July 2, 1999 Cleveland Show Reviews
Since Dave's July 1 date at the Blue Note in Cincinnati was cancelled
when the club closed, the Cleveland date on July 2 at the Agora Ballroom
marked the beginning of the road trip that Leslie and I refer to as "Following
Dave's Tour All Over Hell and Half of Ohio."
The Agora Ballroom is on the industrial east side of Cleveland. Located at
Euclid Avenue and 55th Street. Being on the edge of an "Empowerment
zone" the adjoining neighborhood is not the most impressive part of Cleveland.
In fact, from Euclid Avenue, the building which houses the Agora (and several
other businesses) looks like a boarded-up department store and theatre. But
when viewed from a block south, along Prospect Street, the Agora looks much
better, with fenced-in parking and an attractive canopy.
We arrived during the sound check and set up camp in the hallway in front
of the box office. Mike and Linda Kraus were already there, having arrived
from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin a few hours before. At 7:00, the doors opened
and we made a bee-line to our customary positions in front of the stage.
At 8:00 the opening act, The Jellybricks, began a fun and unpretentious
set. This quartet from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has named their second album
"Soap Opera" after the Kinks album of the same name. During their
45 enjoyable minutes on stage, they exceeded my expectations by performing
twelve light pop songs that defied my expectations by being not only distinct,
but fun, and especially good, particularly when you consider that their normal
drummer was off sick.
Dave, Dave, Dave and Jim came on about half an hour after The Jellybricks
finished, pouncing into a spirited set that included:
I am always amazed that for having seen Dave's show nine times previously,
I am still so fascinated by the magic Dave performs with a guitar. I stood
transfixed, watching his fingers alternate between deftly plucking out crisp
notes (as he does in Young and Innocent Days) and tearing out blistering
chords. I was fully aware that should one of the strings decide it had had
enough, I'd be in its path.
Dave was in high spirits, performing to a very receptive crowd of about 200
on the club's main floor. He flirted with the women in the front rows, cracked
wise, and seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself. He teased us with the
intro from Mindless Child of Motherhood before completely faking out
Dave Nolte (who had begun to switch guitars for the song), and leaping into
a well-received rendition of Picture Book.
high point of the show for me was when, during Death of a Clown, he
asked for a volunteer to come up on stage and sing with him. Frank Reda and
I nudged Leslie up and onto stage, where Dave turned, wide-eyed, and gave
an enthusiastic "thumbs up" sign while Leslie summoned her vocal
training and lilted through the bridge.
Another highlight was during Living on a Thin Line, when a fan handed
up a Union Jack. Delighted, he frolicked with it and autographed it before
handing it back: nobody could ever credibly accuse him of being aloof!
This show was Dave Nolte's last for this tour, as he departed for a vacation
in Japan after the show. Nate Segall, who has worked as guitar tech for the
last few tours, will be filling in on keyboard and guitar at the remaining
shows (North Canton, Columbus and St. Louis) on this tour.
As we drove the ten miles back to our motel, there was no doubt at all
in mind about whether making this trip was the right decision.
-Fritz Milhaupt (Photo by Frank Reda)
From the Diary of a Raving Dave Fan
Agora Ballroom 7/1/99
When Fritz and I drove around to what we thought was the front of this venue,
we shook our heads at the seemingly run-down condition. When we circled the
block and saw the true front, we breathed a sigh of relief!
The first thing we saw upon entering was Mike and Linda Kraus, who greeted
us with, "We were wondering when you'd show up, we've been waiting!"
Ah, the fan community! (Fritz and I met Mike and Linda in Chicago in 1997.
If you meet her, you really should ask her about her "famous last words"!)
The familiar faces, Rafaela and Frank Reda, were there, as well as a really
nice gentleman named Bill who came all the way from Buffalo. Whom we chatted
with before the doors opened.
Fritz and I talked a bit with Dave Nolte and Jim LaSpesa before things got
under way, these two are truly some of the nicest people in the world. Both
congratulated us on our recent engagement.
The opening band, The Jellybricks, reminded me a lot of a mix of Blur, Kula
Shaker and a hint of the early 'Stones. They held their own and even got some
toes a tappin', but suffered a bit due to the vocals being mixed down.
But I didn't come all the way from Ann Arbor to see The Jellybricks!
I've only seen one other show in Cleveland, when Dave played in 1997, so
I didn't quite know how the audience would react. But when Dave & the
band took the stage the whole place fairly crackled with energy!
I would like to say I watched the people around me as they got into the music,
but my world was focused about two feet in front of me!
Dave was in wonderful form. His voice was strong and clear, especially on
"Young and Innocent Days".
I glanced back towards Fritz during that song, and saw our new friend Bill
place his hand on his heart and his eyes moisten just a bit, I knew just how
he felt, that's exactly the way hearing Dave sing that song gets me too!
I am always amazed at the way Dave plays guitar, those flying fingers on
those strings, it seems to be a part of him, like an arm or a leg. When the
band started "Gallon of Gas Blues/You're Looking Fine" I stared
at his hands trying to follow the movement, which is almost as easy as trying
to carry water on a fork!
During "Death of a Clown" Dave asked for someone to help him sing
it. My darling fiance Fritz, and Frank Reda were pointing and gesturing over
my head, in a way only a blind person would miss. Frank half lifted me up
off the floor, so Dave chose me to come up on stage.
Luckily my jelly knees and pounding heart didn't cause me to totally freeze
and somehow I got my voice to work. I didn't get booed off, so I'm trusting
I wasn't too horrible!!!
Our meowing and Frank's really "interesting" visual aid, during
"Fortis Green" caused Dave to crack up so much, he had to stop,
catch his breath and start the verse over again. A truly hilarious moment.
The show was over before I was ready, but then again it could be five hours
long and I'd still want more! I left the venue counting the hours until the
next night's show in North Canton.