Aplscruf's Music Blog

Todd Snider Sells Out

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Aladdin Theater  Portland, OR

4/30/2016

Todd Snider sometimes tells the tale of when he almost sold out to Garth Brooks who wanted to change the lyrics to one of Todd’s songs, “Alright Guy” and record it on his rock album as alter ego Chris Gaines. The lyrics include the phrase, “maybe I smoke a little dope”, but Todd claims, “not that I do, it just rhymes with Pope.” Garth wanted to change the lyrics to something less, uh, damaging to his career. Todd’s friends told him he shouldn’t sell out, but he was “…already thinking about what kind of car I’d trade that fuckin’ van in for!”

Todd is the king of the yarn, a raggedy raconteur. On this particular evening, he told another Brooks tale about how one of Garth’s writers stole Todd’s song, “Beer Run”, claiming that if you change enough words and the melody, it’s not exactly stealing. So Todd, not wanting to have to get dressed up and go downtown and sit through meetings, had a brilliant idea and came up with his own song entitled, “If Tomorrow Never Comes” and made sure to follow the writer’s advice. Now, Todd can tell the story in much more detail, followed by a rollicking version of the song in question. Fans lined up in front of The Aladdin Theater in Portland know that. All three shows sold out.

Saturday morning rolled around, and I wasn’t in the mood to drive three hours to Portland in heavy traffic. My weekends are piling up, and I was longing for quiet time at home. P purchased tickets weeks ago, though, so that was that. Also, I feared Todd Snider’s solo show wouldn’t hold up to the ones we’ve seen in the past where he was animated and engaged—and so funny. There were rumors circling about his health and how he’s not the same ol’ Todd when he’s in Hard Working Americans, even though the supergroup rocks. I heard he was feeling better, and ready to take on these three nights in his home state.

When we were about to head out the door, I received a call from our friend C who was headed back home after seeing Todd’s second show. He absolutely raved about how Todd was dialed in, was engaged with the crowd, had the audience in stitches with his stories in between songs, and was musically in fine form. Suddenly, I was ready to take on Todd Snider again. Let’s hit the road!

Off we went, running into snags of traffic in Tacoma and near the border, crossing the great bridge that spans The Columbia and into Portland. We inched our way downtown and relied on GPS to find our hotel. After meeting our friend L at Hair of The Dog Brewery (the best brewery in Portland in our not-so-humble opinions), we headed to the show.

We stopped by The Lamp next door to The Aladdin  first and met a few more friends for a bite to eat. I love the Todd Snider culture. Everyone there in the group met at either a Todd show or some other related show, like Widespread Panic, Phish or Grateful Dead, etc. We actually met our friend L in 2009 at a Todd show in Reno.

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We found seats stage right and settled in. The show started after 8 with Rorey Carroll, a beautiful female folk singer with a sultry, ethereal voice and a sailor’s mouth. Todd came out and introduced her, and mentioned he is producing her album. She had a lanky awkwardness about her that was endearing to the audience, who cheered her on throughout her short set. We enjoyed her set, drawn in by her vocals and ballads as she lightly strummed her acoustic guitar. In between songs, she bantered with the crowd. There were many people who attended all three shows, and they were calling for songs near the end and she argued about which ones she was going to play. “Not the murder song!”

After a brief intermission, Todd Snider came out to hearty cheers and started his long set with “In Between Jobs”.

He spoke of his problems with his back and his arthritis, and how he got to the point where he could only sit down to play. He took a couple months to rest and recover and feels better now. It showed in his performance. He was on point–dialed in, as our friend C said. He was chatty and engaging, honest and self-deprecating. He deftly plowed through song after song, with heart and humor. I only heard one bobble with lyrics, and we must give him credit. In one of the first shows I ever saw him play, he’d forgotten the lines to one of his songs and had to stop and back up. “I forgot the words. But think of how many I remembered!” Classic.

Setlist (as listed on Todd Snider’s Facebook Page) with my notes to the right:

In Between Jobs
Happy New Year
[18 Minutes Into]
[Final Night]
In The Beginning
[HWA Church] – Todd spoke of his time as frontman with Hard Working Americans. He said he enjoyed playing with HWA because he could sing a few lines and step away from the mic as they went into some long jam session. He could nod his head and spin around a little, just 10 feet away from what he used to do in the audience anyway, so why not do it on stage?  But fans of his solo work would knock on the tour bus after the show, confused, offended, and upset that he wasn’t up on stage spinnin’ yarns and playing his acoustic guitar: “Is this what you’re doing from now on?” And Todd would respond, “No, this is what I did tonight.”
Greencastle Blues
[The Last Three Nights]
Too Soon To Tell
[The Last Verse…]
Beer Run
[Garth Brooks Story]
If Tomorrow Never Comes
Is This Thing Working
The Last Laugh
Carla
The Devil You Know – After the song was finished, he raised in arms in triumph like a prize fighter and exclaimed, “That song had a lot of words, too!”
Looking For A Job
[Jewett Sucks]
Doublewide Blues – with one of the lyrics changed to “I don’t get out much anymore since terrorism…”
Vinyl Records
Alright Guy – An audience singalong of the chorus ensued
D.B. Cooper – the ballad of the local hero/villain who jumped out of an airplane with a bag of stolen money, never to be seen again
Talkin’ Seattle Grunge Rock Blues – one of the songs which put Todd on the musical map in the 90’s
[Drive-Thru Story]
Stuck On The Corner >
Johnny B. Goode – “Most of my songs are based on this song’s melody…”
[Grateful]
[Jerry Jeff Walker Story] which stretched out to a coked-up evening decades ago where Todd was flopping like a fish outta water on Jerry Jeff’s dining room table. The next morning, Jerry Jeff was standing naked over Todd as he lay on the couch, exclaiming, “Never again, boy, never again.”
Mr. Bojangles -Mr. Bojangles in Santa Fe at 3 am – One of those once-in-a-lifetime magical moments when Todd and Jerry Jeff are out in the middle of nowhere, on a deserted street in Santa Fe, and here’s this kid playing “Mr. Bojangles” on guitar, with a hat on the ground, busking for tips. And here’s Jerry Jeff, the author of the song, soaking it all in. Todd thought twice about telling the kid he’s playing the song that was written by the man standing in front of him. When the busker was finished, Jerry Jeff unloaded his wallet into his hat (well, Todd embellished, I believe, when he said his change, his bills, his credit cards, his car keys…), and they walked away. Of course, Todd then played a tender version of “Mr. Bojangles” in honor of his friend and mentor, Jerry Jeff Walker.
e:
Big Finish
Good News Blues
Freebird – Freebird. Yes, he actually played “Freebird”, without irony, and with heart, to finish the evening. A final prize fighter stance, a smile, and a wave goodbye.

