This night violaleeblue joined rtb and me. She got to Rockwood Music Hall early and got a table for us. We had a great view of the stage (there really aren’t any bad sightlines). My first question was where had they put the grand piano? rtb pointed out an alcove above the stage and there was the piano. I don’t even want to think about how they got it up there.
First David introduced Grove and Dickenson picked up the electric guitar and there was Joey behind the kit and then I noticed that David was playing electric bass. What’s this? David is performing with the opening act? Yes he was.
Grove is a Zooey Deschanel lookalike with a perfect indie rock voice. “Today” was inspired by The Sopranos. She sang a few songs while Dickenson and David traded off on various instruments including a mandolin, keyboards, harmonica, and shakers as well as the expected acoustic and electric guitar and electric bass.
Dickenson was next. He is pure Texas from his hat, tall frame, and attitude. His friend John Paul joined everyone on stage for one song. “Ain’t Waiting Any Longer” and “Rosalie” were standouts. He also sang just a few songs but I think a couple more than Grove did.
One thing I noticed is that whatever instrument David was playing was the loudest. I knew that even when he stands back from the mic you can still hear him very well. His intensity carries over to whatever he is doing. The man does not seem to be able to do anything part way. It is all the way and through to the other side. Whew. It must be exhausting.
There was a very short break and then the band came back and went into “Pour a Little Poison.” Despite the band there was still a little looping with Grove playing shaker and tambourine for “The Ballad of Miss Lily.” I love the Santana-like guitar on that song. Again there wasn’t much banter because it had to be a short set. Grove also played keyboards on one song and acoustic guitar on another. Everyone seems to get along very well and on a stage that small you better like each other.
I love seeing David solo or with a band. There were small shades of difference between the two nights. Since David can create the sound of full band when he works solo, adding the band lacks a certain – poignancy? – something like that. Certainly the intensity remains.
David called up a friend (now it sounded like he said David Was but I’m sure it was not the David Was but instead a name that sounded similar. David also said the other David was a chef) who played for a few songs. The other David was still tuning when our David was ready to sing “I Don’t Care What You Call Me” so our David told a joke, which when the other David was finished tuning, our David simply rushed the end of the so-bad-it’s-good joke.
For “Cheer Up (You Miserable Fuck)” David stopped just before the “la las” and asked us to sing that part. He got us going by telling us that Boston had done it very well. There is nothing that gets a New Yorker to work harder than telling them they are competing with Boston.
His cover last night was “The Weight” and each member took a verse, including Love, who got a huge cheer for his singing. I love the covers that David chooses both on stage and on record. His recordings of “Everybody Knows” and “I Will” are fantastic.
When David gets to the line in “Every Time” where he references “Song for the Road” I get chills and want to stand and cheer.
I wish we could get a two-night stand of David every week.
[Note: Found out that the other David is David Wallace.]
By Carene Lydia Lopez