather did not cooperate. The East was slammed by a terrible, freezing Arctic storm. The plane from Nashville to Chicago was delayed and eventually re-routed through Los Angeles. Will stayed there overnight, and then left bright and early Wednesday morning for Seattle. Around 11:30, he showed up in the SEA Baggage Claim where we greeted and welcomed him. Because of the re-route situation, not all of his bags came on the final plane. Will remained calm–he’s used to this. We finally located his bags among a giant maze in the unclaimed bag area. After ensuring his guitar showed up in one piece, we loaded up and set off for Long Beach, Washington, a small coastal village in the southwest corner of the state. We had a long drive ahead of us in the pouring rain.
Although he seemed a little tired from the flight and long haul to the Pacific Coast, Will was happy to be back in the Northwest. He honeymooned out here 20 years ago with his wife Jessica and enjoyed some great hikes and a stay in Seattle. They also have some friends out here, transplants from The South.
We drove south to Olympia and found Fish Tale Brew Pub and settled on some great grub. We all drank a toast to the upcoming tour and dug in. I had a huge organic chicken salad with healthy chunks of chicken on spinach; Pat ordered a hearty stew, and Will wolfed down some delicious fish tacos. We were back on the road within about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, Lori, Ken and Sara were somewhere behind us. Sara’s flight arrived around 12:30, so they agreed to pick her up on their way down from Bellingham. We hoped to meet up with them at the hotel barring any more stops or traffic.
We continued our three-hour journey southwestward, in dark gray skies. I felt my Vitamin D level drop significantly. Halfway there, the population dwindled and the highway was lined with tall, moss-covered trees. Will said the tree-lined drive was similar to his journey through Sweden. Not long ago, he went on an 18-gig tour with only a few days of breaks. He spent hours and hours driving through the Swedish landscape and into little villages, getting lost and finding his way again. He also spoke of the difficulty of solo European tours: loading instruments and luggage on planes and in vehicles, organizing long flights and transportation, etc. So much work for the reward.
We drove on. The landscape flattened out to lonely mud bogs and brackish streams, and the tall trees were replaced by low bushes covered in chartreuse moss.
Part of Will’s genius is the ability to observe his surroundings and start some chatter that eventually leads to a stream of lyrics. Along the way, he spoke of the mud, the moss, the wind and the rain, the strong craft beer, the rivers and the sloughs. He noticed the road signs: Aberdeen, Willapa and Hoquiam. We’d later be pleasantly surprised by his descriptive words at the Lori Gras! celebration. Our long commute also reminded Will of his traveling up and down the great state of Alabama. Will’s parents live in Mobile, and are in need of his occasional assistance. Nashville to Mobile, Mobile to Nashville. Three thousand miles logged in the van just in December alone. During those lonely drives up and down I-65, his mind produced page after page of lyrics. His “magic phone” has voice recognition, so he’s able to record his words and continue to drive. The melody usually comes later, he said, after he’s organized his words into verses and a viable rhythm.
I tried to be as professional as possible on this trip; but inside my skin, I was a major fan-dork. Here is a musical hero–the Americana Music Association’s Instrumentalist of the Year; on the Grammy consideration list for Willie Sugarcapps’ “Gypsy Train;” and a singer-songwriter getting rave reviews for solo album Sideshow Love humbly accepting our offer of transportation and lodging. Will By-God-Kimbrough is hanging with us for the next three days! Holy Shit! All cool and collected on the outside, a giggling married groupie moron on the inside. My dear, patient husband handled all of the excitement in his own quiet way.
“Are we there yet?” I asked wearily. So much driving. So little visibility. So much gray. Kenny later re-named our first destination “Long-Ass-Away-Beach.” Finally, the salt air and GPS guided us toward our venue: The Adrift Hotel. Just steps from the thundering Pacific Ocean surf, the renovated hotel was a beautiful sight. We were so happy to have finally arrived. But the day was just beginning. Will still had a show to perform in just a few hours. Loading out of the truck involved a couple of trips in sideways rain. We were instantly soaked.
