Thursday, December 21, 2017

More Miss Tess please

I keep an eye on her schedule but didn't realize until the last minute that Miss Tess and the Talkbacks were going to be back in The Burren on a December Wednesday night (we saw her there on a December Thursday night last year).  And this would be the last day of Fall (12/20).

Met Sarah at The Burren after work and had a beer or two with some other GA early-enthusiasts.  The seats in front of the stage were not set up (the room was 75% full at most), but we got good seats in the back.  I have to say that they had grilled tuna on the special list, I ordered it, and it was a beyond-excellent, very large piece of fish.  Black on the outside with some nice spices and just past raw in the center, I can still taste it!

Anyway, harrumph, the beer was cold (Long Trail Limbo IPA) and the show was a lot of fun.  Miss Tess is still playing with basically the same band, the excellent Thomas Bryan Eaton on electric and Sam Zucchini on drums, with a new bass player (James Gascon?).  And she's still playing an outrageously wonderfully rich guitar.  It was a shock to realize that we hadn't seen her for a year.

Miss Tess has written some amazing songs and didn't play many new ones, though she did play a bunch from the last couple of records, including Ride That Train (second in the set), Little Lola, I Can't Help Myself, Do You Want My Love, Take You Break You Shake You, Moonshiner, Raitt's Give It Up Or Let Me Go, and Save Me St. Peter, which is apparently a song about finally getting a parking space on St. Peter Street in JP.

So it was pretty much a repeat of the Miss Tess show and wasn't really crackling, except for some leads by Eaton.  But Sarah and I had a great time and will go to see her again next time she's back in Somerville (or wherever).  Another of those musicians we can't believe is not wildly popular, as agreed to by our fellow enthusiasts.  And I loved the tuna.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

JRAD and HOB Combine Twice

Yikes, time to go see JRAD again!  This would be the last in our recent set of incredible Fall concerts.  Sorry to have this excellent 2017 season end, but how lucky are we anyway?  Gotta appreciate these things.

First snow of the season in Boston and it was 6 inches of wet, heavy stuff that started coming down mid-morning and didn't stop.  We managed to ignore it and headed into the Fenway area on schedule ... then found out on the way that JRAD had just posted that the doors would be opening at 6 instead of 7 to deal with the storm.  Could be that this was actually more a response to Friday's slow, slow, slow security situation, which many people were complaining about on social media, than to the storm.  People were complaining about inappropriate touching and there seems to be a rash of that lately.

We were early as always, but what this change of times meant to us was that we'd better eat dinner fast (we had 5:30 reservations at the HOB Restaurant and were on time) just in case people entering at 6 snagged our spot!  The beer was cold, but they really don't do "food" well at the "HOB Restaurant."  Oh well, the reason we go there is to get something in our stomachs and most of all, to be more assured of getting in early.  We split up the tickets and Sarah and Dave grabbed the receipt and headed for the doors, with me not far behind.  When I got there there was no line, and the search wasn't quite as extensive as it had been Friday.

So what this meant was that we had 90 minutes or so to cool our heels in our preferred corner.  The merch table was exactly as it was yesterday ... nothing new there.  But again, the beer was cold and the crowd really filled in quickly.  As I say, the great majority of the people there were not going to miss a minute of this, snow be damned.  The HOB was pretty packed by 8 and the guys came out a few minutes after that.

In some ways this was a very different concert from Friday.  Friday events everywhere to our experience, and particularly in the Fenway area, are frantic, crowded, and wild.  This Saturday (maybe because a few people opted to stay home?) was much more mellow, less crowded (we had room to dance all night), and developed at a more mature pace.

