February 3, 1999 Cambridge, Massachusetts Show Review
Dave's February 3rd date at the Middle
East Club on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge had the distinction of
falling on his 52nd birthday. The Middle
East is a basement club located beneath (not surprisingly) a Middle-Eastern
restaurant at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Brookline Street, about
a dozen blocks south of Harvard Square. It is a rather dimly lit place, but
not uncomfortably so, typical of student haunts in most college towns; fairly
clean, but not lavish.
Leslie and I arrived for this first show of our own East Coast tour about
9:30, after being whisked across town from Logan Airport by Joanne's sister
Karen and her friend Dan. We arrived in time to catch the last fifteen minutes
of the well-received opening act, Les Lokey. The club was full, but didn't
seem packed; I'd place the crowd at somewhere between 250 and 300.
During a quick trip to the Men's room, I ran into Dave Nolte. When I asked
him how the group was holding up, he replied that he felt they were keeping
up with the pace pretty well, but said nothing about Dave (Davies)'s apparent
bout of respiratory problems. I didn't feel like pressing the matter, since
he was headed backstage to get ready for the show.
Leslie and I took advantage of the break in the crowd to join Joanne and
Jimmy, Odsie, Frank Reda and Rafaela Filippi at stageside. After our trip
East last year, it felt like a reunion of old friends who'd known each other
longer than we have.
Following the fastest transition I've ever seen between acts, Dave and the
boys took the stage shortly after 10:00. The lead-in tape was changed from
the tour we saw last summer, with "Arrival" from Purusha and
the Spiritual Planet leading into the now-familiar strains of the theme
from the movie Mars Attacks.
- 'Til the End of the Day
- I Need You
- She's Got Everything
- Susannah's Still Alive
- Creepin' Jean
- See My Friends
- Milk Cow Blues
- Imagination's Real
- Wicked Annabella
- Unfinished Business
- Picture Book
- Love Gets You (cut short)
- There Is No Life Without Love
- This Man He Weeps Tonight
- Death of a Clown
- Fortis Green
- Living on a Thin Line
- I'm Not Like Everybody Else
- All Day and All of the Night
- Father Christmas
- You Really Got Me
There were plenty of memorable moments during this show, including Dave trying
to make Dave Nolte crack up during "Creepin' Jean," and my first
encounter with the reworked "See My Friends," which featured an
Eastern-influenced introduction using synthesized sitar effects. The drums
took on a slightly eerie quality, since the lighting setup had Jim LaSpesa
playing largely in the dark. He played this up, though, by making an issue
of peering out at the audience between songs.
At the end of "Imagination's Real," a pair of birthday cakes appeared
from the bar along the side of the room, accompanied by a chorus of "Happy
Birthday," sung in various keys. Once we stopped singing, he took a deep
breath and blew out the candles on one of the cakes (he missed only one candle!),
and he graciously accepted a small pile of presents handed up to him by various
people in the front row. After composing himself again, he led the band into
"Wicked Annabella" and continued the show.
"Soothsayer" was an unexpected treat, and a song that I'd not expected
to hear live, since it was actually part of the Purusha and the Spiritual
Planet CD which he created in conjunction with this son Russell. It is
a very moving song, with lyrics underscoring the spiritual theme of Purusha.
During the lead-in to "Soothsayer," Dave confirmed that he envisions
Purusha as an animated feature.
A few songs later, the band started into "Love Gets You", but only
progressed a few lines in, when they switched to "There Is No Life Without
Love." Now I'll be the first to admit that I didn't much care for the
original recording of this song, but the way they played it this night gave
me a whole new respect for it, infusing it with twangy guitars in a hoedown-style
small-scale rave-up. I came to eagerly anticipate this in the following nights,
for the delightful sounds it produced.
"This Man He Weeps Tonight" was a real crowd-pleaser, though the
way Dave leered at the women in the front rows (and perhaps some of the men--
the light was in my eyes, so it was hard to tell) I rather thought of it as
"This Man He Leers Tonight." 'just one more bit of the clowning
around that I find so enjoyable and endearing about the man's shows.
"Death of A Clown" was a special treat for our party, as Dave held
the microphone down for Leslie to sing the "la, la, la" parts of
the song. She was thrilled, to say the least!
"Living on A Thin Line" stands out in my mind for the sheer guitar
pyrotechnics. While everyone was putting their all into this one, Dave and
Dave Nolte were especially into it, and giving it all they had. The intensity
At the end of the set, yet a third cake came out, this one from the far side
of the stage. After another round of "Happy Birthday," Dave enlisted
the help of the audience to blow out the candles before he left the stage.
The encores were "Father Christmas" and the obligatory "You
Really Got Me." I'd heard that he'd played "Father Christmas"
at an earlier date, but didn't expect it this night. As it was, we heard it
twice more before our trip East was over.
From the Diary of a Raving Dave Fan
Wednesday Feb. 3rd, Middle East Club. Cambridge, MA
Many weeks ago when Dave announced the tour dates for this round of dates,
I remember thinking this may just be the reason to get my flying phobic self
on a plane. Buoyed with the memories of past Dave shows, I made the reservations
for Fritz and I to fly from Detroit into Boston to see four Dave shows.
As I boarded the plane it hit me, "I MUST BE INSANE!!!" I shouted
in my mind, "ALL THIS TO SEE DAVE???"
One foot into the club in Cambridge after a not so traumatic flight, and
all doubts to my sanity disappeared!
We caught only the very end of Les Lokey's set, and then the familiar backing
band took the stage followed by the man himself.
For just turning 52, this man he rocked that night! What words can describe
the masterful guitar playing and emotive vocals? Well, aside from "WOW"!
I got to hear "Soothsayer" done live for the first time in my life.
Ever since I purchased my first copy of "Purusha & The Spiritual
Planet" this song has been a firm favorite, it's pure Dave magic.
We were also treated to Dave's newly added "See My Friends" his
voice seemed a bit rough on this one, but as many have mentioned he does seem
to be fighting a cold.
The fans put on a show of their own when the birthday song started and the
presents and cakes started to make their way to the stage. Fritz and I handed
up our gifts, fellow RDFs Joanne and Jimmy handed up theirs.
Dave seemed truly touched and a bit perplexed as to what to do with the cakes.
The first one he blew out, leaving one candle still lit. "Not bad for
a 35 year-old" he quipped.
The second cake was handed straight to Nathan, the roadie. And for the third
cake he enlisted Joanne and I to help him blow out the candles. Which when
we did, we also blew the smoke and his ever-present talcum powder back into
his face! (cough!)
During the sing along part for "Death of A Clown" I was chosen
to sing the "La la la la's" I hope I didn't sound too bad, but I'm
Some time that night some fan handed him some money and asked that he get
them cheese in Vermont (the next night's location.) Which, skipping ahead
to Friday, February 5th, Dave did deliver!