There was just enough time to settle in and get dolled up for the show. The rest of the gang caught up and joined us at the restaurant, right before show time. We knew going in that this particular show would not have a big audience. During a summer month, this place would be packed. According to their website, the Adrift hosts bands every week. The oceanside resorts in January are mostly vacant. Some people come to the beach to watch the storms roll in, and it’s only a bridge away from Astoria Oregon; so we hoped to get a few more people in the door. Regardless, WE would be there to support him and cheer him on, and we made sure to do just that.
We ate apps and dinner at Pickled Fish, the hotel’s upscale restaurant: kale salad, oysters–raw and fried, pork bellies, rustic bread, crab mac n’ cheese, and other amazing, tasty dishes. Will joined us briefly, toasted Day One (again) with a strong IPA and then set up his gear in the small venue separated from the restaurant by large rolling doors.
Set List for The Adrift Hotel, Long Beach:
Another Train – From Americanitis, immediately got everyone’s attention. Listen up, people! Yeah, this guy’s from Nashville, and he will blow your freakin’ mind.
Piece of Work – My favorite song from Home Away , where it all began for me. I heard him sing this on Jimmy Buffett’s Radio Margaritaville back in 2006 and wondered who that man was covering Jimmy’s song. I soon learned Will wrote the song and Jimmy covered it! I then proceeded to purchase all of his music.
When Your Loving Comes Around - The first track from Sideshow Love sets the mood for the whole album.
Let the Big World Spin
Sideshow Love – Title track from his excellent solo album (see my review in the No Depression blog above)
I Want Too Much
Nobody From Nowhere
Trouble – On mandolin, from the new Willie Sugarcapps album. He showed off his mad mandolin skills on this one.
Mr. Lee – Also on WS album, Mr. Lee was a neighbor from long ago, born in 1900. Mr. Lee was always willing to give you a good piece of his mind. The same piece, but a good piece.
All That We Can Do is Love
Three Angels – from Wings and a tribute to his beautiful family. The song is played in the Flatted 5th, also known as the Devil’s Note, made infamous by Led Zeppelin and proclaimed illegal by a former Pope.
Horseshoe Lake – Pat’s favorite that Will co-wrote with Todd Snider while hanging with him in West Memphis, AR
Gypsy Train – Grammy consideration list for best Americana song from his new Willie Sugarcapps album!
Mud Bottom – “Tonight is dedicated to some good ol’ Northwestern Mud!” exclaimed Will.
Oh, Colorado - From Willie Sugarcapps. Savana Lee sings beautifully on the record, and Will sounds like John Denver’s twin on his version.
Wash and Fold – A dirty ditty ’bout gettin’ clean? One of my favorite Daddy songs.
I Don’t Like It
Hill Country Girl
Glory Be – Another hand-clapping Daddy gospel tune. Amen!
I’m A Grownup Now
Champion of the World - a more upbeat take on this self-deprecating song from Home Away
I Don’t Have a Gun
Goodnight Moon – This last song is Lori’s absolute favorite, and she was over the moon. She used to sing this to her son before bedtime every night for years, until he outgrew the need for bedtime lullabyes, much to the dismay of any loving mom. The tears flowed as Will tenderly sang and quietly played this sweet rendition.
Twenty-five songs, just for us–and four other people. Kenny said it felt like stealing. A true professional, Will played his lil’ heart out like he was in front of an arena full of screaming fans. Nope, just the nine of us. We sat back and watched The Alien at work. He gets in a zone and fires up that guitar and mandolin like he’s from another planet. He also used a loop pedal to record a riff, and then played live over it to add depth and harmony to the songs. It filled the whole room with sound! We did our best to cheer, clap and whoop it up to show our support. I teased Kenny because he could hardly speak after seeing Will perform this solo show for the first time. ”Kenny,” I smiled, “You just had a musical orgasm.” The other newbies were awestruck, too, and purchased some merch on the way out. We closed the place down. In Long Beach on a Wednesday in January, that meant 9:30.
