Spring tour was announced many months ago so I have had lots of time to prepare for Widespread Panic coming to the region for a good week of shows. I didn’t pre purchase any tickets because I was not 100% on my schedule or if I could find anyone that wanted to go with me. As the shows go closer I could see that work and school would take up my time not allowing me to see a show during the week.
The last show in this area was at Pier Six in Baltimore. From my new house it is about 1:30 hours, a huge time saving compared to living in Stafford. The one good thing about the Sunday night show was that traffic is not yet that bad. Once summer hits, 95 will be a mess on the weekends and everyone is either heading to or from the beach by car. This allowed me to take a nap and get well rested for the show to come.
For a late April show the weather was very chilli. Everyone was wearing jackets and preparing for the mid-50’s that it would get down to. Being on the water lowers the temperature that much more. Another weird thing about the water was the number of boats I saw in the harbor. In fact people where sitting on each flanking pier to watch and hear the show.
The show itself was a good one. One of the other fans had a t-shirt that said “Never Miss a Sunday Show” and let me tell you that was some sound advice. There was one slow spot in the first set and around the drums of set 2 was weird. But all in a all worthy performance by the guys with Duane Trucks still sitting in on drums.
One of the highlights from this show was all the covers. They have certainly been played before but I thought the selection and shear number played made this show spectacular. Standouts included Pusherman and the show stopping Ballad of John and Yoko. A few years ago when I saw them at the Fillmore in Silver Spring, they played this the second night of the run. I could only see one show and I picked the night before. I kinda thought I got some vindication when they played that the other night.It was a great performance and I am glad I went. The show ended just before 11pm but I didn’t manage to make it home till 1am. 250th show by my count as well so that makes it a little more memorable. See you all on the road.
Set 1 starts at 7:41pm
01. Holden Oversoul
03. Tickle the Truth
05. The Poorhouse of Positive Thinking
09. Blackout Blues
set over at 8:46pm
Set 2 start at 9:17pm
02. Mercy >
03. Jam >
04. Big Wooly Mammoth
05. Chainsaw City (Little Women cover)
06. Blight (brute. cover) >
07. jam >
08. drums >
09. Pusherman (Curtis Mayfield cover)
10. May Your Glass Be Filled
11. No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature (The Guess Who cover)
walk off stage at 10:38pm
Encore starts at 10:41pm
12. Dream Song
13. The Ballad of John and Yoko (The Beatles cover)
house lights at 10:54pm
I had been looking forward to the moe. show at Rams Head Live since the winter tour was announced some time ago. I caught them at the 9:30 Club in November for my birthday. Nancy and Matt went with me and the show kicked ass. This time out the show was on Saturday in Baltimore, I was looking forward to making it a long day in the city and then see the show that night. As much as I tried to get Nancy to come, even offering to get a hotel room for the night, she was just not interested in seeing moe. again. Not deterred, I forged ahead with my journey.
First thing was food, I was starving. The last time Nancy and I went to Baltimore we found Roy’s while bar hoping. Unfortunately it was closing so we couldn’t try it out. The sign says “Hawaiian Fusion” which peaked my interest when I saw it. Coming back for the moe. show I was bound and determined to eat there this time.
The place has a great atmosphere with a modern design. The lighting is a little low but the food more than makes up or it. This would be a good place for a date night if anyone is looking to impress someone. Being a Saturday night the place was packed. I was hoping to just get a seat at the bar but even that was full. I ended up posting up near the door till a seat opened.
It was still early, three hours till show time with an opener and probably two sets from moe. I was looking to fill my belly and have a buzz by the time I walked into the venue. The beer selection was good and I got a few on the happy hour price. I splurged for the appetizer, also on happy hour, dinner and a decadent desert to round out the evening. I got the braised short ribs, a huge piece of beef, tender, juicy and had a great smokey flavor from the grill. There was mashed potatoes and some vegetable, what ever, the meat was king!
