And JRAD in the House of Blues instead of the Paradise again?!? I love the sound at the HOB and was very excited to think of JRAD playing there. They've been doing acoustic mini-sets at the end of their first sets lately (Bob Weir sat in on a recent one, and John Mayer did a couple of months ago), and I was hoping they'd do that.
Sarah and I were at home for various reasons, but took off for the Fens at the end of the afternoon, making it to the parking lot on Van Ness eventually through thick traffic. The HOB restaurant was closed for a special event, so we met Dave at Yardhouse and had another excellent Yardhouse dinner and raft of beers. Headed over to Lansdowne Street (after a detour by the car) and took our places about 20th in line about 45 minutes before the doors opened. And it's a good thing we were that early, the line was soon around the block! Needless to say, this show was sold out and almost everyone there was there to see one of the best bands around, not just out for a night at a rock club.
Met some nice people in line and the time flew by, and before we knew it we were filing in. Dave and I got quite searched and they ended up denying him access temporarily. I saw he wasn't behind me and so turned around; was able to hand him the keys so he could go back to the car and then try again. In the meantime, Sarah had secured our spot so everything was ok, except Dave now had to go to the back of that long line and it took him basically a whole hour to get in.
Met some nice people inside and that hour flew by while the hall filled in; it was eventually as packed as it gets. The guy next to me got in with a whole baggie of stuff and must have smoked it all (discreetly??) by the end of the night.
Dave showed up eventually and we critiqued the stage setup. Marco did not have his stand-up piano and Joe's drum kit was a little smaller than when we'd seen them before. And it didn't look like they were geared up for the switch to an acoustic setup that we were hoping for. Oh well.
Soon the boys came out, tuned up a bit, and launched right into the good stuff. Dave called the first song from the intro ... here are Costello's notes:
House of Blues,
(SOLD OUT - THANK YOU!!!)
Set 1 (9:16PM - 10:21PM)
Music Never Stopped @ (SM) ->
China Cat Sunflower (TH) ->
Touch of Grey (TH)
Black Throated Wind # (SM) >
Jack Straw (SM & TH)
Ruben & Cherise $ (TH) ->
I Know You Rider (All)
Set 2 (10:53PM - ~1:00AM)
Althea % (TH) ->
Duo Jam ->
Good Lovin (SM) ->
Terrapin Station Jam ++ ->
My Pet Goat Jam ^ ->
Terrapin Suite & (TH) >
Uncle Johns Band (All) ->
9x9 Jam * ->
Uncle Johns Band Reprise + (All)
He’s Gone (TH/All) ->
Saint Of Circumstance @@ (SM)
E: Ophelia (SM) >
Not Fade Away ## (All) ->
Brown Eyed Women %% ->
Not Fade Away Reprise $$ (All)
@ - With The Eleven Tease (SM), unfinished
# - With a Jack Straw Jam (Band)
$ - With China->Rider Transition Teases (TH) & a “Waltz #1” (Elliot Smith) Tease (MB)
% - With an “All of My Love” (Led Zeppelin) Tease (MB)
++ - First Time Played by Almost Dead (I think?)
^ - First Time Played by Almost Dead, Benevento Russo Duo Original, not the complete song
& - With Ruben & Cherise Teases (Band)
* - First Time Played by Almost Dead, Benevento Russo Duo Original, not the complete song
+ - First Time Played by Almost Dead
@@ - With Ruben & Cherise and Terrapin Station Teases (Band)
## - With GDTRFB Teases (SM) and “Shortnin’ Bread” (James Whitcomb Riley) Teases (Band)
%% - With a “Come On Feel The Noize” (Quiet Riot) Tease (JR)
$$ - First time played since 2015-02-16 Boulder, CO, a gap of 66 shows, With a “Hey Bulldog” Jam (Band) - that may end up being a track, not sure if it was long enough.
- They were firing on all cylinders right off the line. Music was big and beefy and featured an excellent outro jam, which sounded like it was going to morph into The Eleven. Instead they turned a quick corner and bam! ... were playing the China Cat intro ... Dave had called this too.