We helped break down and pack up, and then headed back to the suite for a toast to Night One! What a night! What a set list! Will managed to play a song from just about every solo album as well as Willie Sugarcapps and Daddy. It was an incredible day, but more fun was on the way.
The following is a summary of concerts we saw, the experiences we had, and the music played. It’s been such a good season! I’m hoping it’s not quite over, even though it is September 9  today. The one regret is not booking tickets to Nashville for the Americana Music Awards, but how can I complain. I might see Todd Snider in October, if I can find someone to go with me. We’ll see…
Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville. Saw Elvis Costello with his latest collaborator, Allen Toussaint, a New Orleans R&B vet. They have an album out together, and I need to pick it up! Lots of boogie-woogie R&B sounds. Elvis played songs from that album along with his classic new wave stuff like: Watching the Detectives, Allison, Pump it Up, What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love, and Understanding…
Hot night, about 85 degrees. Went with H and C. Purchased a nice bottle of 2003 Syrah and some cheese, salami and crackers at the winery gift shop. Had a great little picnic before the show. It was such a beautiful setting, a nice crowd. It was fun to people-watch as the show progressed, to see the middle-aged businessmen getting a little tipsy from the wine and trying to stumble across the uneven grass back to their seats. Unfortunately, the one time C and I went to the bathroom, the line was out the door, and only two stalls were available. This was exactly the point where Elvis kicked it up a notch and played his old favorites. I was crabby, but we still had fun.
Also in June, we saw John Hiatt and the North Mississippi All Stars. Wow what a show! They played at Marymoor Park in Redmond. P and I arrived early and got some dinner. Then we got some wine and beer, and some more wine and beer. I was quite tipsy by the time the show got started! P was up to the bathrooms about every 10 minutes! No more beer for him at concerts! We had 4th row seats, a little to the right of center. Perfect!
N. Mississippi consists of two brothers, Luther and (I don’t remember) Dickinson. They are sons of Jim Dickinson [who recently passed away in 2009], who produced John Eddie’s “Who the Hell Is John Eddie” album as well as John Hiatt‘s, and lots of other folks. Luther can play the guitar like no one I have seen before. At one point, he played a one-string guitar that looked like a box with a stick in it and a rubber band for a string! He made that thing moan. Unreal. And he looks like he’s 20, although I believe he’s in his 30’s. The bass player looked like Fat Albert, and played the bass real high up under his chest. His last name was Chew, which I thought was fitting, but man could he play! He also added a little rap/hip-hop style to their very southern rock. A real nice mix, which has garnered them a broad, young following. They played a good ½ hour set, mostly from their new album, “Electric Blue Watermelon,“ then took a break before being joined by John Hiatt.
I have only recently started listening to John Hiatt. I knew of him, and The Mountain radio station brings him to town every year, but I didn’t know his range of music. He has done country, rock, has written scores of songs that other artists like Bonnie Raitt (Thing Called Love) and Suzy Bogguss (Drive South) have made famous. He is famous in his own right as well. He has a very unique voice, like that of Randy “Short People” Newman. He is skinny, wiry, with a face worn by a hard life, but kind, appreciative of the audience, and totally against the Bush administration! Yay! P was impressed.
John sang a slew of songs, a Greatest Hits night, plus many from his new album, “Master of Disaster.” Set list included: Master of Disaster, Cry Love, Love’s Not Where We Thought We Left It, Ain’t Ever Goin’ Back, Slow Turning, Thing Called Love, Thunderbird, Old School, Child of the Wild Blue Yonder, Buffalo River Home, Riding With the King…many others. He was very entertaining, and surrounded by a talented band.
Ahhh, Tom Petty time. Finally. We saw him last year at the Gorge, but I was looking forward to a new venue, Clark County Amphitheatre, in Ridgefield, WA, near Vancouver. Tom has a new album out entitled “Highway Companion,” so I was excited to see how the new songs would sound live. Also we had 4th row seats, so I was very anxious to see how close we we would sit to the stage.
Tom is my musical hero. His album, “Damn the Torpedoes” was one of my first album purchases as a young teenager. I wore that record out on my sister’s very nice stereo system. She almost killed me when she found out I was using it when she was gone! I used to play “Here Comes My Girl” and “Even the Losers” over and over.
I had a feeling I would cry when he came on stage. There was my hero, up close. He also announced he probably would not be doing any major tours anymore; this may be his last one.
I did cry. I was blown away being 15 feet from my hero, and having him come out with the first song being “Listen to Her Heart,” one of my all-time favorites!
Set list included: Handle With Care (Traveling Wilburys), Free Fallin’, Down South (Highway Companion), Square One, and I think one other off the new album, Refugee, You Wreck Me, then with Stevie Nicks (guest singer) Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around, Insider, and one other of Tom’s songs that Stevie sang alone with the band. The last song of the ovation was American Girl, another favorite of mine.
I cried at least two other times when he played my favorite songs. I just love him, and I’m so glad we got to sit so close.
Saturday the 2nd, we went to American Idol with S and D. The guys were not thrilled about going, but it was in Tacoma, and we thought the drive would give them a chance to bond a little! They did, and we went to a nice dinner at a brew pub near the Tacoma Dome by the old train station. That area of Tacoma is pretty nice.
We had fun teasing them about us wanting to act like little teenagers at the concert. We even had Hicks Chicks pink t-shirts on! The guys just rolled their eyes. It was pretty warm that night, too, which made the concert even warmer than expected. Luckily, I wore shorts.
The Idol show was very cheesy. The 10 people performed based on the order they were kicked off. Mandisa went first, followed by Lisa, then Ace, Paris, Bucky, Pickler, etc. Finally, Taylor Hicks came on and rocked everyone with Jailhouse Rock. He was the best, even though his dancing was even weirder than on TV. He did play the harmonica, which was awesome. I kept telling S how much fun it would have been to see him in some shithole bar with his band. Much more fun than this stinking heat dome with a bunch of screaming 12-year-olds. Chris and Elliott also did well, but only sang about 2 songs apiece. That’s ok, we vowed to see any of those guys separately, once they’re done with their AI contract.
Then, a long shot…I had written to Will Kimbrough to see if he was playing Seattle anytime soon. He said no, but he was playing Coos Bay with Rodney Crowell. It was a long shot, but I told my son if we can find someone to go with, we could drive to Coos Bay to see them. It was a free outdoor concert, so hard to beat! P couldn’t go because he’d eaten all his vacation time this summer. I had recently sent Will’s Americanitis CD to our friend R, who loved it. I called him and asked if it was possible for him to go with us to Coos Bay. He wanted to talk it over with K first, then get back to me.
He finally gave us the “ok” to go! I got the time off approved in advance, thank God. The boy had been talking about going since mid-August. He even made cute little foam visors with their names on each one that he insisted we wear at the concert!
So, on Tuesday, Sept. 5 , we started our long trek down South. Just R, the boy and me. I didn’t think I’d have the guts to do it, but I was determined not to let an opportunity pass me by. Plus, I owed it to the boy [then 10 years old] to take him to his first “real” concert. It was a good opportunity to bond with him, and also R was really excited to spend some time with the boy (he’s like an uncle to him) and see Will. I took my iPod, and R was impressed with the quality of the sound and all the music it held. I played lots of Will and Rodney for him, so he would be more familiar with them. He didn’t realize Rodney was actually the headliner, so once he heard his music, he was impressed and excited to see him, too.
I drove to Eugene, then R took over. The driving wasn’t as bad as I thought. I usually don’t drive for that long of a time, but I did ok. R enjoyed not having to drive, since he always has to drive with K. The traffic was bad through Portland and Salem, but it was moving, at least. We had a real pretty drive through the hills from Eugene to Florence. R’s hands were shaking because he wanted to fish the rivers we passed! Lots of cute little towns and storefronts along the way
Florence was gorgeous, with the massive yellow sand dunes surrounding us. We took a little side trip to see if we could get close to the ocean. We finally parked and the boy and I climbed up a dune and looked out to the ocean. It was about a quarter mile from us, so not enough time to run down to see it. R had to wait by the car due to his prosthetic leg; he wasn’t able to climb up the dunes. The wind was blowing at least 20 knots, so we didn’t stay long. It was also cold, about 58 degrees! It was in the 80’s the whole way down until we got there! It was foggy, too.
We continued our trek, closer now to our final destination! We got to Coos Bay and the Red Lion Inn about 4:00. We checked in, dropped off R in his handicapped-accessible room, and then headed across the parking lot to ours. We slowly drove up to our door on the first floor.
As we were driving, we had a brush with fame! A man, who I’m almost positive was Rodney Crowell himself, had just checked in and was standing outside his door, just 5 doors down from ours! He was thin, short and had scraggly hair under a baseball cap. I’m pretty sure it was him, and the boy was too, after I showed him a picture of Rodney on a CD cover! That town is so small; the only two hotels are the Red Lion and the Best Western. There were also big tour buses in the parking lot that night.
Anyway, that was enough to get my knees shaking! Wow, that’s cool to be staying in the same hotel as the band! I kept peeking out to see if he would come out again, or if any other band members were out there. But it was getting late, and I needed to take a shower still and get ready for the show.
We met R for dinner at 5:00-ish, then hung out and waited for our friend, who used to coach with R, to show up. G and his wife live near Florence and were excited to spend some time with R. This was perfect, because they sat up in the grassy terraced area in chairs, while the boy and I parked our blanket about 4 blankets back from the stage, front and center! Cool!
We were all set to go, and I could see Will behind the stage (it was basically open, with some sheer black curtains behind it) with his acoustic guitar warming up. I wanted to go say hi, but refrained. I know from his blogs he was in his warm-up mode that he does before his shows to loosen up. The boy was excited. He insisted we wear our hats, too! So cute.
Will opened the show with “Piece of Work” and also played the following: Made Your Bed You Got to Lay in it, Grownup Now, Black/White [not sure of the exact title], Another Train, Life, Everyone’s in Love (boy’s favorite, and he sang along with a smile on his face, sweet baby), Modern World, and I think a few more.
They took a little break, so I took the boy with me to see if we could talk to them, and he asked if Will would sign his hat. Will did, then I turned to him and introduced myself. He shook my hand, and thanked me for coming. I then introduced him to the boy, and he shook his hand. He got a big thrill over that. I let him go, as other people were waiting to get autographs.
Then we could see Rodney behind the purchase table tuning up his guitar. He looked busy, so we didn’t ask for autographs yet. We found our seats and waited. It wasn’t long before Rodney came on. Yep, that was him at the Red Lion!
He played many songs, some from his new album, The Outsider, then others from previous albums including:
Ain’t Livin’ Long Like This, Fate’s Right Hand, Still Learning How to Fly, Say You Love Me, Dancin’ Circles Round the Sun, a song Keith Urban sang to Nicole Kidman on their wedding day that Rodney wrote and sang, I Walk the Line (Revisited) and Will sang Johnny’s part in his lowest range! Ended with Like a Rolling Stone with the audience helping out! He did one more slow song at the end, and we all stood up near the front of the stage. It was awesome! The boy was thoroughly impressed, although a little antsy during Rodney’s long set, since he didn’t know all of the songs. It was a little chilly out, too.
After the show, we found Rodney and he signed my hat with both our names on it. I thanked him for coming, told him this was boy’s first concert. He seemed a little tired, and had other people waiting. Not real talkative, but nice. He has great cheekbones! His face was lined vertically and was a little pale. Lots of travel and life have creased him.
We hung around a few minutes, then the boy said he wanted Will to sign his polo shirt! So we found Will packing up guitars on the stage. I yelled, “Hey, Will!” He said, “Yeah?” “My son wants you to sign his shirt!” So Will jumped down off the stage and had his pen ready in his pocket. He gladly signed the back of his shirt.
I can’t remember the whole conversation. I was trying to soak it all in, but at the same time felt very self-conscious for bugging him again. It went something like this: I think I told him that was a great show, and this is the boy’s first concert. He asked boy how old he was, and he said 10. Will asked if he was in 5th grade, and then said his daughter is in 6th grade this year. I then asked if his other daughter was in kindergarten, I remembered from reading one of his blogs. He said yes, she was. He said he was heading to San Diego to go to a wedding and maybe do some surfing! He also wanted to take his kids to Sea World. He also thanked us for making the “long haul” down from Seattle. I said it took us about 8 hours! I don’t think I said a whole lot after that, just thanked him and shook his hand again. Well, it was good to finally meet him.
We found R, got the truck and headed back to the hotel. It was soooo worth the drive. And R was thrilled to meet up with his friend and his wife. They enjoyed the concert, too, so I feel my musical evangelism paid off. I did my part to spread the Rodney and Will Word!
On October 12, P and I went to see Todd Snider at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get anyone to go with us. Their loss, it was a great show! I told P to see if anyone from work wanted to go. He didn’t seem to believe me how big this was going to be. He never thinks anyone else but me likes these bands! [After a few years, he now knows better!] Well, the place was packed, probably 250 people there!
We got to Ballard around 7:00 after dropping the boy off at Mom and Dad’s. Then we were hungry, but decided we’d better find a place to park first. It took us about 15-20 minutes to find a place to park! [the usual pain in Ballard] Then we went directly to the Tractor to see what was up. The opening act, Joy Mills, was doing a sound check and there were a few people milling about. I noticed they had chairs set up, so then we got to thinking we’d better get in early and reserve our seats up close. So we went across the street first and grabbed ale and ate some peanuts to sustain us for a little bit! No one had food! Tractor only had TV dinners, they said. But the guy at the door did say to try Hattie’s Hat, which was 2 doors down, and then bring it in the Tractor! Cool!
So I got our seats in the second row while Pat picked up the most amazing salmon BLT and fries from Hattie’s! Yum! Then the show started. Joy Mills was good, but it was just her and her acoustic guitar. She was a little slow, but the songs were ok. The audience was pretty silent and polite, until the last couple of songs when more people showed up and more people were on their second or third drink.
There was a short break, in which I was hoping they’d bring out the piano, drum set, extra guitars, etc. But, alas, Todd was solo that night. We saw him walk in with his road guy, Elvis (I guess that’s his real name) and a couple other people.
You can’t miss Todd. He wears this big floppy felt hat all the time now.
He had on a baseball type shirt with black sleeves, with a vest over it, rolled up jeans and Converse tennis shoes that he immediately took off when he stepped onto the stage. Barefoot, he looks like a hobo.
He started playing immediately–I think he started with the song Old Times. He also played the following:
Horseshoe Lake (one of my favorites)
I Can’t Complain
You Got Away With It
Looking for a Job
Tillamook County Jail
The Devil You Know
Conservative Christian Right Wing Republican….
Play a Train Song
He was like a comedian/singer. He had little anecdotes about each song–many were the same as what he wrote in liner notes in the CD’s, but that’s ok, it clued people in on the humor/point of the songs. He also said something about going through the Multnomah tunnel by his old hometown near Portland. He said everyone used to paint graffiti in there, and all of it would end in the word “rules” such as Portland High School Rules! Etc. So after a show, he decided he’d write “Todd Snider Rules” in big letters. It was so full of graffiti, that you’d actually have to clean the wall by using white paint to paint over the other graffiti. He said his tour manager that he thought was a guy for years but that’s another story, was supposed to stop him from doing stupid things like that! As they were passing through the tunnel the next day, one of the road crew said, “Oh, the kids must have liked your show last night, Todd!”
I don’t know– he can spin a yarn with much more humor in person than I can possibly convey here. The audience was real receptive to his little jokes and remarks as well as his very funny lyrics. P was very attentive and really enjoyed him, too. I took about 10 pictures [disposable camera], so we’ll see if they turn out. I tried to get his bare feet in a couple of them.
The bummer was he also wasn’t feeling well after partying in Portland the night before, so he was not in the mood to do a meet’n’greet afterward. So we waited for about ½ hour to see if he’d come out. Finally, this couple from Juneau, AK asked Elvis if he was coming, and Elvis said he’d already left. Darn! We were upset. One girl had her tree huggin’ hippie shirt on, had her two CD liner notes out in her hand ready for him to sign. She was bummed. I told her to also listen to Will Kimbrough, and she hadn’t heard of him. Hopefully she’ll remember he’s on the liner notes.
The Juneau couple were big fans. They had flown down specifically for the show. They were also planning to go see him on New Year’s Eve somewhere back East. They were probably in their mid-20’s. The guy was good-looking, but the girl was absolutely striking, with long black hair and big, dark blue eyes. She must have stood 6’ 2”! Anyway, the guy was so funny because in the middle of Todd’s show, he came stumbling down the aisle to try to get Todd to give him a high-five! He just stood there and waited for his high-five, with his right hand poised in front of Todd. But Todd was in the middle of a guitar solo, and had his eyes closed. The guy must have stood there for 10 seconds, while the audience laughed, then “awwwed” him as he returned with head bowed to his seat. It was so funny! I didn’t think Todd noticed or cared. But then during the next song, or maybe he waited for a second one, Todd said, “Where’s that guy who wanted to give me a high-five?” And of course, the guy ran right back up and was all excited! Todd obligingly gave him the five, and then the guy wanted a knuckle pound, then another high-five! It was so funny! Todd said something after he took his seat, like, “Geez, I thought the guy was going to take over the show!”
So anyway, it was really fun, P had a great time, but we would have loved to have seen a full band show.
Next up…Van Morrison! November 4. P just figured out how much the tickets cost us! Ouch! But Mr. Morrison’s a once-in-a-lifetime shot. He hardly ever tours, and when he does he has been really shy, to the point of playing with his back toward the audience. This time, it sounds like he’s loosened up and is enjoying himself.
Van Morrison was well worth the price of admission (2 seats $500), but our seats sucked. He played at a new venue, called the WaMu Theater, part of the Seahawks Qwest Events Center. It looked like a big warehouse, with exposed pipes and beams in the ceiling. I was suspicious when I ordered the tickets as to where we would be sitting. Although we had Row 5, the section was E. My suspicions were correct. We were placed on the far left end of the stage, past diagonal. P couldn’t see all of the band members from his side, left of me. I couldn’t see the fiddle player, except for his fiddle. So the whole night, although Van was about 30 feet from us, was spent looking at the backsides of the vocalists and a side view of Van. I was very disappointed. The stage was also about 6 feet high, so it made it even harder to look up from that angle. The theater held maybe a couple thousand people.
The sound was great, though, and Van was in top form. He brought along a ten-piece band which included three vocalists, acoustic and electric guitars, bass, fiddle, steel guitar, organ, drums, and he played sax and harmonica. He came out swaggering to the stage pumping on that harmonica. He’s so good. Very cool in a black suit and felt fedora. He’s a stumpy, barrel-chested fellow, not real talkative with the audience, but was having a good time onstage.
He played a lot of songs I recognized, but hadn’t heard in quite awhile, and not ones I had on my Greatest Hits albums. I really liked the music, though, and he really kept it upbeat most of the time. Lots of boogie-woogie, some country (his new album, Pay the Devil does a lot of country covers), and classic Van. He ended with Moon Dance, Brown Eyed Girl and Gloria, which got everyone on their feet. P enjoyed the music, but was a little bored and disappointed in the seats.
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