James Joyce was up next for a quick beer and some soccer. It is on the way to venue so why not stop for a beer? Nancy and I spent a good amount of time here while in Baltimore for my birthday and I wanted to come back and get a glass of Guinness. I love Irish pubs, everyone is so friendly and the beer selection is always good. What’s better than a cold glass of draught Guinness. It was a week before St. Patrick’s day and the place was getting ready for the festivities already.
It was getting close to 9pm so I started to make my way over to the venue. There was a message on the door about tonight’s show being sold out, lucky I got my ticket when I did. The floor was already packed so I went to one of the bars on the second floor to get another beer and chat with others. As the start time for moe. approached I muscled my way into the pit to enjoy the show. It was packed and everyone around me was either smoking or drunk as shit. This is the only bad thing about a Saturday show, everyone cuts loose. Another thing this show had going for it was the last appearance by the band before jetting off to Holland for Jam in the Damn.
Like usual I thought the show was fantastic, it had a great energy with the sold out crowd. There was some good banter back and forth during the second set with a Shake Weight. From what I could figure out a fan gave it to the band before the first set. During the start of the second they gave it back to the audience and asked everyone to pass it around and sign it, eventually returning it. I am proud to say that it was returned to the band and its rightful owner at the end of the night.
I was on the fringe for most of the first set and used the time during the set break to wiggle my way within a few feet of the stage at the start of the second. I had long ago quit drinking so I took everyone’s spot as they rushed to the bar and bathroom.
The show ended just before 2am that night. As I headed back to my car I started to have a sinking feeling in my heart. I knew that on Saturday nights the garage closed at 3am so I still had plenty of time, but at 2am Sunday the clocks went forward an hour. It was now 3am exactly. When I tried the front door it was locked and no one was answering the call box. When I went around to the other side, that door was locked too and the same results for the call box. I started to really worry when I saw on the sign that if you are locked out, you will have to wait till the following morning to get your car back. Nancy was at a friends house and I don’t know anyone in the city I could call. I pull hard on the door and eventually it opened up. I had successfully broken into the garage, now I just needed to get my car out.
I first just drove to the exit and hoped someone would be there but it was locked up tight. I could always crash the gate but I needed to get past the garage door after that. While I was investigating the garage door it opened up. It was a parking attendant dropping a car off from a local hotel. I was able to get him to let me out of the gate and the door opened automatically when I pulled up. Looks like I won’t be spending the night in the city after all!
I eventually got home just before 5 am, after the time switch that is. My ass was dragging by that point. The dance music and sugar rush from homemade cookies was doing little to keep me awake. I was so glad to finally get home when I did. I had spend all evening drinking some good beer and enjoying wonderful food. Then I went and saw a kick ass moe. show and meet some cool people and one strange person too. By the end of the night I almost got locked out of the garage and would have to find a hotel room to stay at, but I was able to break in and through the kindness of a stranger get my car out of hawk for the long ride back to Stafford.
Set 1: (10:17 pm start time)
01. Brent Black >
02. Rise >
03. Brent Black
04. Rainshine >
05. Deep This Time >
06. Brittle End
07. Shoot First (1)
08. Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’ (1)
ends at 10:40 pm
Set 2: (12:12 am start time)
01. Sticks and Stones >
02. Okayalright >
03. Yodelittle >
04. One Way Traffic
05. The Road >
06. Down Boy >
ends at 1:36 AM
Encore: (1:40 am start time)
08. Spine Of A Dog
house lights at 1:45 AM
(1) Andy Falco from the String Dusters on guitar
After nursing a hangover from the night before, Nancy and I got a late start on our trip to Baltimore. As a surprise Nancy got a hotel room in the Inner Harbor for the night. We planned to spend the evening out eating and drinking, not having to worry about driving home. Getting a late start we did not arrive in the city till after three o’clock, plenty of time to check in and get settled in before heading out for the night. We got an upgraded room, still the king bed but got moved to the 18th floor. The view was pretty bad, we looked directly into the court yard between two close buildings. But then again we were in the city not for the room but to eat and drink. What we did get out of the upgraded room was a free happy hour and breakfast the next morning.
