July 5, 1999 Columbus, Ohio Show Review
The final night of our vacation trip following Dave's tour was the show at
Mekka in Columbus, Ohio.
Mekka is located inside a very clean-looking concrete and cinder block warehouse
about a mile east of Columbus' convention center. Its cleanliness sets it
apart from the other buildings on Dublin Avenue, most of which are operating
industrial buildings. Unless you're paying attention to the street addresses,
it's very easy to drive right past. Mekka's entrance is a minimally-marked
glass door off the parking lot, about midway back, amid several other businesses
occupying the same building. A pair of stark, but clean, corridors lead back
to the show floor located in a large, open two-story tall space along the
back wall of the building. Frankly, the huge mounds of construction dirt where
Dublin intersects Neil Avenue looked far worse than anything I saw nearer
Mekka has a reptuation for versatility. The day before, Ted Nugent and several
other bands in his genre were booked into Mekka. Judging from the racks of
votive candles lining the walls, Mekka hosts the Goth crowd at least one night
a week, as well. In the process of setting up the show floor, they must have
installed one of the world's most poweful air conditioning systems, since
it was comfortably cool inside the cavernous space despite the 90+ degree
weather outside. Mekka provided a somewhat heftier sound system than Mr. B's,
and also a larger, higher stage. I'd heard a few negative things about the
place from locals and ex-locals, but my experience didn't bear out any of
While we were waiting for the show to begin, we met several fans whom fate
twice cheated out of seeing Dave in southwest Ohio: first, when the date in
Dayton was cancelled, and second when the Blue Note closed. Their eager anticipation
and raw enthusiasm was energizing.
The opening act went on at five to nine. Watershed
was a local hard rock act, with a guitar player who looked like a young Pauly
Shore and a bassist going for the Shannon Hoon look. Their set combined modern
rock with tinges of punk in a loud, but very entertaining 40 minute set. According
to the woman who was signing people up for the Watershed mailing list, they
do a lot of Kinks covers in their own sets.
By 10:05, everything was set up and the band took over the stage. As with
other nights on this tour, they used some of the opening act's equipment,
most notably the drums. Since the entire group is traveling in one 15-passenger
van, they did not bring much of their own sound equipment or their drums.
Dave seemed distracted, but after 12 shows, I've come to the conclusion that
he performs more intensely when he has something else on his mind. Whether
he shifts more of his conscious energy to remain focused on the show, or more
totally immerses himself in the music to divert his attention from whatever
is bothering him, I cannot say. We did, however, notice him glancing offstage
several times during the performance, rather more than usual.
Everyone on stage seemed "on" as they poured heart and soul into
a high-energy romp through a fairly typical set for this tour:
- 'Til the End of The Day
- I Need You
- Suzannah's Still Alive
- Creepin' Jean
- Gallon of Gas Blues/You're Lookin' Fine
- Tired of Waiting for You
- Set Me Free
- See My Friends
- Unfinished Business
- Picture Book
- This Man He Weeps Tonight
- Death of a Clown
- Fortis Green
- All Day and All of the Night
- I'm Not Like Everybody Else
in particular was in good form, adding many more complex flourishes to the
songs than we'd seen in North Canton or Cleveland, even if he did miss a chord
once or twice. Between "Picture Book": and "Strangers",
he began a few bars of a positively mesmerizing bit of Spanish guitar that
left most of us up front open-mouthed and wanting more. Dave can be a bit
of a tease at times...
The other guys in the band kept up quite handily, and with the minor exception
of Nathan having a little difficulty with the keyboard (the guitar's much
more his weapon of choice, and he did a marvelous job on that), the
guys blasted through what I felt to be the best performance of the three shows
we'd seen this month.
This was certainly not the largest crowd of the tour--I figure that there
were more than 60, but less than 100. What the crowd lacked in size, it made
up in enthusiasm. At one point, I looked to my right to see the members of
Watershed bouncing and dancing around with even more enthusiasm than the rest
Being absolutely worn out by the heat, the travel, and a few late nights
this week, we retreated back to our motel room more quickly than usual. I
honestly don't know how the guys have the energy for these tours-- we wimped
out after only three dates!
From the Diary of a Raving Dave Fan
Mekka - Columbus, Ohio 7/5/99
Having spent the morning (and a good portion of the afternoon) in the wonderful
company of Jim LaSpesa and Dave Jenkins, touring Columbus' used record shops
and book stores. We got to Mekka an hour before they opened.
Before leaving Ann Arbor, one of my coworkers, who grew up in Columbus warned
me that Mekka had a very bad reputation, and she "wouldn't go there".
I will admit it was in a less nice end of town, in what appeared to be a reclaimed
warehouse, but it didn't seem too bad on the outside.
Once inside, I noted the Goth black interior, but it still didn't seem at
all bad to me. In fact of the all the shows we'd seen this time out, it had
the best sound system!
opening band, whose name escapes me, seemed really hyped to be opening for
Dave. They kept referring to him in glowing terms.
The crowd was the most enthusiastic as well. People were singing along on
all the old favorites, and called out requests left and right. One fan was
so enthused he couldn't wait for Dave to ask someone to come on stage to sing
"Death of a Clown", and just leapt up before the intro was even
Dave took this startling development in stride and let the man sing a bit.
The man was so star struck he didn't want to leave Dave's presence, which
I can fully understand.
The highlights of this show for me were:
- Meeting and watching Theresa, a new face in the crowd, become as bowled
over as I was at my first Dave solo show. She had never seen him solo before
and was turned into a RDF on the spot.
- Dancing with Rafaela during "Fortis Green".
- Dave's teasing us regulars during "Fortis Green" that this was
supposed to be a "new song" and us singing along and meowing showed
him that we knew it by heart!
- And of course, Dave's excellent showmanship, and talent!
The band played off of the energy of the audience and Dave added flourishes
to the guitar parts that I'd never heard before, leaving several in the audience
wide eyed at this display of virtuosity!
Once again the show ended too soon, even though they did a multi-song encore.
To be honest they could play all night and I'd still want more, I am a hopeless
RDF I'm afraid. (Big smile)
At the end of each trip to see Dave shows I ask myself, is all this traveling
to see shows worth it? And each time I come to the conclusion that these shows
are some of the best times I've ever had. I get to be with my friends, Jimmy,
Joanne, Frank Reda, Rafaela, Mike and Linda Kraus. I get to see my very favorite
musician play, and hear the music that is the soundtrack of my life, and spend
time with Fritz.
And oh yeah, did I mention I got to see Dave Davies too? :)
RAVING DAVE FANS UNITE!
- Leslie Ohanian