February 4, 1999 Montpelier, Vermont Show Review
The morning after the show in Cambridge, Massachusetts, our merry troupe proceeded
on to Montpelier, Vermont. Never having been to Vermont before, I was struck
by the large number of extremely narrow mountains and valleys which, though
picturesque, looked as if they'd be difficult driving in icy weather. Fortunately,
the ice held off until we checked into our motel.
Having little of consequence to do in Montpelier, we arrived at the Emerald
City about 4:00. At first glance, Emerald City is not much to look at-- the
bar and show floor is located in the back half of a barn-like structure, behind
a front section which houses a Chinese restaurant. All of this is surrounded
by a gravel parking lot which was becoming increasingly slippery as a light
The band had just finished setting up, so we waited patiently at the foot
of the stairs leading to the bar for Dave to arrive and the sound check to begin.
Joanne, Leslie and I joined Frank Reda and Rafaela Filippi, who, as usual, had
preceded us to the venue by a couple of hours. We chatted among ourselves, and
talked briefly with Dave Nolte when he came downstairs. About twenty minutes
after we arrived, Dave and Kate walked in the door, Dave said "Hi!", and the
two of them disappeared up the stairs.
Following the sound check, we talked briefly with bass player Dave Jenkins
as he passed through. Once the band was clear of the bar, the owner invited
us upstairs, where we staked out our spots for the evening.
Not long after we settled in, the opening act, Les Lokey arrived. This night's
set was to be largely accoustic, so it did not take them long to set up. They
ran through what turned out to be their entire set and then some. One "bonus"
song was a Janis Joplin cover that floored me with Les' having the chops to
pull it off. Since we'd arrived at the end of their set the night before, I
had little idea of what to expect from this band, but what I heard during the
sound check alone convinced me to buy their disc. Their sound is best described
as a rock-folk-punk fusion, with a bit of jazz thrown in. It appealed quite
strongly to both me and Leslie.
The management was very gracious and provided free water and popcorn while
we hung out in front of the stage. As unimpressive as the exterior of the building
was, the interior was clean, fresh and attractive, with large wall murals depicting
cartoon caricatures of the flying monkeys from The Wizard Of Oz. In retrospect,
I wish we'd gotten photos of the decor.
Les Lokey finished her set at 9:45, and 15 minutes later, the intro tape rolled
(this time with "Soothsayer" replacing "Arrival" before breaking into the Mars
Attacks theme). Right on cue, Dave, Dave, Dave and Jim were off!
This evening's set ran as follows:
- 'Til the End of the Day
- I Need You
- Susannah's Still Alive
- Creepin' Jean
- Milk Cow Blues
- Tired of Waiting For You
- See My Friends
- Gallon of Gas Blues/You're Looking Fine
- Wicked Annabella
- Slum Kids (partial)
- Picture Book
- This Man He Weeps Tonight
- In You I Believe
- There Is No Life Without Love
- Death of a Clown
- Fortis Green
- Living on a Thin Line
- I'm Not Like Everybody Else
We all had a bit of a surprise when a circuit breaker tripped during
the ending bars of "Susannah's Still Alive." Dave, looking very frustrated,
appeared to be on the verge of walking out, when the lights came back on and
power was restored to the band's equipment. The effect that the show was having
on the building was evident in other ways as well, with the floor shaking
through most of the set.
One part of the shows that has always fascinated me is the interplay between
Dave and Jim. During "Milk Cow Blues," Jim gets a look of intense concentration
while Dave plays up to him. As the rhythm picks up during the rave-ups, it
almost seems as if Dave and Jim are trying to see who'll have an embolism
first. Both of them appear to enjoy this intensely-- it's this kind of fun
atmosphere that gives the shows their special "feel."
The band surprised us all by playing a few lines of "Slum Kids." Nobody
seemed more surprised than Frank Reda, who has been badgering Dave to play
this song for a couple of years, now.
It was very easy to tell the Dave fans from the curious locals at this show--
there were four or five solid rows of fans standing at the edge of the stage,
then about a thrity foot empty space behind them, followed by many rows of
tables where what could have been a normal Thursday night crowd was seated.
During "Death of A Clown," Dave again invited audience members to sing the
"la, la, la" parts into the mic, except that this time he brought them up
on stage. The first singer was an enthusiastic and pretty local girl, who
had no idea of how the song went, but with some gentle coaching from Dave,
made it through rather well. Dave called another local patron up from the
bar and took him through the chorus, as well. I would have to say that it
was the most "fun" rendition of "Death of A Clown" that I can remember.
