July 3, 1999 North Canton, Ohio Show Review
Evening Two of "Chasing Dave's Tour All Over Hell and Half of Ohio" found
us in North Canton, Ohio at Mr. B's Irish Exchange. Mr. B's wasn't
exactly what we expected, being out past the eastern edge of town, in a strip
mall at a rural intersection. Its unexceptional exterior, however, contained
a bar with well-executed pub grub that was a good couple of notches above
that which I've had at many other places. This, coupled with a personable
and helpful waitstaff, made whiling away a few hours before the show a pleasant
experience. Joanne and Jimmy (from Kape Kod, Massachusetts) being there made
the wait a lot more fun, too.
The show was staged in a room that seemed best set up for wedding receptions
and weekend appearances by local bands. While small, it was clean and comfortable.
As has been the practice on this tour, the venue provided the sound system.
We were skeptical at first, talking about taking bets on how far into the
show the speakers would last, but were quite happy to be proven wrong about
I've seen only a couple of bad opening acts for Dave's shows, several good
ones, and a few outstanding ones. Blue Tantrum ranks with the best. The high-energy
blues-inspired quintet played a set that left me gasping for air, as if I'd
forgotten to breathe. Between the powerful vocals of the lead singer, who
could truly belt out the blues-rock standards as well as their own compositions,
and the Stevie Ray Vaughn-style work of Chuck Martinez on guitar, Blue Tantrum
delivered a powerful performance that filled every nook and cranny of the
room. It was enough to make me wish that I lived closer to the Akron-Canton
area so I could take in a few more of their shows.
About 8:50, Blue Tantrum wrapped up their set, and Nathan, Dave Jenkins
and Jim began preparing the stage. The last stragglers filed in, bringing
the room up to a little over half its capacity-- I'd say that we numbered
about 125 at the various tables and on the dance floor. Just shy of 9:30,
Dave emerged from the trailer the club provided as a dressing room and the
band leapt into spirited set made up of:
- '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
- David Watts
- You Really Got Me
With Dave Nolte off and running about Japan for a month (his regular band,
"Wondermint," is backing Brian Wilson on his tour of Japan-- he'll
be joining up with Wondermint later in their tour), the set downplayed the
keyboard parts, which pretty much ruled out such keyboard-heavy songs as "Living
on a Thin Line", "Lincoln County" and "Young and Innocent
Days". Nathan Segall augmented Dave, Dave and Jim with rhythm guitar
and the keyboard intro to "Death of A Clown".
There were a few glitches in the show, such as when Dave went to switch
to an accoustic guitar, only to find that it was shut off at the board. Since
the club owner, who was apparently running the board, was occupied elsewhere
with venue business, it took longer than it should have to correct the situation,
and Dave performed "Picture Book" on an electric guitar. Dave handled
it with patience and humor, though, describing it as being "like cracking
walnuts with your balls."
When Dave asked for volunteers to sing during "Death of a Clown",
Leslie and I nudged compatriot Linda Dempsey, from Livonia, Michigan, up onto
the stage. She put up mild protest, but was a good sport and overcame stage
fright to deliver the necessary "la-las" in all of the right places.
in all, Dave and the band put in a good performance. Nathan seemed just a
little nervous performing on stage with the band for the first time, but I
can't say I'd blame him. For a debut, he did quite well, and will certainly
improve in coming shows.
The crowd was an interesting blend, with a group of what I'd describe as
"Mr. B's regulars" filling the tables, and the Raving Dave Fan Kollective
occupying its usual spot in front of the stage. Very few members of the local
crowd seemed interested in joining us on the dance floor, but at least a bunch
As the band packed up, all attention centered on the narrow hallway to the
right of the stage. Kate, who has been handling CD and t-shirt sales on the
tours, was left no place to set up but at the junction of the hallway leading
out of the room, and the one leading back to the dressing room trailer. Between
the buyers and those seeking autographs, the halls choked up pretty quickly.
While we were waiting, Jim gestured for us to come back, and asked us to
watch the door to the dressing room/trailer. Leslie and I did our best tough
guy imitations (which, frankly, must've looked pretty silly) until Dave came
out to sign autographs. It's good to feel useful...
After all of this, we wrapped up our evening with a late night dinner with
Joanne and Jimmy (the Kape Kod Kollective). We probably should have stayed
at Mr. B's-- Boy, am I getting sick of Denny's!