After parking the car we “relaxed” in the room for a few minutes and then headed down to the hotel bar for some drinks. While checking in the guy gave us a free drink ticket when he found out it was my birthday so the first round was on the house. Plus we had some time to kill before the hotel happy hour so we enjoyed another round before heading up.
Once 7pm rolled around we packed it up and headed for the happy hour for some more drinks and hors d’oeuvres on the 17th floor. Here the beer selection was down right horrible and there was no red wine. But my mission of drinking all night was not going to be interrupted by this little fact and I plowed through two Amstel Lights. The one saving grace was the hors d’oeuvres which were actually really good. There was a fruit and cheese platter and these awesome mini burgers that Nancy and I both filled up on. This actually helped solve one problem, what to eat for dinner. Now we could focus on drinking!
Late in the evening we headed for the Inner Harbor to start bar hoping. As many times as I have been there I didn’t have any places in mind on where to drink. I like to wing it most of the time when it comes to finding food on trips. We agreed that I would pick the first place and Nancy the next, going back and forth till we found our way back to the hotel. Shortly after arriving to the Inner Harbor I saw a sign for Sullivan’s Steak House. I didn’t know what it was before walking up, but the sign outside looked inviting and they offered a terrace so we could smoke. When we walked in it was a swanky place, felt out of place being there. We talked to the hostess and she said we could sit outside and a waitress would eventually come out to take our drink order. We sat on the far side, right next to a three piece jazz band playing at the bar, I saw that and got excited! Nancy smoked a cigarette and then I started harping on her to go inside, it wasn’t freezing out, I just wanted to hear the band. We got a seat on the far side of the bar, ordered another round of drinks and a plate of oysters Rockefeller. Nancy is not one for sea food, but she does love this dish.
After a quick drink it was time to head to the next bar. I thanked Nancy for indulging my jazz music tastes and we headed deeper into the harbor. We passed several promising places but nothing that sparked interest from Nancy. Searching on her phone turned up an Irish pub, James Joyce, not to far in Little Italy. Here we spent several hours drinking and talking. This place was much more lively than Sullivan’s with a crowd that knew how to drink and a band playing traditional Irish music. We bellied up to the bar and ordered a round of Guinness, this was my staple drink for the rest of the night. Nancy even meet the lead singer from the band on one of her smoking breaks. She leaned over after the set break and told me she just smoked a cigarette with the guy, real cool and down to earth.
By now it was getting late and we both were getting hungry for some food and another round. When making our way to James Joyce we noticed a place called Roy’s with the description of “Hawaiian Fusion”, this sounded interesting. Unfortunately when we walked in after 11pm the kitchen had just closed down and they where only serving drinks. We didn’t much fit in with the crowd and we got a cool reception from the bartender. No need to stay where we are not wanted so we walked out, still looking for food.
One place that I love to stop by late at night in Baltimore is Sabatino’s, right in the heart of Little Italy. The prices are reasonable and the food is pretty good. Considering they are open till 3am on Fridays and Saturdays I hit it up regularly after shows. Nancy and I settled in for another round of drinks and some late night pasta with tiramisu for dessert. One thing bugged me while we were here, I noticed this guy in the opposite corner from our table and I just kept staring at him. He looked familiar but I couldn’t place him. It was about 30 minutes before it dawned on me, we saw Mickey open up for Joel McHale at the Warner Theatre a while back. Mickey is from 98 Rock and he was having a late dinner with a couple of his friends. I thought he was funny as shit when we saw him.
Unfortunately like all great things this too must come to an end. We walked back to the hotel but we were certainly not done drinking. The hotel bar was still open so we plopped down for another drink and shot the shit with the bartender who served us earlier in the night. Finally it was time to head up to the room and catch a few zzz after a long night of drinking, in fact a long weekend of drinking.
