Sunday, April 09, 2006

New Riders of the Purple Sage Renaissance

Whoa! It has been an incredible few days and I am only just now starting a graded descent into normalcy (whatever THAT is). I had the greatest time at the shows I attended in the past few days and only wish there were more of them closer to home.

Before I get on to the band and the shows, I have to comment on the "scene" itself. I was blown out of the water by all of the fans, especially the Nelson Band fans who showed up en masse at the Great American Music Hall and/or The Mystic Theatre. I counted at least thirty regulars, among them, Joe Cohn, Kelly, Todd from Forestville, Ruth, Ray and Ethel, lady with long wavy red hair who came up and wished ME (???) a successful show (I do not know your name but I have seen you everywhere and would like to publicly acknowledge your support of the Nelson Band), Nick Hamil, Rick and Pam Baker (whom I just met for the first time after corresponding off and on for years), DeadHead Tim, SocalBill, Bud Boy, Jan, and Canyon. If your name is not listed, it is just that I am too fried right now and probably will amend this when I get the photos of the shows. A really big thank you and nod of appreciation to Brad and Tricia Stiles who flew out from Iowa City for the shows. Tricia and I have been corresponding since the early 90's and it was great spending time together and getting to know these wonderful people. Tricia and Brad, you are really special people and I love you!

I had never met most of this lineup before so it was a special treat to meet Ron Penque, Michael Falzarano and Johnny Markowski. "Toast" and "Little Toast" were a great road team and handled the band's needs in a calm, professional and orderly fashion that I rarely see at gigs. And of course, Timmy Stiegler, sound man extraordinaire, who made everything run smoothly and sound great all over the rooms. Michael and Ron did an excellent job trading McDuke-style vocal duties on John Dawson's classic songs (God, did you ever think we'd be old enough to be "classic"). David's voice was fantastic, as it always is, and I really enjoyed getting to see him shine on lead guitar - Mr. Nelson is one perfect person, in my opinion. Buddy's pedal steel technique has only improved with age! The combination was truly staggering and the energy started out high and stayed that way throughout the show. How they could sustain that level is beyond me.

Some of my favorite highlights of the two days (in random order because I cannot think in a coherent, linear fashion right now) are "Let it Bleed," "One Too Many Stories," "Groupie," "Runnin' Back To You" (which always makes me cry) and "Portland Woman." People who are more set list oriented probably have a better feel for this kind of thing than I do. I just listen and love it! I can only think of two improvements to be made right now - add the real John Dawson (which due to health reasons is not going to happen) and add the Nelson Band to the bill!!!

Props, guys, 'way to go!!!!

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