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May 3, 2016 Posted by | 2016, Americana, Folk, Rorey Carroll, Todd Snider | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Concert Season 2013 Wrap-up

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

Concert Season 2013 is winding down.  I thought I’d get a head start and list some highlights of the year in music.  I still have a few shows I’m hoping to see before the year is up, but my busy schedule might prevent me from posting anything until 2014.  I went to a few shows in the spring and summer that I never blogged about but deserve some mention here.  There are also a few bands mentioned below that I didn’t get to see this year, but I’m hoping will show up in 2014.  Some have new albums out, too.  I’ll keep it short and will give you the basic information.  It will be up to you, dear reader, to click on the links and look up these terrific bands, explore their music and purchase some CD’s for the gift-giving season.  Most importantly, GET OUT THERE AND SEE A SHOW!

Local Seattle-Area Bands: (Mind you, this is an incomplete list of the enormously talented bands in Seattle)

Jackrabbit – One of our favorite little bands in Seattle. We kicked off the year seeing them at The Tractor in January.  The threesome kicks ass on stage.  Never a disappointment. They add new songs to the setlist quite frequently.

Massy Ferguson – A Seattle Rock-n-Roll/Country Rock Darling.  We went to their CD Release Party for Victory and Ruins at The Triple Door.  My Plus 1 and I had a fantastic time sitting in the front row for this performance which was also broadcast live for kids struggling with various illnesses in a local hospital.  Frontman Ethan Anderson gave his all, as usual.  It was the best performance by the band so far, in my opinion, and I’ve seen them play many shows over the years.  We also saw them on a rainy summer evening in Duvall at an outdoor performance.  They jinxed our perfect rain-free summer! A hearty group of fans braved the showers and were treated with another fine show by the boys.  We picked up a cool t-shirt after the show.  Massy Ferguson also frequent some of the wineries in Eastern Washington, so check ’em out in Wenatchee, Tri-Cities and Walla Walla sometime.  Here’s a blog I wrote last year for No Depression.

The Swearengens – Their motto is “The Seattle alt-country band your mama warned you about.”  We try to see this band as often as possible.  I love their big sound.  You never know what will happen at one of their shows: dancing, drinking, special guests and lots of friends joining in on the fun. Oh, and never have a whiskey drinkin’ contest with frontman Fredd Luongo.  You will lose. Their latest album, Waiting on the Sunrise is a treat.  Check out their link and listen or purchase some merch.

Davidson Hart Kingsbery – His self-titled new album is getting some positive, nation-wide press.  We saw part of his show in January, and dug it.

The Rainieros – Another tight country band with a Western swing kicker. Their latest album, Last Call received critical acclaim and was one of the top Americana albums of 2012. We saw them open for Big Sandy in August.

The Ganges River Band – We saw them for the first time at The Sunset this summer.  They opened for Shinyribs and blasted through a clean set of country.  Country Dave Harmonson helped out on pedal steel and electric guitar.  Always a treat.

Ole Tinder – Ole timey country.  We saw them open for Massy Ferguson at Barboza and at The Tractor with Jackrabbit.  Mike Giacolino also has a solo project while Nils Peterson plays in another band called Rose Windows.  JB Kardong also sits in with other bands including Jackrabbit and Sera Cahoone.

The Dusty 45’s – I’ll try to finish up a blog I started of this energetic show.  Billy Joe Huels is THE Frontman.  No one can light a trumpet ablaze, stand on a bass and blow the way he can! We went to a benefit concert supporting the DESC and were thoroughly entertained.

Star Anna  – Opened solo for The Dusty 45’s.  We’ve seen her shows several times.  Her voice will grab your heart and rip it out.  She has a new album out right now called Go To Hell, so pick it up and prepare to be mesmerized by her haunting vocals.

Not-So-Local Bands:

Tom Petty (DUH.) And here’s the latest, if you didn’t check out our trip to Hollywood earlier this year. BEST SHOW OF THE YEAR.

The Gourds – If Tom Petty is my musical Jesus, then The Gourds are my Church.  Always a religious experience.  My soul runneth over at every show, including the latest in August at The Tractor.  One of my Best Weekends Ever.

Shinyribs – Kevin Russell’s solo project.  He has so much creative energy that one band (The Gourds) isn’t enough for him.  If you’re lucky, he’ll open for The Gourds and you’ll get double the fun.  Check out his bandcamp site for a little booty shakin’ music.  We saw him again just two weeks after his stint at The Tractor.  He came back and played at The Sunset!

Willie Nelson – Hurry up if you haven’t seen him already.  He’s 80, but can still put on a class act for 90 solid minutes.  We saw him in August at Marymoor Park.  Tears in eyes.

The Wild Feathers – This big band opened for Willie Nelson at Marymoor and we fell in love with them.  Besides their original tunes, they managed to cover Tom Petty’s “Listen To Her Heart” with my approval.

Big Sandy – Roots rock, rockabilly and Western swing.  Big Sandy’s a ball of energy and the king of smooth.  He plays in Southern Cal most of the year, but tours around the country and Europe, too.  If he shows up with Los Straitjackets (see below), it’s a Must-See show.  We saw him in August at The Tractor.

Los Straitjackets – Eddie Angel’s lucha libre mask-wearing band of psycho surf musicians and one of Marshall Chapman’s (see Marshall below) favorite bands.  Angel was actually the guitarist in Marshall’s band back in the 80’s.  They’re known world-wide for their onstage antics and surf guitar mastery.  I had the pleasure of meeting them at a local show a couple of years ago.  They’re currently touring the East Coast.  Hoping to see them again in 2014.

Greg Townson – Solo artist, Hi-Riser (Meet the Hi-Risers Here!) and Gregorio El Grande of Los Straitjackets.  He can sing a swoon-worthy love song (buy his latest album, On Your Side) or perform a face-melting guitar solo.  Check him out in Rochester, NY or on the current Los Straitjackets tour.  He also joins the bands overseas to Italy, Spain and other countries.

Marshall Chapman – A Nashville treasure and my musical hero.  Rodney Crowell calls her “The Goddess of Tall”.  The first time I saw her was in 2011 at The Station Inn , a Nashville mecca for  singer/songwriters of country, Americana and bluegrass.  All my preconceived notions of Nashville flew out the window that night.  She was REAL.  She was CANDID.  She had bare feet.  And she wore basketball shorts to the performance.  I liked her before she ever sang a note.  Here is my blog of that show (scroll down a bit to find the Nashville section).  She has a new album and a couple of books that are Must-Reads for music lovers.  Check her website for more info and purchase some merch!

