Sunday, January 5, 2014

Playing Dead In the Middle East

Dave was in town on holiday vacation on January 3rd and, after yet another snowstorm, we were settling in for a long winter’s night when we saw on Larry’s FB that he was sitting in with Playing Dead at the Middle East (upstairs)!  Took us a few seconds to think: we’re shoveled out, snow emergency in Cambridge is over, let’s go!

Got the times wrong and so were earlier than we needed to be, but a few hands of rummy later (with a couple of pitchers served by a glum woman from the Middle East), we moseyed into the upstairs room and grabbed some spots in front of the keyboards.  Strange that we’d never seen Playing Dead before but had seen Larry’s band, Ol’ Brown Shoe, many times.  Playing Dead was missing some guys because of sickness and the lineup we saw was Mark Munzer (keys), Jim Harris (guitar), Tony Ryon and Brian Epstein (drums), with Larry Mancini and John Brigham filling in on guitar and bass respectively.

I’m perhaps biased, but they were smart enough to feature Larry all night, for example on the opening That’s What Love Will Make You Do.  Then they ripped off a whole night’s worth of excellent tunes.  Larry had told Dave that they would be doing primarily Dead tunes, but this included a few borderline JGB tunes if you’re going to be a stickler for accuracy.  Whatever, highlights were: Hard To Handle, Tough Mama (one of my favorite songs from the first time I heard it), The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, Easy Wind, Brown-Eyed Women, Eyes Of the World (into TOO!), and an end-of-the-set Spencer Davis Group song I can’t remember.

Dave, we, and everyone in the almost-packed place was delighted, dancing hard, and singing along.  These people were not casual viewers … we all were there on a barely post-snow-apocalypse night because we were psyched to hear this music and these guys played it well to say the least!

The car was very cold when we got back to it, on a deserted Mass Ave.  It was 2AM and 1 degree Fahrenheit when we got home.

Pictures at:

Here's Tough Mama:

And here's Easy Wind:

And here's Eyes:

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