Here's Costello again:

Costello here. Here's what I think I heard:
Show #135
House Of Blues
Boston, MA
Night Two of Two
Set One (8:09pm - 9:19pm)
Promised Land >
Shakedown Street @ ->
Jam # ->
The Other One $ >
Viola Lee Blues % >
Cats Under The Stars ^
One More Saturday Night
Set Two (9:53pm - 12:01am)
Feel Like A Stranger & ->
Franklin’s Tower >
Dancing In The Streets * >
Eyes Of The World + ->
Jam @@ ->
Let It Grow ## >
Standing On The Moon $$>
Truckin' ->
Music Never Stopped Jam -
Truckin’ Reprise ->
Born Cross Eyed Jam
GDTRFB %% > WBYGN (Instrumental)
@ - Unfinished
# - With a “Love Supreme” (John Coltrane)
$ - With a Playin Tease (Band)
% - With a Throwin Stones Tease (Band), a China Cat Tease (TH), a DD/MB Duo Jam, with TH on Drums, & a “Shortnin’ Bread” (James Whitcomb Riley) Tease (MB)
^ - With a “Walk Like An Egyptian” (The Bangles) tease (MB), a China Cat Tease (SM), a “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” (Michael Jackson) Tease (SM) & a “St. Thomas” (Sonny Rollins) Tease (SM)
& - With an Immigrant Song” (Led Zeppelin) Tease, a “Tom’s Diner” (Suzanne Vega) Tease (SM) and a Slipknot! Tease (Band)
* - With a DD Bass Solo, “Tell Me A Bedtime Story” (Herbie Hancock) Jam (MB) & Eyes Teases (Band)
+ - “Flipped” Version - Started with the “’73 Ending” Changes played in the key of Dancin’, and a DD Bass Solo
@@ - With a “Fly Like An Eagle” (Steve Miller) Tease (MB)
## - With an “Amazing Grace” (Traditional) Tease (TH), an “If You Think I’m Sexy” (Rod Stewart) // “My Prerogative” (Bobby Brown) Jam that included audience vocals, and a Slipknot! Tease (Band)
$$ - Not played since Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY, 2015-10-2, a gap of 88 shows
%% - With a Not Fade Away Tease (Band)
Pre Show Music: Costello’s Spotify Petty Mix:
Set Break Music: Metzger’s Spotify Early Rock N Roll Mix
Walk Out Music: Man in the Mirror / Thriller (Michael Jackson)
Poster: Colortest
Thanks to the House of Blues Boston staff & crew for improving tonight's entry process for our fans. Our deepest gratitude to everyone that came out & supported the band in 2017. We'll see you all in 2018.
  • Everyone was playing as excellently as they had the night before.  In fact, I could repeat many observations from yesterday, such as Joe's great positioning, Dave's absolute funk (he and Marco did a duo jam, and I wouldn't have been surprised to hear him solo), and the absolutely stellar sound.
  • Tommy was back to his regular guitar, no Wolf, and shockingly he did not have a scarf on.  He seemed almost naked without it!  But you'll be glad to hear that he was wearing a scally cap and a dorky cardigan sweater.
  • The Dave jam at the end of Eyes definitely included "O Christmas Tree," which was taken over by Marco.  Maybe Marco did a little Fly Like An Eagle later, but ...
  • In the Truckin' outro they seemed to consider going into TOO, but realized they'd done that tune already and it was time to end the night.  Joe had a few things to say though, and after introducing the band he thanked us at length for a fucking great 2017.  Well Joe, the feeling's mutual!
Short post today compared to yesterday, but we were no less delighted.  And part of our delight with JRAD is that there seems to be no shortage of people who are as gobsmacked with them as we are.  I mean, they sold out two nights in the huge HOB in two seconds!  To hear these guys play, and to get the chance to see them live from so close in such a great room is awesome.  I already can't wait for their upcoming three-show stand at the Cap in January, which I assume will be webcast.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

JRAD and HOB Combine Once

My last few posts have referenced how lucky we're been in Boston lately to get such a richness of great musical acts.  Hope this continues to happen every Fall, maybe one of these days I'll be more ready for it and not feel so rushed!  But fuck feeling rushed, these are all can't misses, and I mean me can't miss, not them.  Hope you could follow that.

Anyway, goddamn JRAD was making a two-show visit to the House of Blues (12/8-9) and of course we got tickets to both as soon as they went on sale ... and they sold out pretty quickly.  As discussed before, though this might nominally and by evidence be a "tribute band," they are much, much more than that characterization indicates, and in fact are one of the best bands around to my ear.  And I love the HOB and feel that JRAD is perfect for it.