My husband, who travels to the Nashville area often, had a chance to see her play again this year at The Bluebird Cafe, another very famous yet tiny Nashville hangout.  Will Kimbrough (see below) accompanied her on guitar once again to promote her new album, Blaze of Glory, which is getting rave reviews.  I was so jealous that my husband attended the show without me, but I knew he would return with her signed CD.  What I missed most were the stories that accompanied the songs.  My husband recounted a few stories to me when he returned.  She also told the audience that this album is meant to be shared with the one you love. Play it in the bedroom with the curtains drawn and the lights low.  By the fifth song, you should be ripping each other’s clothes off.

My sweet husband did bring home a signed copy of Marshall’s CD.  Throughout the album, the instruments stay firmly put in the background, allowing Marshall’s vocals and lyrics to shine.  Occasionally, Mr. Mike Utley, one of  Jimmy Buffet’s cohorts and co-producer of this album, drops in for a visit with an organ accompaniment.  The first two songs offer some good ol’ rock and roll, and one includes The Reverend Todd Snider on vocals.   After that, she pulls in for a sexy slow dance.  A new genre is born, says Marshall: “Torch-song Americana”.  Hear some tunes here.

Will Kimbrough – Another Nashville hero whom I found through Jimmy Buffett.  We’ve seen him perform several times in various locations solo, with Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris, Todd Snider and with Marshall Chapman in Nashville.  He just released a solo album, Sideshow Love, and will perform in the Seattle-Bellingham area in early January 2014!  More info soon!! A MUST-SEE EVENT!!!

Willie Sugarcapps – An Americana supergroup starring Will Kimbrough- also with new album out this year.  They are getting outstanding press and are currently enjoying a Gulf Shores Shrimp Fest weekend in Alabama.

Todd Snider – Now, The Reverend Todd Snider.  He received his license to officiate in support of gay marriage.  Part folk/Americana, part country, and part rock-n-roll.  He can make a political statement in a song before you know what hit you.  His live shows are a stand-up comedy act with some music thrown in.  He makes you think, laugh and generally just have fun.  He said he isn’t trying to preach to you, either.  He tells these stories because they rhyme.  We also saw him at The Triple Door last year, and I wrote a review for Randomvile.  We saw him at The Zoo this summer on a perfect Sunday evening.  He brought along Hayes Carll, whom I coined Todd Jr. by the end of his set.  He was also a storyteller, and had funny songs that accompanied the backstories.  His voice was a little more country than Todd’s, more akin to Jack Ingraham.  Carll also had some inappropriate songs that he couldn’t sing because of “the children” in attendance.  On his website, he had a ton of videos.  Shawn Mullins, , of the notorious talk-sing “Rockabye” song, was a very pleasant surprise.  His guitar playing was superb, and his other songs rich and interesting.  Sarah Jarosz opened Todd’s show.  I really enjoyed her clear folk vocals accompanied by a fiddler and a cellist, who plucked his instrument like a bass.  She did a Bob Dylan cover of “Ring Them Bells” and it was wonderful.  She only played about a half-hour set, but kept the audience’s attention the entire time.

Tommy Womack – Another favorite Nashville/Kentucky solo artist, a Daddy with Will Kimbrough, and collaborator with many others including Todd Snider.  He has an album out (several, actually), and plays regularly at The Station Inn with Will and Marshall.  He also wrote a humorous and heartbreaking tell-all about his life in the band Government Cheese called Cheese Chronicles.  A very entertaining read.  Visit with him on YouTube every Monday Morning for a cup of coffee (see his website or FB for more info) and pick up your own coffee mug on his website.  “Don’t let the bastards get you down!” I have yet to meet Tommy, but P got to meet him at The Station Inn last year.  I’m hoping to make it back to Nashville in 2014.

Have I missed anyone here?  I’m sure I have.  It’s been a tough year to find time to get out there, so we’ve been very picky about our show dates.  We try to see our regulars first and foremost.  Once in a blue moon we see a new band or enjoy an opening set;  it’s always a nice surprise to add one to our “favorite band” list,

October 11, 2013 Posted by | Americana, aplscruf, Barboza, Big Sandy, Concert Season 2013, Davidson Hart Kingsbery, Dusty 45's, Gimme Shelter, Jackrabbit, Los Straitjackets, Marshall Chapman, Marymoor Park, Massy Ferguson, Music, Ole Tinder, Randomville, Roots Rock, Seattle, Shinyribs, Star Anna, Tagaris Winery, The Fonda Theatre, The Gourds, The Hi-Risers, The Rainieros, The Sunset Tavern, The Swearengens, The Tractor Tavern, The Triple Door, The Wild Feathers, Todd Snider, Tom Petty, Will Kimbrough, Willie Nelson | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Todd Snider At The Triple Door 4.20.2012

Todd Snider

Todd Snider played The Triple Door in Seattle on Friday, April 20, the second of a two-night event.  Although it was 4/20, Todd was under heavy instruction (threats) by the management not to smoke anything green in the green room.  Okay, so what did the managers at The Triple Door expect when they decide to book a show on 4/20? Not that Snider smokes dope; he just needed a word that rhymed with “Pope” in his song, “Alright Guy”.

A Nashville transplant (make that East Nashville) originally from Oregon, Snider is most widely known in Seattle for his deliciously funny take on 90’s grunge with a song called “Talkin’ Seattle Grunge Rock Blues”, although this song was missing from Friday’s set.  He made up for its absence with a fine set of old favorites, other songs that appealed to the local crowd, new ones from Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables as well as a few surprises.

See the full review on Randomville!

Reed Foehl, Opening for Todd Snider

Eric McConnell, Paul Griffith, Todd Snider

Todd Snider

After six years of seeing his show throughout the Seattle area and a pilgrimage to Sparks, Nevada in 2009, I am blessed to say I have finally met the Elusive, self-proclaimed Evangelical Agnostic, Mr. Todd Snider.  There is a god!

May 5, 2012 Posted by | Concert Season 2012, Randomville, The Triple Door, Todd Snider | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Top 10 Live Shows

I thought I’d take a moment and share my top 10 favorite live shows.  Some are very specific by date and venue, and  some are by artist only.   This will change over time, I’m sure.  And after looking it over, I left out a few, such as The Rolling Stones in 1994.  That was a spectacular show, but it was in the Kingdome, and the band was about 1/4 mile away.  Didn’t really feel the love.  We saw Bruce Springsteen a few years ago, and I felt the same way.  Great, energetic show, but we were looking down on them from afar.  The lucky few hundred who got to be right against the stage, now they had a show to remember!

[You can also view this post and other reviews and features on Randomville]

Anyway, on with the list (all pics taken by me except Jimmy Buffett below):

Jimmy Buffett

10.  Jimmy Buffett – The man has paradoxically built an empire on the Margaritaville philosophy!  I’ve only seen him once back  in 2003, but was thoroughly entertained.  The show was pure fun, with hula girls, tiki gods and fire dancers.  And the Parrothead audience was a spectacle in itself.  He brought along a slew of veteran musicians and singers.  If you’re lucky enough to go to his show, his lead guitarist for the night might be Will Kimbrough, a talented musician, singer/songwriter and producer who has also collaborated on several songs with Jimmy.  You can forget all your problems for two hours Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays!

