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Sunday, January 27, 2013

In Which I Bet You Can't Guess Who My First Concert Of 2013 Was

Okay, so I can't resist a Rhett Miller solo date at New York's City Winery.

It's a fact. So sue me.

It's especially difficult to pass up when Southwest thoughtfully puts their flights to Newark on sale for less than half price.


My all-things-Rhett/Old 97's traveling companion, Steph had just returned to work after maternity leave and couldn't make the midweek journey this time around. Boo. I always miss her, especially in the Big Apple. Believe it or not, I actually contemplated canceling the trip altogether.


I know, right? Geo didn't believe it either. Clearly, some aberrant fever cast a pox on me. At the last minute, my nephew's girlfriend, Kelly accepted my invitation. I've been talking about the lovely blue-eyed one ad naseum for years to her. I think I finally wore her down. Ha!

Kelly and I made it to the venue in time to catch the opening act, and Irish band called the Dunwells. The five lads literally landed in the US with barely enough time to make it to the Winery gig, let alone check in at the hotel. Even though they were disheveled and sleep deprived from their transatlantic journey, they put on a fun, high-energy show.

yes.the drummer is playing a box

They all came out to the merch table afterwards. Very sweet young guys with a lot of talent and, hello... irresistible accents. You had me at, 'Allo.

It's a great joy for me to introduce Rhett's music to a newcomer. Being familiar with his recorded works is one thing, but seeing him perform live for the first time is an entirely different beast. I get a renewed appreciation for his talent watching him perform through a newbie's eyes. I get a kick seeing a first-timer's jaw drop and eyes widen when Rhett starts ripping through his setlist, thrashing around, singing and strumming with such passion. You can sense them drinking the Kool Aid of the converted. I recognize that look. That was me years ago.
Kelly was familiar with a couple of his songs, but had no idea what to expect. By the third song, Broadway, she leaned over, eyes wide, to mouth, "I love his words!" and then "He has so much energy." It makes me so happy to share my exuberance for his work with others who come to appreciate him, too.

(a rare performance of Adelaide)

Mr. Miller was on, as usual. He never disappoints. NEVER. The evening's setlist was killer. He played a number of rarities, Adelaide, Busted Afternoon, Cryin' Drunk, New Kid and Jon Landford's Over the Cliff in honor of the ridiculous fiscal cliff BS all over the news. Hell, we were even treated to the Heisman line in Won't Be Home. Clearly, he is at home here.

(A great tale pertaining to the naming of his band Old 97's)

He was giving his all, bopping up and down, doing his signature half-Townsend windmills,  furiously thrashing his head up and down, anointing the first several rows with droplets of  sweat. Seriously. how does he not concuss himself?!? One of my favorite parts of the solo shows is his playful banter with the audience while he's tuning or peddling through a song. I love the stories and insights into the background of his songs, not to mention the glimpses into his charming personality.

(Rhett's referring to Springsteen's Born in the USA prior to singing Perfume)

(The Conscientious Haberdasher hawking his wares - Picture This)

After the ovation died down for the long, satisfying 29-song setlist, a group of us regulars stuck around to bask in the glow of the magnificence that had played out before us. Kelly's sentiments echoed our own long-standing beliefs. He's an extremely clever writer, expert at turns of phrase and an amazing performer possessing dynamic showmanship.

Yep. I think we got us a new fan here. Welcome to the fold, friend.

Lost Without You
Broadway (oh that killer high C!)
This Summer Lie
Lonely Holiday
New Kid
Need to Know Where I Stand
Barrier Reef
Adelaide (a very pleasant surprise)
Murder or Heart Attack (AKA, the Kitty Cat song)
Out of Love
Over the Cliff
Busted Afternoon (another rare treat)
Caroline (she may have been in the audience)
Perfume (it WAS a beautiful day outside)
Won't Be Home No More (avec Heisman)
Fireflies (delightful schitzo role play)
Let the Whiskey Take the Reins (sigh)
Picture This (awww...)
Cryin' Drunk
You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome 
Big Brown Eyes (YEAH!!)
Wreck of the Old 97
Our Love

Wish the Worst
Queen Bitch
California Stars
Time Bomb
the end of the party :(

Of course, there are more videos from this event and others on my Youtube channel here.

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