So, the big event came to pass with the concert at Foy Hall at Moravian. Vance Gilbert and Ellis Paul, two fine songwriters were the main event and they shared the stage for a fun and informal back and forth. The stage was set with a couch, a floor lamp, a record player and a big ole comfy chair. Oh, and a huge Steinway piano.
They both are excellent songwriters and did a wonderful set of originals and interesting covers. Vance is particularly extemporaneously witty and a superb singer. Ellis is no slouch either. They put on a very nice show.
I was the opening act, as I have been for 39 years. Seeing how it was an audience of Godfrey’s members and supporters, it is a serious gig for me and I picked my material carefully.
I started out with John Gorka’s How Legends are Made and really didn’t knock it down. Several missed lines and minor flubs, but few noticed. At least I didn’t stop and start again. Afterwards, I asked the audience to not tell John that I screwed up his song. But, the tune set the tone for the evening – how special the club is for all of us.
My friend Bill commented beforehand that the line about ‘how do I get to Rt. 22 from here?’ could only have been written before GPS systems were installed, and I relayed that to the audience. It was a good and humorous point.
I followed with a newer one, Luckiest Man, from David Olney. In past years I’ve done some pretty poignant songs about the tough times I’ve had since my divorce, so I decided to employ some irony with this tune. It essentially brags that ‘your life stinks and my life is like a dream’. Hardly, so I did have to comment after the song that some folk audiences have a hard time with satire, since we deal in ‘Truth’ all the time.
I followed with the lighter Giants and invited daughter Rosalie and her boyfriend Cory up to play Thundertubes. The audience did the spooky sounds and it was, as always, a delightful excursion into the absurd. It was particularly fine to have Rosalie on stage with me for this song, and at this event as well. She was my rock.
I followed that with Lessons from Pete, and it was nice to preface it with little introduction other than “Here’s a song I wrote.” It was to the point and well received.
I finished with Here Comes the Sun, the Beatles’ song that was the first song played at Godfrey’s 39 years ago. I remarked that it still is a great song for the first day of spring (particular irony with 6 inches of snow today), but also a wonderful song of hope on many levels. It still is a challenge to play cleanly and strong, but tonight I did it better than usual, especially having the audience take the ‘Sun, Sun, Sun’ bridge by themselves and enjoying the sound of the hall without my voice.
I thanked them all and the following applause lasted longer than usual. I reminded myself to take it in and appreciate the love. I’m still uncomfortable with it, but I’ve learned to stop and say thank you.
The evening was a class event, with the hall, the pre-show gathering, the assemblage of Godfrey’s supporters, volunteers and so many good friends. Many good folks stopped me and thanked me for starting the club and how it had changed their lives.
I finished the evening exhausted but happy.