The Paperboys

 9.   The Paperboys – The Vancouver-based Paperboys have been lifting people’s spirits with their high energy shows for 16 years.  The eight-piece band plays in small venues in BC, Seattle and Portland, and captivates the audience with their joyful, upbeat and very eclectic music:  Mexican, Canadian, Celtic, and Reggae soup.  They make quarterly appearances at The Tractor Tavern in Ballard.

8.   Ryan Adams – – Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA January, 2008 – I smiled until my cheeks hurt.  Ryan brought along The Cardinals and tore the place up with songs from his album, Easy Tiger, along with many greats from his prolific song library and a few covers. He’s such a quirky character and a comedian, too–a sad clown.  The rest of the talented band seemed patient and knew when to wait for him to calm down, light his cigarette, have a little chat with the audience, etc.  I loved the train-wrecked Ryan, back when he could write a soul-crushing, alt-country song.  Glad he sobered up and married a pop star, because you know after the divorce, the songs will be good again.   

7.  Brent Amaker and the Rodeo Foot-stompin’, belt buckle-wearin’ cowboys in black.  The lead singer dons a red cape, has a stripper assistant and sounds like Johnny Cash–with a potty mouth. Campy country at its best.  A Seattle treasure.  Catch them at The Crocodile, The Sunset and other small venues throughout the year. 

Brent Amaker

6.  The Gourds Texas and Louisiana, sex and religion, country and rock, bluegrass and Snoop Dogg all rolled into a mandolin, violin, banjo, and accordion.  Their shows feel like an old-timey revival in the Deep South.  I get more salvation from their shows than I ever did in church.  The band’s motto: “For The Unwashed and The Well-Read. “  They’ve been featured at SXSW, Austin City Limits, and are regulars at The Tractor Tavern in Ballard, WA.  Yes, they’re the ones who covered Snoop’s “Gin and Juice” on mandolin.

The Gourds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.  Old 97’s – Alt-country/rock, Texas-style.  Sweat, spit, roaring guitar riffs, and a faithful audience that knows all the words.  There’s even a glossary on their website if you need help understanding the lyrics.  See them LIVE one time, and you’ll want to follow them around the country.

Rhett Miller of Old 97's

 

 

 

 

4.  Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (Anywhere!) – Tom and the band are American Icons.  Just go see them—anywhere.  The Gorge Amphitheatre in George, WA is a beautiful place to sing along to “Free Fallin’” while the desert sun sets behind the enormous stage.

3.  Todd Snider and the Nervous Wrecks at The Nugget, Sparks, NV 2009 – Wrecktacular.  The whole package.  Comedy, Americana, Folk, and Good Ol’ Rock-n-Roll.  And Will Kimbrough (the man gets around) on screaming, other-worldly guitar solos.  Todd’s solo show is also worth seeing.  He’s a Nashville transplant, originally from Oregon and plays the Northwest once or twice a year.  He can spin a yarn like no other.  Just get him started with stories about Slash or Garth Brooks, and you’ll think you’re at a stand-up comedy show.

Todd Snider and Will Kimbrough


2.  Sir Paul McCartney at The Tacoma Dome, WA 2002, – I was too young to see him when he visited Seattle in the 70’s.  To hear him play not only Wings songs but Beatles tunes with an incredible backing band, priceless.  And the show was a gift from my boss.  I pulled my hair, grabbed my face and screamed like it was 1964.

1.  Tom Petty with Mudcrutch at The Troubadour, Los Angeles, CA 2008 – Tom, 10 feet away.  My Musical Messiah–my Jesus of Rock ‘n’ Roll.  He smiled at me (ME!) and I was saved.  I can clearly remember standing there near the stage saying, “I can die now; my life is complete!” Tom reunited his old band (pre-Heartbreakers) and played a few gigs, mostly at The Troubadour, to support their new album.  Tom and the band, which included Mike Campbell on wicked guitar, seemed relaxed and happy.  No big light show, no grandstanding, just a regular band out to enjoy themselves and connect with the audience.  TEN FEET AWAY!

Tom Petty and Mike Campbell

February 8, 2011 Posted by | Brent Amaker and the Rodeo, Jimmy Buffett, Music, Old 97's, Paul McCartney, Rolling Stones, The Gorge Amphitheatre, The Gourds, The Paperboys, The Tractor Tavern, Todd Snider, Tom Petty, Will Kimbrough | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Concert Season 2006

Concert Season 2006
I gauge how good of a year I’ve had based on the quantity and quality of concerts I have attended during the spring/summer/fall months. This year [2006] has been the best ever! Usually in February, I start hunting band websites, venue websites and Ticketmaster looking for Seattle tour dates. I get so excited for Concert Season to roll around! The winter months are usually quite boring, with hardly any acts. That is the time for vacations or just spending downtime with family in the gray gloom. But then late in the winter, the dates start showing up in the newspaper, Ticketmaster sends emails, and I get a rush of excitement!

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 [2006] 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…

June

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.

July

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.

September

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 [2006], 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!

Will Kimbrough

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!

Rodney Crowell

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!

October

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)

Tension

I Can’t Complain

You Got Away With It

Looking for a Job

Carla

Easy Money

Tillamook County Jail

Iron Mike

Kingsmen Ballad

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.

November

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.

April 3, 2010 Posted by | Americana, Concert Season 2006, Marymoor Park, Music, Rodney Crowell, The Gorge Amphitheatre, Todd Snider, Tom Petty, Van Morrison, Will Kimbrough | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Todd Snider and R.E.K. at Zoo Tunes 8.8.2007

August 8, 2007 Zoo Tunes with Todd Snider and Robert Earl Keen

August was a busy month, but we didn’t want to miss this show. We wanted to take our son to see Todd Snider, but hoped he’d clean up a little for the family-friendly Zoo Tunes. Well, he kinda tried, but…anyway, another fun evening, this time with the boy.

The Woodland Park Zoo has a big open field where they set up a stage and booths for summer concerts. It’s a good time, and lots of families attend. Todd was in fine form, and was in his storytelling mood. He did try to cut out the swearing, “…for the children,” he said, but was having a hard time! It was really funny listening to him try.  At one point, he gave up because the songs just didn’t sound right without the swear words. The boy got a kick out of it. He knows Todd’s music anyway, so he laughed.

He played lots of my favorites, including Iron Mike’s Main Man’s Last Request, If Tomorrow Never Comes, Enjoy Yourself, Kingsmen, Seattle Grunge-Rock Blues, etc.