The next morning we woke up refreshed and headed to the free breakfast buffet on the 17th floor. After checking out of the hotel we headed over to the National Aquarium to check out the fish. I was planning on going here Saturday afternoon when we arrived, but the previous nights festivities delayed our arrival in the city so we had to postpone it till Sunday morning. It had been years since either of us had been there, in fact it was probably 15+ years for me. Some of the exhibits has been updated or rotated out, but basically just like I remember it from so long ago. Another quick meal at Dick’s Last Resort were we got some decent food and a whole lot of bad attitude.
We arrived home late in the afternoon and both of us were exhausted from partying all weekend long. We settled in for a movie but that was short lived. I wanted nothing more than to fall asleep, which I did for a few minutes on the couch, but I had to get up and head out to Vienna with Jeremy to see Charlie Hunter perform. The performance was forth getting out of the house for, but I certainly felt like crap till I got two cups of coffee in me.
I was surprised by the trip Nancy planned for my birthday. We had a kick ass time bar hoping and taking in the sights of Baltimore for the night. There is so much to do we could certainly go again, maybe next year for my birthday?
For several years now I have seen Baltimore’s Artscape come and go, never being able to make it. This year I was determined as ever to catch “the largest free outdoor art festival” in the country. Every year they get hundreds of artists together and close several city blocks for all the booths and stages. Not only do they have traditional artists, but dance troops and what I was mostly interested in the local and national musicians together as well for free concerts on several different stages. This years artists included Cake and Robert Randolph. With Cake making an appearance it didn’t take any arm twisting to get Jeremy to come with me. For the first time in years I was finally getting to Artscape.
Jeremy and I got together in the early afternoon to start our trek to Baltimore. I had never been to Artscape nor the part of town it was located in. Needless to say we were going to be winging it, just like so many adventures from our youth. When we got close to the festival we found a garage that was only a couple blocks from the festival and followed the throngs of people towards the festival grounds. When we arrived it was a giant mass of people walking down the closed streets. I just couldn’t get over how many people were there. But I guess being right in the middle of a large city and a free event, brings out the people.
Our first priority was bathroom, drink, and food, in that order. We hit one of the “food courts” to grab some grub and found huge lines of people waiting. It was nice to have all the food in one spot, lots to choose from, but everyone had to go to the same spot to eat. Instead of picking what we wanted, we settled for the shortest line, a Greek place. After waiting only 15 minutes or so we placed our order with the lady and promptly got our food. For some reason she couldn’t take our money and told us to see the guy next to her. So we cut in line and paid. He told us $23 for the food and drinks for which we quickly gathered our money and got $2 change. While looking for some napkins the lady start yelling at us to pay, saying we owed her $20 for the food. The guy starts yelling at us asking for more money, so we just walked away. We paid in full and apparently got ripped off for doing so. Food vendors can be some shady people. With food and drink secured we found a nice shady spot under a tree and joined the hundreds of other festival goers in eating some food. For being over charged it was rather good too.
After lunch Jeremy and I parted company. Jeremy took the recording gear and headed to the pit to secure a spot. I headed to one of the other stages to catch Higher Hands for a few songs before meeting back up with Jeremy. On the way to and from the Festival Stage I stopped by many of the booths to check out the art work. I was very impressed by what I saw from most of the vendors. I would have actually bought some of the pieces but the prices were to steep for my pockets, so instead I just marveled at what I saw. I have always been impressed with artists, of all kinds. I have always been a little jealous of artists actually. The fact that these people create something and display it for the world to see has been something I wish I could do. I wish I could create something beautiful the way these people do. The closes I come right now is with my photography. What I do might be called creative, but I think of it mostly as being at the right place at the right time. Nature has done all the work by creating the world around me, I just take the pictures.
Higher Hands was not finished with their set before I needed to head over to the main stage for Cake. When I arrived the tiny amphitheatre was packed with people. Jeremy said he was down in the pit near the stage right corner, now I just needed to find one man in a crowd of thousands. When I got to the pit I quickly ran into a wall of people that made it near impossible to get to him. He was about 20′ from me but because he was taping I was unable to get his attention, yelling would have been a bad idea. And besides even if he knew I was there I couldn’t get any closer. So I took up my spot and just enjoyed the show, only missing two songs of the set. From my vantage point I could barely see the stage, but I certainly could hear them play. The photo to the right is a good approximation of my limited view of the stage.