Left work even earlier than normal and was able to get into Boston before Friday rush hour got really crazy. Down Soldiers Field Road in the December gloaming and up over the newly reconstructed but same old Bowker Interchange.  Our parking lot on the corner of Van Ness was still in "day" mode and wasn't ready to let me in (commuters still to leave), but I was able to get a street space on Van Ness and hurry over to the HOB restaurant, where we hadn't been able to make reservations.  What do you know?  I was afraid they'd be having a private party but they were pretty empty and were more than eager to give just me a table for 4, where I spread out, had a beer or two, and waited for Sarah, Dave, and Leen, who all got there pretty soon it seemed.

Ate what turned out to be a fast dinner, fed the meter again and dumped stuff in the car, then waited in the "entree" line to get in.  We four were maybe 20th in line to get in, which was great ... and as expected the entree line soon stretched pretty far and the regular line soon stretched *way* up the street.

And though I'd said that the recent Hartford Civic Center search-to-get-in was extreme, this was even more so!  It took about 5 minutes for the guy to wand me, to pat me, to ask what's in that pocket, what's in that pocket, "can you show me sir?," to insist that I discard the two ibuprofens in my pocket, and to apparently give me a psychological evaluation.  The guy asked a few questions (luckily I can recite pi to the 14th digit), looked me in the eyes, and seemed to be making a mental assessment that I hope went well.  I thought maybe he was going to kiss me just to make the experience more meaningful for both of us, but he finally waved me on and it took me a minute to get my things back in my pockets and my mind back in its compartment ... hope my clothes were on straight!  I guess having just smoked a hit of pot (perfectly legal) might have made this less smooth than it might have been, but maybe not!  And there was a LONG line behind us ... if they did this to everyone it would take all night for the show to get started.

Oh well, Dave and the girls had gotten through before me and Dave waited for me while the girls grabbed our spot.  Took me a while to get my extremities warm again after the wait outside and the search-that-took-forever, but we had a while to hang out (as predicted).  Time passed quickly though, and we soon had checked out the merch table, gotten beers, and all that pre-show stuff while the HOB got packed the way it does.  Leen seemed excited about our great perch, the amazing sight lines from there, and the fact that the HOB just seems like a really big league rock club.

Eventually the room got to around 87.6% capacity (my guess) and the guys straggled on stage at 8:20 or so, not too bad.  They were lined up as they always were, but Joe's kit was not at all in the back, like the classic drummer's position, it was almost at the front of center stage.  Not as big a kit as he used to carry around a few years ago, but on the other hand not as compact as some times we're seen him.  In particular he had twin toms to his right that were a little luxuriant but were used/needed when he took one of his excursions and whacked everything in sight, repeatedly.

Another observation was that Marco had a grand fucking piano, and he sure used this to great effect.  Though we were close, we couldn't see Marco's fingering at all because of the grand pointing right towards us, but we sure could hear him and that excellent instrument.  He was captivating last night, as he always is, but there were times when I and everyone in the vicinity was watching him like a hawk, and he was watching us right back, smiling, waving, and laughing.

Two more things: because Joe was so far forward it forced Dave and Scott way over to the right, but the sight lines and the sound at the HOB are so great that we were still able to catch every move they made and every string they strung.  What a band!  And oh yeah, when Tom came out on stage he had a certain tiger-striped, blond guitar that looked like a 70s version of a very cool spaceship.  He was fucking playing Jerry's Wolf guitar all night long and there were certain stretches when I (and everyone in vicinity) were just staring at Wolf, being played like Jerry would if he were alive today.  Especially at the close of the second set ... spoiler alert.