Robert Earl Keen was good, but we decided we liked Todd better. I did like the guitarist Robert had. He had a real rock style. Robert had a few favorites that got the crowd going at the end, including Highway Never Ends. Todd joined him for a couple of the songs at the end of the set. Cool.

March 28, 2010 Posted by | Americana, Concert Season 2007, Music, Todd Snider | , , , | Leave a comment

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.

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

Todd Snider at the Triple Door

I wrote this as a diary entry March 7, 2009.  I made a few edits recently, but tried to keep true to the original format.
   
Friday, February 20, 2009
Todd Snider (solo show) at the Triple Door, Seattle
 
“Take me home boys, I think I’m drunk!” [This is a line from Todd Snider’s song, “Double-Wide Blues”] I will try to write to the best of my ability about my crazy night out with P on the 20th. Now it’s the 7th of March. I’m already longing for the past. So hard to get over that week! Nothing to look forward to in March. I need a goal; I need a show; we have nothing planned. I’m empty inside! But looking back on that week in between Reno and the Triple Door…ugh. Too much to handle. It’s like we go from nothing to everything all at once.
 
Friday afternoon at lunch I had to run dog to the kennel; pick up the boy (he was on mid-winter break); after work, deposit boy at daycare several miles north in Maltby for a sleepover; then drive back home because I’d forgotten the luggage; drive to Ballard and pick up P at the office, but Ballard was a mess due to rush hour traffic. P then forgot the directions/address to the hotel, so he went back into the office to print them.
 
We stayed at Executive Hotel Pacific, a very old hotel across the street from the Seattle Library, 400 Spring St.
 
I was very crabby and hungry by the time we arrived at the hotel. P went downstairs and purchased some sandwiches to go while I got ready for the show. We had standing-room-only tickets, which was a bummer; but we didn’t order them till Wed or Thurs this week, so what could we do.We got to the Triple Door way too early, not knowing exactly when we should arrive. We went in the Musicquarium lounge and ordered appetizers and some drinks. Then we settled in a bit, ready for our fun night.We knew it wouldn’t be the same as Reno; it was just a Todd acoustic show tonight.
 
As the drinks and food settled in, I got into a friendly conversation with the man next to us at the bar. He was going to some Russian show at Benaroya Hall that night. Something about Russian music played and interpreted by several different artists. Oh, how exciting. I told him he really needs to go to a Todd show sometime. He hadn’t heard of him before, so I explained that he’s a modern-day folk singer, and very funny. I’m pretty sure we had much more fun than he did, plus I believe he was alone. Poor guy! I can enjoy and appreciate a good symphony and classical music, but sometimes one needs to diversify and see what else is out there. He would have had a good time; he just didn’t know it.
 
We decided to sit and watch a fun little band in the Musicquarium with some young people (I really felt OLD). The band covered a couple of Beatles tunes and some fun rockabilly stuff. They were ok, entertaining. We then stood up to go in to the Triple Door and got ready to stand for the rest of the evening.
 
We met a nice man right outside the host area and before we went downstairs. He mentioned he’d seen Todd before, and we told him we just came from Reno last week. He instantly bonded with us when we told him we’d seen Todd a few times and knew of Will. Funny, talkative guy.
 
Well, we parked ourselves right in front of the sound booth, and just decided to stand our ground. We did have a railing in front of us and a place to put our drinks on a little ledge. The crowded place was overflowing with people, so there was no chance of us getting any cancelled seats. We ordered a drink and one for our new friend, who planted himself next to us. He was the official bootleg recording engineer for the night. He was really nice, and told us about going to his daughter’s wedding and how he took her to a recent show at the Triple Door, and they played the same show by that artist (someone from the early 70’s I don’t remember who) at her wedding reception.
 
Kristin Ward opened the show with a guitar accompaniment. She was from Spokane. I liked her voice, real mellow, very folk. The best song was one about growing up on Division Ave.
Todd came on, and here’s the set list (not in order)
Talkin’ Seattle Grunge Rock Blues, then included a verse from Bob Dylan who stole it from Woody Guthrie

Train Song

Prelude to a Heart Attack

The Devil You Know

If Tomorrow Never Comes

Story of Tony Bennett, not THE Tony Bennett, but a homeless guy at the car wash

Old Times

Kingsmen Ballad

Tillamook County Jail

A couple of songs I haven’t heard of before

DB Cooper

Tension (gay weddin’s, Michael Phelps)

I’m sure there were more songs…Todd was ok, but not the best I’d seen. I think his show in Reno was much more polished. Seeing him play with a full band was much more energizing and just plain fun. He seemed a bit tired. He goofed on one song, seemed to forget his place. He warmed up as the crowd warmed up to him, though. It was a big place, and with everyone seated and eating dinner, it was much different from in Reno and certainly different from the Tractor, which is such a rowdy, dirty place. [I do remember at one point just standing there soaking everything in.  It might not have been the best show, but here we were, in the moment, watching one of our favorite musicians play in a beautiful theatre, with the crowd laughing and singing along.  That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?  Everything else went away at that moment.  No annoying distractions, no worries, no past, no future; just right now.  Listening and enjoying.]   There’s really no comparison to a full band show. The solo show just didn’t have the same energy. But overall, he was funny and sly.

We also had a good time talking to our new friend before and after the show. He kept telling us he’d send us some CD’s of live shows he and his buddies had recorded, and that he wasn’t a flake! I knew he wasn’t; I told him it was a Todd Snider thing! He actually did stop by P’s office and dropped off some CD’s.

We also met up with L from Bellingham at the t-shirt stand and talked to her for a little bit. It was a little hard to hear in there. Hopefully we’ll catch up to them in Bellingham sometime if Todd gets up there this summer.

After the show, we walked out to find something to eat. We were hungry! We walked a block or so out and around, and finally settled for Rock Bottom, which was the only place around serving food after 11:00. We had some yummy chicken quesadillas and water.

Got back to the hotel and crashed.

Next morning we had to get the hell out and go pick up the dog before 10:00 as well as the boy. Dog puked in the car a block from the house. Had to clean up the mess, then go pick up boy in Maltby. Talked to his daycare mom for a while, then had to go pick up the truck in Ballard, since we forgot to stop by there on the way home. How does one forget a truck?! Drove all the way from Maltby to Ballard, lost P on the way home, and ended up taking a different route, while he waited for us to pull out of parking lot. It was a miscommunication nightmare. We were both so forgetful. Just tired, I guess.

So that’s the end of the crazy week. It went by too quickly. Now I’m bored again. Hoping to schedule another show soon!  