As with all of the shows we've attended, at the end, Joanne and Leslie each
gave Dave a bouquet of flowers, though we had to wait until he came out from
backstage to do it this time, since there was no encore (It looked to me as
if Dave may have had a respiratory infection, but I'm no doctor-- I only play
doctor on weekends). As Dave left the building and started across the parking
lot, he accepted Leslie's flowers, then turned and walked the few steps to
accept Joanne's. Since the good people of Montpelier apparently don't believe
in spreading salt to melt ice during sleet storms, he lost his footing and
nearly fell on top of Joanne! Fortunately, he was able to regain his balance
and steadied himself against her.
In the past, people have questioned the motives behind Joanne and Leslie
giving Dave flowers after each show; on our way back to the motel, Joanne
summed it up succinctly: "One $6.00 bouquet of flowers can't possibly repay
Dave for 35 years of great music." I certainly agree!
From the Diary of a Raving Dave Fan
Thursday Feb 4th Emerald City, Montpelier VT
Having never been to Vermont, I was both excited to see Dave again and to
see Vermont for the first time! Traveling with Joanne, and Fritz is always
a joy. The RDF Kollective was one member short, as Jimmy had to work.
outside of Lebanon, New Hampshire I spotted a sign that read, "Dave's Guitar"
Joanne pulled into the parking lot and we all took turns posing in front of
the sign. What a fun bit of coincidence that was!
The venue had told Joanne that the doors opened at 4pm so we hurriedly checked
into our hotel, and went on to the venue.
Waiting ahead of us was Rafaela and Frank Reda. Frank is one of those genuinely
fun people in Kinkdom. I had not had much of a chance to interact with him
in the past, but I treasure the laughs and good-natured teasing we shared.
And Rafaela is 100% sweetheart, with no question in my mind.
The band filed in, Dave Nolte, Dave Jenkins and Jim LaSpesa and then Dave
himself. Dave took a few seconds to greet the five of us sitting in the foyer.
He thanked Joanne and I for our birthday gifts, then chatted a bit with Frank
and Rafaela before going upstairs for the sound check.
We were allowed to sit downstairs and listen to the band go through sound
check. It was almost like having a whole other concert, without the visual
aspect. The band goofed around with a Buddy Holly tune and some obscure Blues
number that didn't sound at all familiar, plus some of the more standard set
After the boys left the management of the bar let us now half-frozen fans
into the main part of the club. Les Lokey and her band did their sound check
and we were able to get a feel for how they sounded, which was very good!
Skip ahead to the actual concert, right as they started setting up I asked
Les Lokey if I could buy her CDs. She smiled and then asked if I could wait
until she announced that they were for sale and then be one of the first to
buy. Sort of a shill arrangement. What the heck! Les and the band rank as
one of the best opening bands that Dave's had for any of his shows.
When Dave and band came on the crowd was still very thin and aside from
a few rows of die hards, the rest of the people were either sitting along
the edge of the "dance floor" or in the balcony.
The band got through about 4 songs when the breakers blew on one half of
the stage. Dave looked at the half dark stage said something to the effect
of "Oh great" and started to walk off the stage. Two men, I assume they worked
for the club met him at the stairs to the stage and reassured him that they
had the matter under control and it would be fixed.
When the power was restored, Dave jokingly said that as the club was not
able to handle loud rock and roll, he was going to read from his book instead.
He asked Dave Jenkins how long it would take, Dave Jenkins said, "Until two?"
and Dave laughed saying that he'd have to read very fast then!
Even though there was a light turn out, the band played like the place was
crowded with fans! They didn't stint one iota and gave everything their best.
The highlights for me were of course "Soothsayer" and "See My Friends" (which
sounded a lot less rough than the night before). But then Dave pulled out
one of Fritz's and my favorite songs, "In You I Believe". Now I've always
liked the version on AFL1-3603 (AKA "The Barcode Album") but this acoustic
version made my knees turn to butter and even made Fritz's eyes grow moist.
Dave! Record this version, please?
No encore was given, but I wasn't disappointed. Dave's cold had been making
him cough and sniff a great deal and really what would two more songs do that
all the others hadn't?
As Joanne and I waited outside to give Dave our customary RDF bouquets,
we noticed that the sleet had frozen to a thin sheet of ice and that the venue
hadn't bothered to salt the sidewalks at all. Dave came out and saw us standing
with the flowers. He came over to me, clasped me to him, kissed me on the
cheek and called me a sweetheart (sigh). Then he made his way across the slippery
sidewalk to Joanne.
Just as he stepped forward to claim his flowers, he slipped and slid right
into Joanne. In the same movement, he grabbed her to steady himself and also
pushed her out of the way in case he did fall on top of her. Once he got his
footing again he gave her a hug. I wish I had had my camera at the ready,
it was truly a "Kodak moment."