- The sing-songy Touch, as you might imagine, was a bit of a weird thing for this band to play, but they aren't afraid to be weird.
- Black-Throated Wind was awesome; Scott was singing incredibly last night. And that went into a short and sweet Jack Straw.
- Then Tommy took over the mike with a crackling Reuben and Cherise, which morphed into a sing-along I Know You Rider to end the set.
Wow! The were all on fire and, it seems strange to say, but if you had to pick a slightly less then incredible performance it might have been Joe (he cured this in the second set). He was really singing and playing fantastically and did not turn in a weak performance at all, but everyone else on the stage was beyond the top of his game! Marco was just spectacular on his organ, Rhodes, and piano ... his piano sounded incredible. Tom was coming out with aggressive, stand-on-your-head lead after lead, the singing was excellent, and Dave was amazingly amazing.
At times I got the feeling I've mentioned when seeing Phil and Stanley Jordan, that I could see the music. Dave was laying down a popping bass line and looking at Joe; Joe was slamming his toms and cymbals and looking over at Marco; Marco had one hand on his organ and one hand on his Rhodes and was bouncing the energy from the rhythm guys to the guitarists. You could see the electricity crackling back and forth among them.
And the room was great for this band. I think that may have been part of why they were playing so well: the House Of Blues can ring in time with a loud band, the space fills with the sound and reverberates with the beat. As I say, everyone there was [Almost] Deadicated and when you looked out over the floor, it was a sea of wildly dancing people.
Our place was being threatened of course, but we were able to take turns at the bathrooms and smoke area, and then get back together before the second set started. Joe had said the break would be short, but it was average length. It was already getting late, but we were about to see JRAD do a second set ... "late" was not an issue.
What can you say about that second set? It was a little weird because it basically had only 7 songs. But these were epic versions filled in with jams that left you drooling. There is never a down second with these guys, it's rare to find a time when there isn't something unique and remarkable going on on stage, and usually there are many remarkable things happening at once.
I have to say something about the Terrapin, because it was one of the most epic versions ever. It seemed to go on for a hour with the transitions and the jams and the choruses. It built and climaxed and built and climaxed over and over. You would have thought it would have been exhausting but it wasn't, it was exhilarating.
And when they were finally done they fell into a crunchy, rocky UJB that was driven by its beat, and then one of the best He's Gones I've ever heard ... soulful and yearning. And then they finished the set with another left turn into a rocking Saint, which had the entirety of the Fenway area jumping. We were going for it for sure. And to top his excellent vocal night, at the end, right before the last chords, Scott switched into his best falsetto and capped the song with an emphatic, "Going on a feeling!!!"
Again, Wow!!! The floor was a mess of empty cans and cups, and we were all a satisfied mess as well. They came back out after a little bit and launched into Ophelia, a drummer's special. That's so perfect we thought, open the second set with Althea and end the night with Ophelia. But they were not ending!! They teased us a bit at the end of it and then before we knew it they were playing the ultimate rocker, Holly's Not Fade Away. My buddy to my left went nuts, having predicted that they'd close with this (he was about done with his baggie by this point).
But then the music didn't stop! They burst through another door in unison and whacked us over the heads with Brown-Eyed Women. Again, a crunchy, rocky version in which they hit all the emotional phrasings but did it fast, with an incredible beat and Joe playing every possible part of it. And then they were back into NFA! They stopped while everyone was chanting, waved at us all, and then walked away. What a night and what a performance!
Actually, the last on the stage was Tom. He'd taken off his jacket in the middle of a song, but was still as stylish as ever in a long scarf and his ever-present scally cap. And then someone threw a number of scally caps on stage at him! He was a little surprised but then realized the story, that a fan wanted him to autograph the caps, so he went over to the side of the stage, sat down and hung out while signing. Nice music and nice guys.
Got it together and started out pretty soon after that. It was already just after 1. Got to the car and it would have been an easy ride home, but the staties had blocked off the entrances to 93 from Storrow Drive and Leverett Circle, so had to wend our way though Charlestown before we could get on the highway. It was well after 2 by the time I got to bed.