January 23, 2010 Posted by | Americana, Concert Season 2009, Music, The Triple Door, Todd Snider | , , , | Leave a comment

Todd Snider and the Nervous Wrecks 2.2009

This journal was written in February, 2009. The TSNW show ranks as one of my top three concerts of all-time. Please note, this is a personal journal, written within a few hours after the shows. The rest of the details were added after returning home, without many revisions to grammar or content. I’ve inserted brackets just recently with additional information. I do not have the exact titles to some of the songs I have listed, nor exact quotes from the people we met at the shows.

Concert Season 2009

Thursday, February 12 – Sunday February 15

John Ascuaga’s Nugget, Sparks, NV

Todd Snider and the Nervous Wrecks – Including Will Kimbrough on guitar, Paul Griffith on drums, Joe Mariencheck on bass, David Zollo on keyboards 

Todd Snider with Will Kimbrough

Good Lord. Finally. After at least 3 years of wanting to see a Nervous Wrecks show, we did it. Unfortunately, it had to be in Sparks, the bastard step-child of the bastard step-child (Reno) of Vegas. Sparks is a very ugly, ugly town, but the people are so nice. The band made up for the disappointing destination by playing two amazing shows on Friday and Saturday night.

Room With A View: Sparks, NV

It was crazy busy the week we left; we had to deposit the boy, board the dog, pack the luggage, etc. We took a prop plane (Bombardier Q-400–same kind of plane that crashed earlier in the week in NY) which I wasn’t thrilled about; but we had a smooth flight, and got down there in less than 2 hrs. The landing was perfect! There was a big picture of Todd from his Devil You Know album along the wall of the airport to advertise the shows at the Nugget. Yay, Todd!

It was about 3:00 by the time we got into our room at the Nugget. Smoky, 80’s, gross. The room was decorated less tackily than the rest of the casino, because it was in a recently renovated section of the hotel. I just hate cigarette smoke and casinos. Gag me. But…I had to buck up, knowing I’d finally see Will and Todd together!

We decided to get in a workout before dinner, which was a nice way to unwind. They had a small gym and pool area on the 5th floor. We then ate at Trader Dick’s tiki bar/restaurant. The food was a fairly good Polynesian/Asian variety, and I had a totally strong drink! It was pretty much all vodka and one drop of cranberry juice. I settled down after that, but I could feel my nerves getting the best of me when we were walking around the casino. I kept thinking I’d run into Will or Todd somewhere, so I kept my eyes peeled. Alas, nothing. P tried his hand at a couple of slots (I hate gambling) and then we went up to the room and watched Pineapple Express, which was sooo funny! I think we were in bed by 10:00. Long day.

Feb 13 Friday

In the morning we went downstairs for a café style breakfast. The place was packed because there was a construction school convention at the hotel. I think we were the only people not there for the convention! We then decided to wander around. We stepped outside, and although sunny at first, it later started to snow. It was cold and windy. We walked across the street where there was a boarded up casino. I was hoping to do some shopping, but everything surrounding it was closed except for a couple of restaurants and taverns. Really ugly city. We walked back, a little disappointed and wondered what to do next.

We then decided to taxi into Reno. We found a nice taxi driver who took us to the only location worth(?) seeing in Reno. There are 3 casinos in the strip that are linked together: Circus Circus, Silver Legacy, and Eldorado. So we leisurely walked through, but found no fancy stores like the Forum in Vegas, so we kind of laughed at our white trash weekend. Apparently, mullets never went out of style. It was really a sad, depressed town.   We did find a nice brewery called Brews Bros and had a good lunch and ale. That was pretty much the highlight. We walked a few blocks, but most of the casinos had been boarded up, including Fitzgeralds, which had a sign taped to the window that said, “Casino Closed. Good Luck.” We stayed there with P’s parents about 15 years ago, and it was packed. Bummer. Reno was like a ghost town. We took a taxi back and tried to figure out what to do with ourselves. I was starting to get nervous now!

Not sure what we did next. Maybe watched TV, hung out, then took showers and got ready for dinner. We went back to Trader Dick‘s. Heading over to the show room, I could feel my heart flutter. But alas, no one was doing a meet-n-greet tonight. I just kept telling myself not to expect anything, just go and watch the show!

David Zollo on Keys with Todd Snider

Our seats were way over on the right, but right against the stage. We were near the keyboard player, a bare-footed David Zollo. I knew Will would probably be on the opposite end, which was a bummer. I immediately got cold from the blowing air conditioning, so P was nice enough to go get my sweater. By the time he got back, the lights dimmed, the curtain rose, and there they were! Todd, floppy hat, rolled up jeans, bare feet, navy blue grandpa cardigan and checked shirt. Will on Todd’s right, opposite side of us, in a vintage short sleeve black cowboy shirt and black skinny jeans, shorter hair (good for him, he was starting to look like Weird Al! ha) then the bass player Joe on Todd’s left. The drummer, Paul Griffith, was way in the back, and I hardly got a shot of him. They came out ready to P-L-A-Y!!

Todd Snider and The Nervous Wrecks

Set list, not in order except first 2 songs:

Bass Player

Good News Blues

DB Cooper

Prelude to a Heart Attack-Todd said he was inspired to write this because he had empathy for the guy in the car in front of him at the drive thru who was yelling at the kid running the drive thru window. Todd thought that man must have had a bad day. He had a much more expensive car than Todd, too. What kind of day would he have to have to yell at the kid at the drive thru?

If Tomorrow Never Comes

The Devil You Know

Train Song

Conservative Christian…

Alright Guy-Prelude to this song included a story about meeting Slash at a fancy hotel in LA. Slash was at the bar wearing a Metallica baseball cap backwards, nothing else but the kind of track shorts that Richard Simmons and people in the beginning of soft porn movies might wear. And 16-17 necklaces, 16-17 bracelets, anklets, and even around his waist he had 16-17 waist-lets! [Todd tells the story much better, with much more humor, and adds some additional information regarding recording contracts, etc. Go see his show and you’ll get a good laugh]

The Full Band Experience

Easy Money

Side Show Blues

Is This Thing On

Ode to Michael Phelps

Todd said he’d be out here playing this sh** till they have to wheel him out on stage in a wheel chair, and he’d be playing for our kids.

He also told a story about meeting Bill Elliott, the Nascar driver. Turns out the guy they thought was Bill was an impostor, but by that time he had signed his name all across the front of Todd’s guitar and ate all their backstage food! Todd said he’s still trying to decide if the impostor was his enemy or his hero!

I’m sure there were more songs in there. There were definitely more funny stories. The place was packed; many of the convention guys were there, too, so it seemed pretty rowdy. Some women next to us were locals and knew all the words and got up and danced next to us. The tables and chairs were crowded all around us, so it was hard to get out to an open spot. I was feeling a little shy about doing that anyway. They ended up standing on their chairs!

This other nice couple in front of us looked like they’d never seen Todd before, judging by the way they were reacting to his stories and songs. It was a joy to watch them act surprised, then burst out laughing.