Wow!  We were ready when they came on stage and they started off with a country rocker that got us all into that certain place.  Here's Costello's play by play:

Good evening internet, its Costello, with the #BoxScore from Boston, Night One:
Show #134
House of Blues Boston
Boston, MA
Night One of Two
Set One (8:20pm - 9:43PM)
Big Railroad Blues ->
Silvio >
Loser ->
Jam ->
Easy Wind @ ->
Jam # ->
Row Jimmy ->
St. Stephen ->
Jam ->
St. Stephen Reprise >
Samson & Delilah
Set Two (10:13pm - 11:50PM)
Jam ->
Dark Hollow >
Mr Charlie $ >
Help On The Way ->
Slipknot! % >
Mississippi Half Step >
Estimated Prophet >
Morning Dew
Greatest Story Ever Told ^
TH played "Wolf" for the whole show.
@ - “Flipped” Version - Opened with the last verse sung first.
# - With Let It Grow Teases (TH)
$ - With a “Moby Dick” (Led Zeppelin) Jam
% - With Let It Grow Teases (TH then Band)
^ - With The Wheel Teases (Band)
Pre Show Music: Scott Metzger’s Spotify Xmas Mix
Set Break Music: Costello’s Spotify Motown Mix
Post Show Music: Dirty Water (Boston You’re My Home) - The Standells and Pancho & Lefty - Townes Van Zandt
Poster: Colortest
Thanks to the staff & crew at HOB Boston, to all of you that came out or caught a stream. What's everyone doing tomorrow night? Shall we do it again? Cool, see you there...

Oh jeez, what can I say about this?  This was our fifth time seeing JRAD live and we feel we've seen then a lot more because they webcast so many shows.  When we'd seen them before at HOB, which they just rocked like their own personal spaceship, Joe had been a little subdued.  But he was sure not subdued last night, especially with that extra tom when he wanted to go over the top.  With him being up front we had such a great view, except the largest cymbal was in my way, which was fine ... when he really banged it I could see him better.

Marco the wizard with a grand piano and all his tricks, Tom with Wolf, and Scott with his unique funk were all fantastic, but Dave Dreiwitz was the man!  His hair was wild and reflecting those HOB waves, and his bass playing was astonishing.  Oteil me no Oteils, this was country and funk and rock ... and almost like Phil when it needed to be.  We think he switched from a Fender to a wooden old four-string with big head in the second set.  But whatever, he was laying down the foundation for everybody and taking a lead when it was called for.  He's been doing solos recently, but didn't do one last night, he was just all there.

I remember hearing the first hints of Silvio and thinking, "Silvio?"  I remember hearing Easy Wind and then not recognizing it because they sang the verses out of order ... though we were all there when Scott told us that he had to find a woman be good to him.  St. Stephen was incredible ... what is it about Boston and St. Stephen?  As with a lot of songs they play, they got way, way, way out with St. Stephen and I was hoping they'd go into the Eleven, when they roped it back in like a psychedelic bronco, but then they went into an excellent reprise and then Joe played us Samson.  I hope they put some extra reinforcement under that stage because he sure pounded it out for an ecstatic audience.

The surprise of the night for me was a Dark Hollow beyond description ... loping and folky and whimsical on the one hand and dyed in psychedelia on the other.  This may have been the longest Dark Hollow ever played.  Help was amazing, an exercise in power chords.  Joe playing Slipknot! was what we were drooling to hear.  Halfstep just picked up where Row Jimmy had laid off in the first set ... this is the sweet spot of GD music to me.

Then a fantastic Estimated, with the audience singing along to every word.  I should stop for a minute and say that the audience was 90% Deadicated and was hanging on every note.  But it was a Friday night and there were dates going on, and people getting high, and friends running into each other, and at times the audience got a little noisy.  At one point during Estimated a guy off to my left turned around and said, "Shut the fuck up!"  That's what *I* said to the HOB crowd when we saw DSO there a few years ago, and I was instantly mortified I'd done that (even though people were talking over Stella Blue!).  This guy was mortified too and you could tell he wanted to just disappear after shouting that out.  But he was correct to do so, and amazingly, people shut up and listened to the end of Estimated.

