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Abbey Pub- Chicago, February 15, 2003

Show TicketDave's second appearance at the Abbey Pub was on Saturday night, February 15. This made for a nice Valentine's Day weekend road trip for me and Leslie, and, as it turned out, a few other Dave fans.

Dave was in town for a private gig at the wedding reception of radio personality Erich "Mancow" Muller on Valentine's Day. Being in Chicago provided a nice opportunity for him to stage a one-off show at the Abbey Pub. It provided us with an opportunity to bring my brother Bob along to his second Dave show. He'd had such a good time at last year's Abbey Pub show that he couldn't refuse our offer to come along again.

The show started at 10pm with an accoustic set by KPSer Clay Tomasek's band Green, a four piece outfit consisting of two accoustic guitars, a bass and a drum. Given Dave's preference that the opening bands don't perform any of the Kinks songs on his set list, they scaled back their plans to play a number of Kinks songs, instead playing their own very fine original compositions. Still, they managed to slip in a crowd-pleasing rendition of "Rosemary Rose".

Following Green was an even "more local" band, Epicycle. By "more local", I mean that the lead singer lived just up the street from the Abbey Pub. For a three piece outfit (a guitar, a bass and a drum), they had an especially good, full sound, and a real talent for songwriting. The songs had a good late-sixties feel and the guys weren't afraid to experiment, as exhibited by an "electrified" toy piano they used during one of the songs. A standout that took us completely by surprise was their cover of Dave's "Crying."

For some reason, the lighting was messed up all night. Green and Epicycle performed in almost total darkness on the stage-- the house lights were considerably brighter. The lighting didn't improve much for Dave's set, either.

As the crowd filled the room during the opening acts, we saw lots of familiar faces. Mike and Linda Kraus came down from Fond du Lac, Mark and Linda Dempsey were in from Livonia, Michigan, and, getting the award for the longest drive, Rafaela Filipi and Frank Reda came in from New York. From closer in, John Becker, Doug Stacey, and "Hugh Bond". Mike Kraus brought copies of his new book of collected essays on and interviews with the Kinks, Living on a Thin Line.

Dave went on at 11:30. This time around, Jonathan Lea played rhythm guitar and keyboard, Jim LaSpesa (the only member of Dave's original line-up) was on drums, and Derek AndersonDerrick Anderson played bass in his first public show with Dave's band. Jonathan carried out the guitar tech duties, while Brian Myers ran the sound board.

Although Dave was suffering from a bout of the flu, he didn't show it as he led the band through an energetic 105-minute set that included:

Whose Foolin' Who?
'Til the End of the Day
I Need You
Gallon of Gas Blue/You're Lookin' Fine
Tired of Waiting For You
Set Me Free
See My Friends
Long Tall Shorty
The LIE!
Dead-End Street
Rock You/Rock Me
Death of a Clown
Listen to Me (by Buddy Holly)
Picture Book
Bug
This Man He Weeps Tonight
Living On A Thin Line
All Day And All Of The Night

Encores:
I'm Not Like Everybody Else
Father Christmas
You Really Got Me

While many of the songs were the ones we've come to expect at a Dave show, we were delighted when he started the set with "Whose Foolin' Who?"- on the drive to Chicago we'd wondered what the chances would be Making field repairs onstage at the Abbey Pubthat he'd ever perform it live. Partway through the second verse, the strap snapped loose from his guitar, sending his Sunburst Telecaster toward the floor. Despite this major distraction, he kept up with the words while Jonathan leapt in to set things right.

As with the opening acts, the lighting was terrible. As much as it was probably a relief to Dave to not have the spotlights glaring in his face, it was hard to see Jonathan and Derrick (even from right in front of the stage), and Jim was nearly invisible behind the drums. On top of this, one of the speakers was crackling and somewhere the sound system was picking up a "60 cycle hum" from an electrical cord. With a little experimentation, I found that I could minimize the amount of hum I was hearing without hurting the rest of the sound by adjusting my earplugs carefully.

"Long Tall Shorty" was a nice surprise, as was the completely unexpected rendition of Buddy Holly's "Listen to Me". We were pleased to hear "This Man He Weeps Tonight" return to the set-- we hadn't heard it in a while.

If you had any delusion of having any sort of personal space, the Abbey Pub was not the place to be this night- both the floor and the mezzanine were packed. The first twenty feet back from the stage was a solid mass of people, starting shortly before Green went on stage. I know that I looked around more than once for a quick exit, should one be necessary, then chided myself for being concerned about this. I don't feel quite so silly now, after the tragedy several miles south at the E2 after-hours club less than a day later.

Dave and JonathanWith one glaring exception, the crowd was well-behaved. During "Picture Book", a cup of water came sailing in from the left of the stage, bounced off part of the ceiling, and splashed down between Dave and Derrick. To their credit, the two continued on unfazed, although with Dave's history, I suppose he's not unfamiliar with having things come flying at him while on stage, and not just from the audience!

As the encore started with "I'm Not Like Everybody Else," it looked as if Dave was going to outlast us all., though the crowd got its energy back during a much-appreciated rendition of "Father Christmas." and the obligatory run through "You Really Got Me."

For only his second performance with the band, Derrick made a good impression- he certainly has what it takes on the four-string, and adds nicely to the vocals. He seemed to genuinely enjoy himself, too.

We didn't have a lot of time to stand around and talk afterward, since the Abbey Pub management was keen to clear the room. Still, we managed to talk briefly with Derrick and Jim and several fellow fans. It was fun to see the digital photos several guys shot during the show. While I have a digital camera myself, I haven't gotten comfortable using it for action photos, so I continue to use a point-n-shoot 35mm model.

As much as we'd have liked to stay around longer at the pub, both my brother and myself were fading fast, and we still had a 45 minute drive ahead of us to our hotel room in Bloomingdale. So, once we were chased off the show floor, the three of us headed out, tired but happy.

-Fritz Milhaupt