Todd stopped a few times to ramble, including his speech that is on Peace Queer that talks about how his friends have told him that lately his songs seem to be more Opinionated. He writes them because they rhyme. He’s not trying to change your mind about anything; he’s trying to ease his own mind about everything!

I’ve heard Todd 3 other times over the last 3 years, but he was always solo. It was so amazing to hear him with a full band perform my favorite songs. We have never met the Elusive Mr. Todd Snider. Even at small venues like the Tractor, he does a final wave to the crowd and he’s out the back door. [We did sneak back to his tour bus after one show, but I’ll save that for another blog…]

And Will was a f***ing Guitar God. I told P that, too, and he agreed! Will had tons of solos, and he jammed on every single one. Amazing. Alien. Other-Worldly. I only wish we were on the other side of the stage.

I finally got out of my chair and danced along. I wish I could’ve danced right in front of the stage!! The room was full of energy, and the band picked up speed as they reacted to the crowd. It seemed like it ended too soon. They came out for an encore, and then the curtain went down for good.

We didn’t know what to do next. Would they come out? Not sure. So we hung around in the lobby, talked to some really nice locals that come every year. Met the t-shirt guys. The older one with long gray hair told us all about doing the t-shirts for west coast shows, mostly Cal and Reno, not WA. He was really nice, pretty drunk, but gave us good tips on shows not to miss, the best being the Not-All-Bluegrass [not exact title] show at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. A free show, 70 bands, including Todd (I think he’s solo), the Gourds, Emmylou Harris, etc. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss rocked it with Zeppelin tunes last October!

After about 45 minutes of hanging around and realizing they were not coming back, we decided to leave. I just figured that as a group, they probably stick together more and are sequestered to backstage. Bummer. I almost felt angry that we had come all that way and weren’t able to even talk to any of them. I kept telling myself I expected too much. Just enjoy the show. The reason we were here is to have a good time together and to see two awesome shows. And we did, so I can’t complain.

P was visibly bored hanging around, and we were both getting hungry. We went back to the room, ordered a big hamburger to share, and munched down!

I didn’t sleep real well that night. I think I fell asleep fast, but the air conditioner kept kicking on, and we could hear the freeway below, even though we were on the 27th floor! Not very good insulation. We could also hear trucks backing up all am, either food service or maybe for the construction convention. There was also a rail yard on the other side, and we could hear the trains pull in and out.

Feb 14 Saturday Valentines Day

We tried to sleep in, and stayed in bed till about 8:30. I gave P a funny Valentines card. We didn’t know what to do today. Went to a breakfast buffet. We noticed all the workers here are so nice. The buffet was pretty good, and we managed to stuff ourselves and get some good coffee.

Back at the room we checked on rental cars, but no one wanted to rent one to us for just one day! They must lose money. Dang. We decided to see if a movie was playing across the street at the big theatre, the only thing open besides the sparse taverns and restaurants. We ended up being just in time for the movie “Taken” with Liam Neeson. It was very suspenseful, very low-budget 007. Afterward, we were starving, so we went to In-N-Out Burger for our traditional hamburger feast [There is an unwritten law in Washington State that if one leaves the state and enters another where there is an In-N-Out, one must partake in a burger, fries and shake]. It was sooo cold outside and windy again. Everything was gray/brown, desolate, deserted, dirty. Ugly, ugly town. Had a brisk walk back to our hotel to take showers.

As we were walking through the casino, lo and behold, there was Will walking toward us!  We introduced ourselves, but didn’t talk long. We were all a bit tired after last night’s show. We told him we’d walked around town and into Reno yesterday, and how much of a ghost town it was. I told him we enjoyed the show, and that we’d seen Todd 3 times before, but never with a full band, and that was just magical (musically orgasmic, I thought). He seemed happy about that. Talked about how the audience seemed rowdy, and that lots were there for the convention. I also told him we met some really nice locals here. He said they were planning to switch out the songs and play some different ones for tonight’s show. I was glad to hear that, and was looking forward to another night. He had to go rehearse, so he said goodbye. Now I was ready to enjoy the second show, and wasn’t too worried about if we’d see them afterward. I was amazed that we ran into him in such a big place.

Well, it was Valentine’s Day, and we thought we should make dinner reservations. How stupid of us to wait until 3:00 to make reservations!! Of course every restaurant in the place was booked. We had to eat downstairs at a deli. We sat in a booth next to the smoke-filled betting room, where there were people over 75 playing keno and betting on horses. Disgusting, but the sandwiches were ok. We got outta there quickly. How romantic!

Will and Todd

THE 2nd SHOW

This was all about variety. He played a few from last night, but seemed like he played a ton more this night.

Set list (not in order, except for first 2 again)

Conservative Christian

Trouble

Train Song

Easy Money

DB Cooper

B-EE-RR-U-N [pronounced B double E double R-U-N]

Hey Hey Hey

Horseshoe Lake

If Tomorrow Never Comes

Prelude to Heart Attack

Incarcerated

Kingsmen

Alright Guy

A 50’s song

Folsom Prison Blues

Good News Blues

Double Wide Blues

The second show was even more packed than the first, even though the conventioneers had checked out that morning. The crowd seemed more quiet and behaved, but then got a little rowdier as the night wore on, and everyone sang along. Not as much on-the-chair dancing. I did get up this time and danced to several songs. I just couldn’t help myself! Will rocked again, and again I was disappointed I couldn’t get a very good angle with my camera. Mostly took pics of the bass player and a side view of Todd.

Bass: Joe Mariencheck

Again, there were some nice people around us. One guy and his wife and friend sat in front of us and commented how tight the seating was. We were all hoping no one would sit in between us because there was literally no room to sit at our table in any kind of comfortable manner. He was nice, and later we met up with them at Dick’s. The couple behind us forgot their camera and asked me to send pics later. He gave me his business card, and I have since sent him a few pics. He was real nice too, and wrote back that they also might go to the Bluegrass Fest. He thought Todd’s show was the best concert he’d ever seen.

Afterward, we met up with David Zollo, the keyboard player, and I told him it was such a pleasure to watch a full band show, and that he was in my iPod, so he must’ve done some session work with Will, etc. He said he does, and that he is from Ohio, so he just meets up with them when they need him. He was very appreciative and thanked us for coming out from Seattle.

We then went over to the younger t-shirt guy, who was very friendly. We asked if we could get our son’s Peace Queer t-shirt signed, but he said it wasn’t up to him, and told us to talk to the guy in the green shirt, cuz he runs the place. The guy in the green shirt said they are probably not going to come out right now. Another guy was talking about Wayne Newton, who was supposed to play there on Sunday. He said Mr. Newton has had so many facelifts, his penis is now the size of a clitoris! Ha I think he’s the same guy who also said, after I’d said I was hoping Tommy [Womack] would have joined them, that Tommy would probably never be a part of their band again, because…”he never wanted to be a f***in’ side man for anyone!” So, after hanging around again, we decided to just leave. I was disappointed again, and didn’t quite know what to do.