And then ... Dew with Tommy playing Wolf.  Morning Dew can captivate you and take you into the picture of the song like few songs can when they're played at their utmost.  Everyone in the room knew that Tommy was playing Wolf and he proceeded to paint us the whole goddamn picture ... the tone was amazing.  And the denouement of the scene he painted was perhaps not perfect (Joe and Tommy got a little crossed up), but we were all there man, just reveling in the sound, and it really didn't matter anyway.

OMG, I realized that I was exhausted and though back pain during the show was not as bad as I'd anticipated, it was still pretty extreme.  I thought for the umpteenth time that I wished I'd swallowed those Vitamin Is before the guy made me throw them away!  And as happens in the HOB, the crowd had filled in at our backs and sides during the show and we were under severe pushed-and-shoved duress in our little corner.  Whatever, the atmosphere was beyond electric and soon the guys straggled back on stage.

And the encore was not a throw-away, it might have been one of the best songs of the night!  I love GSET and was delighted this Fall when Dead & Company covered it.  But these guys know a thing or two about covering Dead music and they've got Scott Fucking Metzger on their team ... as well as Dave Fucking Dreiwitz, who capped off an excellent night.  Fans screamed for a second encore, but the guys were done.  See you tomorrow night, Joe told us!  Aye captain.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Tedeschi Trucks Band Boston 2017

Another in our late-Fall run of excellent concerts, Tedeschi Trucks Band again at the Orpheum (12/2)!  One may recall last year's excellent show with Jorma opening solo, for which we had front row center seats.  This year we opted for the third night of their run, at which they'd be doing two full sets with no opener.  This Saturday was the last show of a full 2017 of touring, and they left it all on the stage!

Tried to go to 6B on Beacon but it wasn't open and so went to Carrie Nation across the street for dinner.  Kind of pricey but a very nice room; the really expensive half-chicken with brussels sprouts and whipped potatoes was wonderful, but I hope they stick that leg I couldn't eat back on the chicken.

This was a fantastic concert from this amazing 12-piece band, just pure ecstasy from start to finish.  But (and I'll try to keep this short), the Orpheum in Boston is not a good place to expect people to see concerts.  It's cramped and small and the attendants are surly (one asked me at one point, "Sir, weren't you ALREADY seated?").  The one low-ceilinged lobby and the one small, smelly mens room off of it are masses of people bumping into each other before the show, at the break, and after the show.  People could get trampled easily, or get germs.

Also, they don't know whether they're a theater or a rock club.  They have stacks of speakers on stage and that means that many of the audience can't fucking see what's going on on stage!  We were far right (though close, 8th row) and only one of us could see any of the backup singers, and none of us could see Alicia Shakour (though we sure heard her) or the trombone player.  And there was even another section to our right!  Those people probably could only see the guitarists and Kofi Burbridge, they couldn't even see the drummers.  And they charged full price for this!?!

I hope that TTB comes to their senses and plays some other hall next year.  I think the Orpheum has very good sound (we had no complaints about volume yesterday!), but is a horrible venue.  Oh, one other thing: it's at the end of an alley in downtown Boston you know, and concert goers were trying to walk down it towards the security check and the doors.  We were all being mature and orderly but they had muscle out there shouting at us and almost shoving us into lines that made no sense.  Guess they believe in full employment, but I hate to think that my ticket price went towards these assholes.

But I need to stop bitching and start gushing.  This concert was fantastic, though we were cramped, packed, and prodded.  Derek Trucks was as on fire as much I've ever seen him, and his band was perfectly in step behind him.  There were excellent additions from Burbridge on keys and flute, from Mike Mattison stepping up to take a few leads, and from Tim Lefebvre on bass, who just needed a small nod from Trucks and then turned it up and set our world upside down (he almost lost his man-bun from rocking so thoroughly).

And that's not to mention Susan Tedeschi, who was absolutely stellar on vocals and played a fantastic rhythm.  Another great performance was the drumming of J.J. Johnson and Tyler Greenwell ... who seemed to be wearing out a snare with each song.  And my dog what a brass section, including the craziest, spaciest bass saxophone solo from Kebbi Williams early on and just rock solid grooves from Ephraim Owens on trumpet (he later did a solo himself with a mute, and then discarded it like a frisbee) and Elizabeth Lea on trombone.