As the set progressed Cake played many of their hit songs, which I recognized, and even a song from their as yet unreleased album. John McCrea said there is no official release date and they would release it when they wanted. They currently don’t have a major record label and are taking their new found freedom from “the man” to its fullest, which seems to suit them very well. Every now and then I would see John poke his head out. With my limited view of the stage it allowed me to do a lot of people watching which I love to do. Quite a diverse group of fans made it to see them play.
Once the set was over the crowd quickly dissipated which allowed Jeremy and I to take up a much better position on the hill. We managed to snag a spot about half way up the hill just left of center, right next to the tapers. Up next was Robert Randolph and the Family Band. A rockin’ soul/funk/fusion band that is hard to describe, you just have to see them. The band does a good job of getting the crowd into the music and their shows are always a party.
They came out and rocked the house with their brand of funk and the audience ate it up. They played a ton of covers, two from Michael Jackson who recently passed away, Man in the Mirror and Billie Jean. For Billie Jean a young kid, maybe 10 or 11, came on stage and stole the show with his break dancing skills. The whole show was like this……good. By the time the band walked off stage at the end of the set it was almost 10pm. But you see the guys milling around next to the FOH board deciding what they are going to play and a few minutes later come out for an encore. With the clock marching towards 10pm there was not much time to squeeze in the two song encore. As they played on I saw coming up the stage stairs a police or fire chief and he looked pissed. The sound guy and he talk real quick and the sound man gets a panic look on his face. The city takes their curfew very seriously but Robert didn’t care about any curfew, he just wanted to play. The crowd was digging the music and he wanted to give them everything he had. Eventually the band members slowly walk off stage leaving Robert playing a melody on his guitar. Slowly he walks off stage, still playing, and has a pow wow with the chief. Then just stops playing, there was no more show. I definitely thought the power would have been cut mid-song or the chief walking on stage and pulling the cord from Robert’s guitar, something like that. But I was glad to see them playing as long as they did.
After the show we filtered out with the rest of the crowd. It was great seeing variety of people that attended the festival as we walked back to the car. When we got back it was off to Sabatino’s for some midnight grub. I for one was hungry and thirsty. I had visions of tiramisu and cappuccino dancing in my head. When ever I am in Baltimore I stop by Sabatino’s for some late night eats, usually to sober up too. When we arrived I was hungrier than I thought and ordered a bowl of mussels along with my usual. Everything was so good, what a way to cap off the night. After food and a little time to rest we headed back home to Virginia.
1. Stickshift and Safetybelts
2. War Pigs
3. Ruby Sees All
4. Love You Madly
5. Frank Sinatra
7. Rock ‘n’ Roll Lifestyle
8. Sheep Go to Heaven
10. Short Skirt/Long Jacket
11. Comfort Eagle
14. Never There
* – John McCrea said Cake may or may not release a new album with this song on it.
Robert Randolph & the Family Band
Start time 8:32pm
1. Sunshine Of Your Love jam
2. Deliver Me
3. I Need More Love >
4. Wanna Be Starting Something jam >
5. I Need More Love
6. The March
7. jam >
8. Man In The Mirror
9. Shake Your Hips
10. Jesus Is Just Alright
12. Billie Jean
13. I Don’t Know What You Come To Do
14. Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That
15. Thrill Of It
Friday was the second straight show of Medeski, Martin and Wood I was going to see. Of the two this was definitely the one I was most looking forward to. Yeah the Lewis Ginter was a new venue for me, but the last time I saw MMW at Rams Head Live it totally kicked ass. Plus it was a Friday in Baltimore so that was it’s own fun right there. For this show I planned on doing a little drinking and there is always Sabatino’s for some after show dessert and coffee.