P needed to get some more cash before heading back up to the room and depositing our stuff. We were trying to decide if we should come back down to the casino. While doing so, here comes the t-shirt guy, who told us to stop by Dick’s because they were going to meet for a little party there. I got excited then! Yay, something to do! We stopped back by the room and dropped off our stuff, fixed the makeup.

At Dick’s, the people had gathered in front of the tiki bar.  They pushed some tables together. We didn’t know what to do exactly, since they all seemed to know each other; so we sat at the bar behind them and ordered a steaming (dry-ice effects) volcano drink. The t-shirt guy was trying to take pics of us, but we were goofing around and laughing. I saw him look back at what he’d taken, and kind of grimace! Ha I felt self-conscious, and wanted him to take a better shot of us in case it ends up on his Facebook site or something! He asked if we wanted to join him at the table, so we did. He was from Michigan. The group is kind of an unofficial fan network. They were all so nice. The couple next to us, T and L, were from Bellingham! So we had fun comparing Todd stories. L is a lot like me, a true married groupie. T and P bonded and talked about their crazy wives.

The guy that was in front of us at the show was there with wife and dentist friend. The guy told a story about seeing Todd at Reindeer Lodge…I kept fading in and out of the conversations because I was distracted looking around for the band. The guys said the band might come down there, and that they did last night!! Darn!! I was pissed I missed them. Anyway, the one guy talking about Reindeer Lodge…I interjected that we saw him there, meaning I saw the guy at our show that night. He thought I meant we remembered seeing him at Reindeer Lodge, and that we were getting engaged at the time. I said, “Huh?” He said, “Huh?” Then he realized he was mixing me up with some other couple, and then I told him I meant he sat in front of us at the show tonight! Too funny. He also told a story about seeing Todd at the lodge back in the mid-90’s. He said Todd was so out of it that he ran into a lodge pole that cut thru the middle of the stage and hit his head. He was out cold; end of show!

Then L was trying to get my attention and asked my name. I was staring out into space. Finally, I said, “Huh? Oh! I’m [aplscruf]!” They must’ve thought I was on drugs! Just distracted.

Then Will and the drummer Paul showed up. I kept my cool, kept seated.  I stayed in my seat while L greeted them with hugs. I was secretly envious that she knew them so well! They were standing there talking for about 5 minutes. T finally said, “Go talk to them!” as he knew I was a groupie wife like his own.

I walked over among the crowd of mostly men that gathered around them. I tried to keep my cool and not act too stupid, but I felt awestruck being in the presence of such musical greatness! Other people would come and go and talk too, but in between I tried to keep asking questions. Before I left for the trip, I was going to memorize a bunch of questions, but I thought that would be too disappointing if I never got to see them. So I just winged it.

I asked Will about his recent European tour with Rodney Crowell.  I also asked about his upcoming Australian tour and what cities he would be visiting. I enjoyed hearing about his tour experiences. I told Will that I found out about him through listening to Radio Margaritaville while bored at work. [I found that Radio Margaritaville is a great way to beat the work grind blues] Will has written several songs for Jimmy Buffett and has recorded and toured with him. He told us the story of how he was connected with the Buffett family and how that led to meeting Todd and the other musicians.

[I love hearing about the organic connections that musicians move through from one point to another in their careers. One introduction leads to a gig or a chance to do a session, which leads to more introductions, and the musical possibilities expand, leading to more creativity, more artistic freedom.]

One of the guys asked me why I would come all the way from Seattle just to see a show! I told him, ‘Well, some of us are born to be on the stage, and some of us are born to be in the audience!” I believe they got a kick out of that answer.

They also said I should buy Will a drink, but I didn’t have my purse with me. I told him I would, but P has all of our money! They laughed. What I should have told them was, well, I purchased every one of Will’s albums including the Bushmen and Daddy as well as several of Todd Snider‘s, Jimmy Buffett‘s, and Rodney Crowell‘s albums; I bought their t-shirts and spent many minutes explaining to several people, including a tipsy Alaskan Native in Ketchikan who the hell Will is and why he’s an alien; I paid a guitar instructor to not only teach me how to play Closer to the Ground but also to transcribe it to sheet music; I spent eight hours on the road driving to Coos bay with my 10-year-old son and a chaperone friend on his last leg–literally (he’s an amputee), to see Will and Rodney Crowell play at Music on the Bay and then turned around and drove home the next day; I purchased concert tickets, airline tickets and a hotel room in the Worst City in the World just to come watch him play in the Nervous Wrecks; therefore, I believe he should buy ME a drink!! [Looking back at this paragraph, I realize I am truly a groupie. Or a stalker. Or both. Good Lord.]

P said Reno is the bastard step-child of Vegas. Will said, “Well, then Sparks must be…” and we all said together, “…the bastard step-child of the bastard step-child…”

We continued to talk with the other fans and also met the sound engineer, Michael Romanowski, who lives in Oakland. Michael recorded the shows both nights, and I guess they did some other individual recording while they were there. Very nice man. He just moved to Oakland area. We told him about how we have relatives in Oakland.

We then went over to talk to Paul “Grifter” Griffith, the drummer. I think someone introduced us, and he told me something complimentary. How sweet! He’s also extremely funny and very talented. He shared some hilarious stories. He asked us what we did, so we told him about our current jobs and somehow got on the subject of teaching, and we told him about being ex-teachers of at-risk and special education students. He asked about Seattle, and if we like it. I said it’s great, except for 3 months out of the year! I want to write the Great American Novel so I can leave an go somewhere warm for the winter. He got all excited and said he wrote a novel last year. He said to go on Harlequin.com, because they’re looking for romance novelists all the time! P told him how I write journals about every trip, concert, etc. and have pages and pages of them. Paul said I should start my own blog.[…and so I did! Thanks, Paul!] I told him I was Technologically Impaired. Ha He liked that one!  Paul said he hardly knows the songs Todd does from the mid-90’s. I asked, “Don’t you rehearse?” He said, “No, we did a sound check, but today we played Steve Miller Band!” Ha Amazing that he can just figure it out. He’s that good!

We then decided we’d better get our butts to bed. We said our goodbyes to our new friends and left. But instead of heading straight to our room, we went out for pancakes at the diner. Yum!

A Musically Orgasmic Evening!! I didn’t sleep all night due to the adrenaline rush of getting to chat with my musical heroes!

Flew home Sunday afternoon, back to reality.

January 16, 2010 Posted by | Americana, Concert Season 2009, Music, Todd Snider, Will Kimbrough | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments