Aplscruf's Music Blog

Diary of a Married Groupie

Todd Snider at the Tractor Tavern 3.1.2007

March 1, 2007 Todd Snider, solo acoustic

Tractor Tavern in Ballard

Opening: Rachel Harrington on acoustic guitar with mandolin accompaniment

Good ol’ Todd, up to his old tricks again! We had a great time seeing him in October 2006, and even more fun this time. But first, we had to wake up to 3 inches of snow! I couldn’t believe it. Almost snowed out of another concert! Luckily, it melted by the end of the day.

The boy had no school, so I took him late to daycare. I got to work late and left at 2:00! I was counting the minutes! I already planned with the boss to leave early so I could go run my thousand errands before picking P up in Ballard. I had to get gas, pick up boy, put my check in the bank, take dog to the kennel, take boy to my parents’ house in Mountlake Terrace, then hop on the freeway to go get P at work.

P had to work a little later than planned. We didn’t get downtown till about 5:15. We checked in to Hotel 1000, a small but cool hotel right on 1st Avenue. We quickly changed and headed downstairs to the Boka restaurant for drinks and appetizers. I had a delicious white peach cosmo. P drank mojitos. We then laughed at our food choices. I went for a large grilled cheese sandwich, thick with gooey gruyere cheese, with a tomato bisque soup and small salad. P had two tiny bite-sized riblet burgers that were literally only an inch high by an inch in diameter. They looked microscopic on the plate in front of his big frame! The waiter warned us…luckily, P wasn’t very hungry. I (reluctantly) shared part of my meal. We then changed again and prettied up for the show.

We caught a taxi to Ballard. The Tractor was fairly empty at first, but filled up quickly once the opening act got started. We sat in the front row, on the right. Unfortunately, we were in front of the hallway that led to the outside door, which was propped open most of the night. I got pretty cold until Todd came on, and they finally shut the door! The good part was we could see if he was coming up the steps from his gigantic tour bus, so I could warn my neighbors!

Our neighbors to the left were so funny. I didn’t catch their names, but it was a fairly young mom and her early-twenties daughter. They were a hoot! They were pounding down the Pabst Blue Ribbons. We stuck to vodka and cranberry juice or sodas. They were way bigger fans than I was! The mom brought flowers for Todd and had seen him several times and “partied” with him on the back steps of the Tractor a few years ago. The mom even had a pen and scratch paper to write Todd’s set list down as he went along. The daughter was a smoking vegetarian, which I thought was pretty funny. She was a huge Bob Dylan fan, too, so we talked a lot about Bob, and about his book and his concert a couple of years ago that we both attended. I think it was a relief to P to know there were people much crazier than me out there!! This girl knew everything about Bob and his music. I don’t even compare as far as my musical knowledge on any musician! And the mom knew a ton about Todd and knew of Will Kimbrough, too.

The opening act, Rachel Harrington, was good, but a little nasaly for my taste. I did like her harmonies with her partner who played mandolin. It was fun to listen to the mandolin played right.

There was a huge delay between their act and Todd. I don’t know what was taking so long. I guess he moves at his own pace. A little eccentric, I believe. Finally, we watched him saunter in through the door, with his little felt hat on, vest, checked shirt and silk tie, baggy, rolled up jeans, and loose canvas tennies. He slipped off the shoes on the steps of the stage, grabbed his black acoustic guitar and got to work, first smiling to the audience. He has a big, wide, toothy grin that warms my heart.

He started out the show with The Ballad of the Kingsmen, one of my favorites. I’ll have to call my friend S and let her know he played her favorite song first! She’ll be so jealous. She wanted to go, but had her baby just two weeks ago, so that was out of the question. She wasn’t due till next week, but he came early. I teased her that she should plan on going, and wouldn’t it be funny if her water broke during the show! P chimed in that Todd would probably scoop it up and use it for bong water! Ha We laughed so hard about that! I “named” her baby Diesel (after the Tractor’s slogan, A Nice Diesel Place to Hear Music) Bongwater!

Other songs included (but not in order because I did not write down the set list): The Devil You Know/ Carla (which he started to play but changed his mind until our neighbor mom yelled up and asked him to play it, and he said, “Oh, you know Carla?” then they bantered back and forth for a minute, and he thanked her for the flowers. Then said something about don’t talk to him while he’s up there because it f’s with his head! Enjoy Yourself (he asked us all to sing along)/ Alcohol & Pills/Train Song/Looking for a Job/Happy New Year/If Tomorrow Never Comes/Easy Money/Tension/ Talkin’ Seattle Grunge Rock Blues/Conservative Christian/Incarcerated (my favorite, but I was incarcerated in the restroom!)/B-double-E-double-R-u-n (cute tongue-twister of a song) and another song from a previous album I didn’t recognize.

He  also sang a song he made up while driving home after meeting his wife Melita’s parents for the first time. It was a very sweet song. He opened it by telling that he met Melita in drug rehab, and how going to meet her parents was scary, because the last thing her parents wanted to hear was that she met her boyfriend in drug rehab. And when they asked him what he did for a living, the last thing they wanted to hear was that he was a folk singer! That didn’t go over too well, but it all worked out, and they had a nice drive home.

The final song was a little a capella ditty about “I’ll stand by you” or “I’m there for you” something like that, where he named/described a bunch of crazy stars like Britney Spears’ stepping-out-of the-limo with her [hoo-hoo] showin’, Paris Hilton, etc… I don’t know–it was funny! But then the ending line said something about how life is for living, and only comes around once. He repeated it three times. Then promptly waved, gave another big smile, and looked right at us, too, then walked out. Everyone cheered, of course.

Typical Todd, eccentric, dirty, sweaty, funny, poignant, folksy, and very entertaining. My favorite lines of the evening included: “I smoke more pot before 9:30 in the morning than most people smoke all day!” The other was after he messed up and started repeating lines he had already sung before the chorus: “Oh, I forgot my lines…but THINK of how many lines I REMEMBERED!”

We then acted like a couple of kids in our twenties. Our neighbors bolted out right after Todd left. We realized they were heading for the tour bus to get autographs before he left for Bellingham! So we decided to do the same thing. I brought two liner notes from The Devil You Know and That Was Me and a Sharpie pen. I was prepared this time!

We walked all around the block to find the bus. There it was, huge and foreboding, behind a chain-link fence, with a gate opened just enough to let a person through. We faltered at the fence. We saw our neighbors, the mom and daughter, happily walking away with a signed poster. The mom said they had to hand it up to the bus driver, but Todd did sign it.

Ok, so we decided to go in, after I told P, “C’mon, you only live once, and all they could do is say no!” So we hurried back, saw the driver and waved. He saw us, then walked back behind the curtain. He came back out a few seconds later and opened the door. I said in my most polite voice: “Hi, I was wondering if Mr. Snider could sign a couple of things for me?” The driver, and elderly man, smiled and said in a kind voice, “I’ll see what I can do.” A minute or two later he came back with my things signed! I’m assuming Todd signed them, but we never saw him. Darn. He drew a peace sign and a heart next to each other, then signed what looked like TS below that. He did that on both items. So that was cool.

 We were all giggly after our little 20-something night, and walked a couple of blocks in the cold air to find a taxi. We then went straight to our hotel restaurant for more yummy appetizers and drinks. I don’t think we went to sleep till sometime after 1:30 that night! We finally left our awesome but temporary abode and headed to work about 9:30 the next morning, tired but happy.

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March 19, 2010 - Posted by | Americana, Concert Season 2007, Music, The Tractor Tavern, Todd Snider | , ,

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