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,
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 Derrick
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
Rock You/Rock Me
Death of a Clown
Listen to Me (by Buddy Holly)
This Man He Weeps Tonight
Living On A Thin Line
All Day And All Of The Night
I'm Not Like Everybody Else
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 that
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.
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.