The one backup vocalist I could see (besides when Mike came down front) was Mark Rivers and his support of Susan's alto was surreal.  And of course there was Alicia, who has the power to take over a song on a moment's notice ... at a couple of points Susan turned and said, "Yeah Alicia!" and we wish we could have seen her.

And there was a musical theme to this evening to my ear, which was space.  Over and over they'd start a song and get deeply into it and then Derek would turn it up and up and start wandering, and that amazing band would follow him into the most psychedelic corners and before long you had no idea what they were playing, though they were harmonizing and playing off each other and working as hard as they could to produce an awesome sound.  Very rarely did any of them, even the horn players, sit out for more than a few measures.  And then Derek would turn that farthest corner and come back to the theme and then Tim would rip off a run and then Susan would step to the mike and absolutely SCREAM the next verse, with the backup vocalists punching up her every syllable.  This was the most riveting stuff you could imagine, 12 people in each others minds just pouring out the rhythm and blues all over the floor, led by one of the best guitar players you've ever heard.

Well ... here's the setlist as far as I can tell.  I've pieced this together and it may have a few errors but you get the point:

set 1
In Every Heart
Don't Know What It Means
Keep On Growing
Learn How to Love
Don't Drift Away
Get What You Deserve
Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
I Want More

set 2
Statesboro Blues
Crying Over You
Part of Me
Let Me Get By
Comin' Home
Let's Go Get Stoned
Made Up Mind
I Pity the Fool
The Storm > Whipping Post

A Song for You
Will the Circle Be Unbroken?
Bound for Glory

Sandwiching the second set with Allman Brothers songs was brilliant!  As mentioned, this was a night of the powerful space blues and to commence the latter part of the night with the singalong of Statesboro Blues, to wind up and down through some of the spaciest songs they know, and then to finally come out of it a few(?) hours later and realize they were playing Whipping Post and that even Susan sometimes felt like she was tied to it and that she was going to scream about it to us for sure with the whole weird theater screaming along was cathartic to say the least.

One more note on the crowd ambiance:  At one point between sets I was pushing slowly through the mob in the lobby, not even sure where I was going or why (that is, I had no idea where the ends of the beer lines were or where they led).  But the guy behind me was having an even worse time.  "O God, oh no, oh this is terrible," he repeated over and over.  I turned around and told him, "Don't worry, we'll get there."  He looked startled and said, "Oh you don't understand.  I was complaining about the number of Phish t-shirts."

For the encore Susan and Kofi duetted on Leon Redbone's greatest(?) hit, and this was an incredible showcase, great piano.  And then their beautiful take on Circle, and then one of their most trademark songs to end the night.  WOW!!!

Jeez, time to tackle the lobby and the alley again, but we finally got out of there and made our way up Park Street (the church was totally wrapped in scaffolding except for the tallest bit of their steeple).

We had a little energy and space for wonder left, and so detoured towards the Nova Scotia Christmas tree that had just been dedicated.  This was the 100th anniversary edition ... please catch up on the story if you're not aware.  We circled the tree and touched its tresses, both where it grew free and where the lights had snagged it.  It rose over our heads and dwarfed us, silly Boston people who cared about what happened in Halifax and everywhere in the world.  That's what it's meant to do, and why Nova Scotia makes a point of this.

Goodbye to the tree and over the hill, and back to the car and then home.  Hoo boy, I'd go see TTB anywhere, just don't tell them that!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Hot Tuna Acoustic Back At the Wilbur

In yesterday's post I described how we were suddenly in the midst of a run of shows (and sickness), and not to be overlooked in this was the fact that Hot Tuna were going to be playing the Wilbur again!  Their last time there they'd played electric, which I love, but this time they announced that they'd be acoustic and that's pretty good too. :)

Again, we weren't on top of our game.  There was also something going on in the theater district that night and all restaurants around there were booked up.  But we headed in to the nearby garage on Charles so we wouldn't have far to walk and were able to get a table at Rock Bottom on Stuart, though we had to wait a bit.