From the Diary of a Raving Dave Fan
Mr. B's - North Canton Ohio, 7/3/99
Although I'd visited my brother, who lived in Canton just after he married,
I was not at all sure what the clubs in this area would look like, and half
pictured Mr. B's to be a run-down shabby place on the outskirts of town.
Turns out I was only right on one account. The location! Mr. B's turned
out to be a generic pub in a mini-mall on the outskirts of town. At least
it seemed so from the outside.
inside it maintained that atmosphere only in the main bar area. The stage
was in a small room, which for all the world looked like a meeting room in
a Hilton or Holiday Inn.
The Cape Cod contingent of the RDF Kollective, (oops, I keep forgetting
"Kape Kod", all K's.) Joanne and Jimmy, who no one could ever call kasual
fans (see I remembered the "K" that time!) drove all the way from their home
to see this show. It was great to have the Kollective whole for this show.
The opening band, "Blue Tantrum", was one of the best I've seen in my travels
to see Dave's solo shows. The lead singer was a wonderful mixture of Janis
Joplin, Melissa Etheridge and a songstress in her own right. I signed up their
mailing list in anticipation of their first CD.
Then Dave, Dave Jenkins, Jim and Nate came out. The crowd consisted of us
fans and some people who seemed to be Mr. B's regulars. The fans crowded the
stage, while the regulars sat back and watched the band with an air of someone
watching bowling on television.
At one point Dave, announced to those watchers, "Feel free to have fun,
that's why we're here". Some of them took him up on it and joined the small
crowd at the stage!
Before the show, Nate pointed out the small PA system. Fritz kept asking
if I thought the speakers would blow up, but the sound was only truly marred
by the lack of technical knowledge shown by the person running the sound board.
When Dave went to switch to an acoustic guitar, he found he had no sound
at all. That tight-lipped grin briefly flashed as he asked, "Is there anyone
out there who knows how to run a sound board?" in a half joking manner. So
instead he played "Picture Book" on the electric guitar. Which to my untrained
ears sounded just as, if not more pleasing than the acoustic would have!
The set was a bit short; I'm not sure if it was due to the heat, the lack
of a keyboard player or if there was any reason at all. It was a great show,
Dempsey, from Livonia, a woman who remembered seeing me at Dave's show in
Grand Rapids singing with the opening band on a very un-PC song, was the chosen
person to join Dave on stage for "Death of a Clown" mostly because Fritz and
I wouldn't let her NOT be!
The night before I'd given Dave a picture I bought off of eBay of him posing
next to his 1947 Citroen. I am a classic car owner, and having to give up
my '53 Mercury would bother me greatly. As I knew Dave sold his car, I thought
this picture would be a nice gift.
I waited after the show in the narrow hallway of Mr. B's backstage area,
to get an autograph on a picture I'd purchased at the same time as the one
I'd given him in Cleveland. I was leaning on the stage when I felt eyes upon
I looked up to see Jim LaSpesa, gesturing at me. I looked behind me to see
if he was signaling someone else. I pointed at myself in the classic, "Who
me?" way and he frantically gestured for me to come to him. I pushed my way
past the line, amid the cries of "Who does she think she is, cutting ahead?"
from the assembled fans seeking time with Dave. Fritz followed close behind.
Jim asked us to guard the small RV that served as the band's dressing room.
Now for those of you who don't know me, I'm 5'3", not exactly a prime candidate
for a body guard. But I gave it my best shot, trying to keep the giggling
down to a minimum.
Dave came out a bit later, saw me and thanked me for the flowers I gave
him (I hand him a bouquet of thanks at every show). He told me that he really
liked the picture I gave him, and we talked a bit about cars.
Then he added, "I really like seeing you at my shows, it's nice to look
down and see your sparkling face". Needless to say, he melted my heart a bit
more with that sweet statement. Then he congratulated Fritz and I on our engagement,
shook Fritz's hand and went towards the other fans.
Joanne, Jimmy, Fritz and I retired to our traditional after show eatery,
Denny's. As I sat there with them I realized that not only did I get to see
Dave live, and hear his wonderful music, he also brought into my life, two
of the most wonderful people in the world.
I shudder to think what life would be like without Joanne and Jimmy. I owe
Dave a great deal of thanks for that too!
The next morning bright and early the Kape Kod kontigent left for home.
Fritz and I left for Columbus, for a day of R and R on the celebration of
our country's independence and to await the show at Mekka.
- Leslie Ohanian
Photo by Leslie Ohanian