Unlike last nights show, this one started at a more reasonable hour. The doors didn’t open until 7 where as with the Lewis Ginter show, by 7 MMW was getting ready to take the stage. The extra time allowed me to put in a full day of work with plenty of travel time before the show started. I couldn’t leave work till 6pm but even at this late hour traffic was not an issue and I was in Baltimore just after 8. When I got into the venue The Wood Brothers were already on stage, but only a couple of songs into their set. Not my favorite band. They play really well and it was certainly different just having a due on stage. I like to call it hard core bluegrass, it was mostly time to get drinks and mingle with the other fans.
Trying to find other fans turned into a little bit of an issue as NO ONE showed up! That is not entirely true, probably 400-500 people showed up for the show. The last time I saw them at the Rams Head Live back in 2005 the placed was packed and I was hoping for the same amount of people. Baltimore has got a great scene when it comes to live music and I was expecting the hoards of people to flood into the inner harbor and support the band. Even on a Friday night and still no one showed up. So as showtime approached I was a little apprehensive on how good the show was going to be.
Another beer and it was time to find my permanent spot on the floor to enjoy the show. Because of the low turnout the upstairs area was closed off, so I took a spot dead center about 20′ away. There I meet two really cool people from Annapolis, Gretchen and Michal. A couple of young people who were well traveled when it came to seeing concerts. We all reminisced about various concerts we had been to and the upcoming Phish shows we were going to see. When the lights went down the fun was about to begin.
The quick and dirty is that the show was 10,000 times better than last nights. Having such a small crowd did not diminish the vibe. The boys were on fire this night performing many of their new songs from Radiolarians II. They also threw in some new new stuff that should appear on the third installment of this series. The energy during the entire show was well maintained throughout. Reliquary starts off the first set and had this building quality to it. It sounds as if at any moment they are just going to breakout into this crazy bizarre jam without limits. Riffin’ Ed continued in the same way. When they got to the third song, a new one, they changed direction into something a little mellower that flowed right into Junkyard and back into an uptempo beat. For the set closer it was all energy with two more songs from their recent album, ijiji > Flat Tires. This left the crowd on a high and me wanting more, that second set couldn’t get here fast enough.
One last run to the bar for beer, I am responsible you know so no more drinking once the second set starts, and then to procure more real estate. This time I was able to get within a few feet of the stage, everyone else was not as quick at getting the last beer like I was. While waiting for the second set I meet Jennifer, now what I am about to say sounds straight out of a porno, but it is not. She is a airline stewardess out of Detroit who was in Baltimore for the night just to see the show. A real lovely woman to talk to and a true music fan like myself. I don’t know many people that will travel such a great distance just to see a band. When the lights went out and MMW stepped onto the stage it was time for my attention to shift.
The second set was a little more adventurous in it’s tone and arrangement. Set highlights included three new songs, including one for the encore and another great version of Amber Gris which I have been really digging from their new album. Right in the middle of the set they change temp and pull out Baby Let Me Follow You Down. Not sure why when they were rocking hard they felt the need to slow things waaaaay down. Fortunately once it was over it was time to get back to the funk and boogie. When the set ended the crowd was pretty tired and I doubted they would be able to pull the guys out for an encore. Fortunately we didn’t have to wait long for them to bust out a new funky jam to leave us all on a high.
At the close of the show it was not exactly time for me to drive home. I was hungry for some dessert and besides, I needed to sober up a little. On my way to Sabatino’s I ran across this woman throwing an orange around and I just had to ask what she was doing. Being the gentleman I am I couldn’t just let her walk alone in the city this late at night. When we reached Sabatino’s however we parted ways, she headed home and I was headed for tiramisu and a cappuccino. I don’t know what it is about this combination, but it totally kicks ass and is but one reason I like coming to Baltimore for concerts.
Sober from the evenings concerts and still jamming to the tunes in my head it was time for the long drive home to my nice comfortable bed.
Set 1 9:38
ijiji > Flat Tires
set ends at 10:41
Set 2 11:13
Sweet Pea Dreams
Baby Let Me Follow You Down