So we reunited once again at Godfrey’s for another interesting night amongst friends, both as musicians on stage and with fans from our past in the audience. We had a rehearsal three weeks ago and it went well. We then did an early rehearsal Saturday afternoon. Perhaps not as tight as we were back in the day, but with a strong sense of kinship that will make this evening special for all.
Their was a nearly full house on hand, so when we led off with Choo Choo and nailed it, there was a collective gasp from the audience when we finished it. I could feel the bond from the first few bars, and it was palpably delish! We rolled from there through favorites like Pay Day Blues / How Can I Miss You, Zombie Jamboree from my repertoire, some new beauts from Reid (a great vocal on a R&B soul tune that blew everyone away). I got to do Rodeo Rider, a much more restrained ballad, with full band and it was as good as it gets.
I also brought out Edge of Night that I had worked out as a duo with Chris Jones on steel guitar. This one cuts, literally, close to home with its rather obvious (to me) reference to my recent years after my divorce. It lays it on the line more than any other song in my bag, perhaps along with Prine’s Far From Me. I rarely expose my soul like this, with all my goof-alongs, kids music, etc. Chris and I really did it well, and it was nice to play it for my band mates, as well.
We finished the first set with Clinch Mountain, a mandolin tune done with full rock treatment, Hub on drums, Reid on nasty electric and some jazz improve on guitar, mando and drums. It really is a tour de force sonically and really stretches alot of genres. I really wish my folkie friends could take this one in. Yes, the boys can rock!
I was able to interject some of the old venues we played inside the tunes, and folks picked up on all the references. We had also played for several couples’ weddings as well. Interestingly, many had brought some younger relatives to the show and walked away amazed by these old guys. Cool.
The second set was equally fine with old favorites like Lose My Blues, Walking Stick, Delilah, and finished up with Redneck Mother and Jailhouse Rock. Standing ovation. We did There’s a Riot Going On as an encore. We started the set with an instrumental Midnight in Moscow that we Chris and I had worked on quite a bit over the last few weeks. We pulled it off. I did Santa Assassin with Reid to great effect.
Walking Stick featured my tango, this time with the Kelsey, daughter of friends Tom and Barb Molseed. I had tangoed with perhaps four women in the audience thirty years ago, so I decided to break in a new generation. There was little room in the house so we took over the far corner. Yes, it was awkward for us both, but Kelsey played it well as did the band, wailing on in their tango mode. Its a great moment to return to the stage and bring the hammer down on the song. The place goes nuts, though that’s not what’s going on in my head at the time. For Red Neck Mother, I get to spell out ‘M O T H E R’ with various things that go through my head. Tonight we figured to open it up to the audience to add modern diseases for people of our age. It was a riot: menopause, tintinitis, Ebola, and, of course, ‘R’theritis.
The encore was Riot, but I introduced the segment by asking the band of their recollection of some weird gigs, many involving some of my forgotten escapades that was good, intelligent chatter with good performance values – interactive, spontaneous and humorous, all of which is part of Steppin’ Out!’s success tonight as well as thirty years ago. And it flows so naturally from all of us and it bounces effortlessly between us and the audience.
Everyone stepped up, even though several members don’t play as often as Reid, Chris and myself do. Denny had a terrible cold but played with professional understated that his bumps weren’t as noticeable to the audience. Jeff was great on drums and keys, Hub was very comfortable on piano, and killer on drums. We will try to do this on an annual basis, the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
After the show I got together with Reid and Jeff at the very noisy bar across the street and shared our amazement on the evening’s gig, our respect for each other’s life paths and talents, and the very magical connection that we share as musicians and friends. It is magic.