From the Diary of a Raving Dave Fan
Maxwell's - Hoboken, New Jersey, 8/6/2000
Once again I found myself getting on an airplane to fly to the East Coast.
Luckily a series of Dave shows is more than enough reason to get airborne!
Even if it did mean having to leave Ann Arbor at 5:15am to catch our flight.
We landed at LaGuardia in NYC and were met at the concourse by Joanne Corsano.
It was a sticky overcast day, very much like the weather we left behind in
Michigan! Neither Fritz nor I had ever been to New Jersey and aside from a
few Saturday Night Live sketches from the mid-80s I had no idea what to expect.
Hoboken, at least the area around Maxwell's was actually quite nice. We stopped
in what appeared to be a neighborhood dive watering hole and were pleasantly
surprised to see stamped tin ceilings and stained glass windows along with
extricate and lovely woodwork instead. And lest we forget Hoboken's most famous
son, the required photo of Frank Sinatra hung on the wall behind the bar.
Maxwell's itself has been described as a "dump" and a "horrible
venue" to me based on the previous Dave solo shows held there. Either
the person describing prefers the Mr. B's of the world (see Summer of 1999
Tour review for a low-down on that) or dump is actually complimentary in some
lexicon of slang. The food was good as well as having a wide variety of vegetarian
options, always a plus in my book!
The opening band The Insomniacs probably would have sounded OK if the vocals
were up a bit more and the bass wasn't so heavy. The lead singer and the guitarist
were brothers and were trying very hard to be like the Gallagher brothers.
Every time the guitarist tuned up a bit the lead singer made snide comments.
They also seemed to have a majorly bad attitude towards the audience. It was
hard to like them when the kept calling us names and indicating that they
didn't think we could quite grasp their musical genius.
But luckily we hadn't come all this way to see them!
Through Maxwell's somewhat dodgy PA system we heard the opening bars of "Tapas"
then Dave and the boys took the stage the whole crowd surged forward like
a tidal wave and Rafaela, Frank Reda, Joanne and I got truly intimate with
the stage. To be honest we were all packed in tighter than sardines during
a cottonseed oil shortage!
"Charity" started the set out, which was quite a treat. The Chosen
People LP has always been a particular favorite and I had wondered if
this song would make it on to one of the set lists! It has been punched up
a bit more than on the LP and really has translated well to the way Dave plays
and sings now!
Then the band launched straight into "Till the End of the Day"
then "I Need You" without a break between songs. By this time the
audience in my immediate view were bouncing and clapping in time with the
music, grins abound. The new rhythm guitarist/all around utility person, Jonathan
Lea, joined the band on stage for "You're Looking Fine" which of
course Dave had fun playing with female audience members during this song.
He sought out a "pretty lady" and then smiled like a naughty schoolboy
and added "or a pretty man".
After finding the lucky recipient of this attention was chosen he started;
"When I first saw her-- she looked all right" and made this face
as if to say "she could have looked better but she didn't exactly look
awful either". Those of us with an almost permanent tattoo of the stage
front on our chests laughed appreciatively.
At one point someone grabbed my cheek (not the one on my face) and I turned
around to advise the person against it but found it was a friend Linda Kraus,
a long time Kinks friend and the wife of Mike Kraus the host of the Marian
College Show (CD available on Dave's website) she had figured calling out
my name wouldn't quite get my attention!
Dave introduced one of the next songs as one they hadn't rehearsed much and
started the familiar opening notes of "Mindless Child of Motherhood"
then stopped saying they weren't going to do this one. Having heard the band
attempt this song on other tours, just to have them stop mid-way I was not
surprised that the choice to not play it was made. Imagine my delight when
they started it back up again and launched into it heart and soul.
this song it was fun to watch Kristian Hoffman, the keyboard player ("dressed
in a lovely chiffon" as Dave referred to him) and Dave interact. Dave
stuck his tongue out at Kristian in a playful manner, Kristian then beamed
ear to ear and returned the gesture. It was great to watch them play off of
The ethereally lovely "See My Friends" with its almost Indian flavor
was next and the whole crowd quieted down. I know for myself this song has
a profound effect on me, I put my arms around Olga, Joanne and we started
a chain of hugs down the whole front row for this song. It is pretty amazing
how people from such diverse walks of life and areas of the world are so united
in their love for Dave's music.
The biggest surprise of the night came with a really soft ballad treatment
of the song "I am Free". Fritz turned to me, pen posed over his
notebook and mouthed, "What song is this?" Truly I am remiss in
bringing him up-to-date on the entire Kinks catalogue! I made a mental note
to pick up an extra copy of "Kontroversy" if it was missing in his
Kristian was treated to the teasing Dave does to any keyboard player he's
worked with as a solo performer during "Death of a Clown" Kristian
started the "tinkling" intro, only to have Dave make a face at him
and quip "He's not THAT dead!" and motioned for Kristian to play
it again. Kristian smiled and adjusted something on the keyboard and started
the intro again. Dave looked at the audience as if to say, "Well, what
do you think?" and Kristian stopped, shrugged and pointed to the keyboard
indicating he was doing the best he could with such a rinky-dink piece of
equipment. But gamely gave it another go, this time Dave let him finish and
then started the song.
Halfway through "Death of a Clown" one of the strings on Dave's
guitar broke, he looked down at it puzzled at first, but then Jonathan came
rushing out from his perch behind the amps to give Dave a fully strung guitar.
"All Day and All of the Night" followed "Living on a Thin
Line" then Dave eyed the edge of the stage and looked for an exit off
in the back of the stage. He seemed to weigh the option of squeezing through
the crowd to exit and return for an encore, and then gave a half shrug and
did his "Encore" without leaving the stage.
"Funny Face" was another delightful surprise. The "naughty
schoolboy" chorus was replaced with a more edgy treatment of the song,
which was a nice update to a classic song. Then "Father Christmas"
followed which seemed to provoke the audience to a higher frenzy, some people
going so far as to throw money towards the stage. (I think I got a penny in
my shirt, next time Mr./Ms. Thrower, larger amounts please!)
Dave and Co., hopped off the stage and some bouncer types, who must have
worked for Maxwell's helped create space for the band to exit the venue.
We were about to leave when Jim LaSpesa came out and got Fritz's and my attention.
He said he was wondering when we were going to show up, and he had a special
favor/task for us. It seems that Dave had been teasing him that if Jim wore
a dress, Dave would play "Lola". Jim didn't want to go that far,
but did ask Fritz and I if we'd procure a big poofy blonde wig for him! We
eagerly agreed to this task and went out into the night air to cool down.
My ears ringing despite the earplugs I had worn, and the heat of the audience
making my clothes stick to my body weren't enough to stop the huge smile on
my face at the enjoyment of Dave show and the knowledge that I had five more
coming in the next week.
- Leslie Ohanian