There were kids all over the place and we finally figured it out.  "Elf the Musical" had just opened in Boston and that was the huge event in the area that night.  The Color Purple was also being staged that night at the Schubert, and Dave's roommate (and her cousin) were going to that.

Oh well, we got across Tremont in the swirl of people and were waved into the Wilbur with other Hot Tuna enthusiasts ... this was the real stuff.  F&P (recently back from Nepal!) also attended and had managed to snag seats just behind us, in the second and third rows of the mezzanine, right on the left row of the center section, fantastic seats!

After a small beer and much talk about Nepal and events at 18,000 feet, the guys came out and there they were: Jack and Jorma.  I believe this was sold out, I saw no empty seats, and several people in the audience were hooting and hollering and yelling out "Fucking HOT TUNA!!!" all night long.

Spectacle-less Jack was sitting in the kind of chair you might find in the office, a swivel black-mesh chair with a broad back and casters.  But he was perched on the edge of it, rather than sitting back, holding an acoustic bass that was almost as big as he was.  This six-string bass was huge and had a sound hole at top right, with a little mike snapped on above it to relay to his amp setup on stage.  Jorma was in a low chair as usual, leaned over his gut-string guitar like he did NOT want it to escape his bear hug.  His chair was triangular, two legs in back and one in front.  His steel string was in a stand next to him, but we knew he wasn't going to pick up that one until the time was right.

Sorry that I can't remember everything they played.  They concentrated on Jorma's more folky compositions and played them excellently.  They're such a perfect pairing, they've been playing together for over 55 years, and their sounds flow seamlessly into each other.  It almost didn't matter what they were playing, they could be playing anything and you'd still hear that magic of one instrument being played by two people on different sets of strings, sitting in separate chairs.

Here are a few songs they played which got big reactions: Serpent of Dreams, Sea Child, Come Back Baby, 99 Year Blues, Barbecue King, How Long Blues, San Francisco Bay Blues, Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning, etc.  They took a break somewhere in there, but not a long one.

Then finally, the time was right.  Jorma put down his gut string and picked up his steel string and we knew we were nearing the end of the night and what they were going to close with.  It's hard to choose between Jorma's finest songs, some of his compositions are just head and shoulders over everything else, such as Sea Child, which they'd done second(?).  But two others are what he seems to close with every time we've seen him recently, and are played on the ringing steel strings: Bar Room Crystal Ball and Water Song.

Even the leather-lungs in the balcony were silenced by Bar Room Crystal Ball, which is such a signature song of Jorma's, touching on life, addiction, and meaning in the subtle ways his best songs do.  And of course hearing Hot Tuna play Water Song live is almost like hearing the Sermon On the Mount ... well maybe not really, but that's what we were all there for and besides the sound of the two guitars on stage you could have heard a pin drop.  I can't say Jack's bass made the theater echo, but instead it filled it perfectly.  This was excellent stuff, and I can't wait to hear those two play it again.

This time Jorma didn't even get out of his chair for the encore break, and Jack didn't either; he just grinned like the Cheshire Cat, beaming his smile throughout the audience.  It was clear this was the end though and Jorma finally said well, we'll do one more for an encore.  And then he lit into Embryonic Journey.  This is another of his top-shelf songs and I don't think I'd ever heard him play this before, though he first recorded it with the Airplane in the sixties.  This topped off the night like you wouldn't believe!

Two old guys stood up and smiled, then waved and left the stage.  Geez, we'd just heard some of the best music that's ever existed (in my world at least) played by two masters.  How could you beat that?

We were all very worn out by that point, not only us sickies but also trekkers F&P.  Luckily, we had all parked pretty close and when we got out to the street the other events were not letting out so we had smooth walks back to our cars.  Dave picked up the pack he had stashed at the car and then went to meet his roommate after The Color Purple.  Sarah and I drove slowly out of the garage and then down Charles, onto Storrow, under the still sparking pedestrian bridge, and back North.  Not to bed that late!