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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hometown Saturday Trifecta
or three of my loves in one incredible day

Okay, so what's better (for me, that is) than a Rhett Miller solo show? Seeing him play TWICE in Pittsburgh sandwiched around a victorious Pens game against the Flyers, all in the company of my everlovin' Geo, that's what.

Happy pre-birthday to me! Spending an entire day watching my two loves with Geo is the cherry on the top of my Corneto, fo sho!!

The lovely blue-eyed one kindly squeezed a visit to the Burgh in between his Virginia and Mountain Stage gigs, and WYEP (the greatest radio station in the lower 48) snatched him up for a rare Saturday afternoon studio session. Geo and I (did I mention G tagged along?) met up with friends and fellow Rhett enthusiasts, Joe, his girls and Noreen for his energetic four-song set and interview. No matter how large or small an appearance, Mr. Miller has one mode--All IN.

You can hear for yourself. Time Bomb is particularly awesome. The link to the session is here. Go listen. It's only 24 minutes long. Go ahead. I'll wait... (cue Final Jeopardy theme)

courtesy of Noreen McBride
Articulate, witty, giving 100%...Do you see why I adore him? Plus, he graciously stuck around for photos.

rhett + hockey = double LOVE
(steph refers to this as the "elusive dry hair pic")

my wonderful friend, Suzanne and I as the bread in our rhett sammy
his banana is quite excited to see her

aaaaaand... we've overstayed our welcome
Side note: Before going on air, Rhett told the audience he was pulled over for speeding on his drive up from Virginia, quipping the incident gave poignancy to his lyric, "I call the police, but they don't like me." In some douchey, cosmic joke to punctuate that statement, he got a parking ticket while he was wrapping up at the station. Fortunately later on, the Universe made nice for being a dick by giving his Stars a win.

Next up, opening day of hockey with a bar full of beer-swilling, team-jersey wearing Pens fans.

hell of a line right there
One thing about Pittsburghers, we love our sports teams and ain't afraid to show it. There was a recent study claiming our city has the highest per capita of women donning team jerseys. Yeah. Not a surprise. The clientele at the Smiling Moose validated that statement. I think Geo and I were the only ones NOT wearing a Pens logo.

For shame. For SHAME!

Anywho, we had a blast in our little alcove yelling and cheering the Pens on to victory with a packed house of revelers.

After a dinner of tender lamb kabobs, it was time for the third spur of our Saturday Trifecta, Mr. M at Club Cafe. All told, there were about ten in our group of groupies parked in the front, mole side.

joe c, amy c, katie c, noreen, me, yoko, annie and cindy
The opening act was Black Prairie, an eclectic six-piece band including three members of Portland's Decemberists. Among the plethora of diverse instruments were a stand up bass, accordion, steel guitar, violin and some wacky looking Hungarian violin with a horn attached. Their sound had a unique honky-tonk, European, circus vibe, fronted by a beautiful blonde with an equally gorgeous soprano voice.

Annalisa playing that wonky fiddle-horn thing

that's a whole lotta talent packed onto that l'il stage
They were incredibly skilled musicians. I have a new found respect for the accordion now thanks to that wee woman. The highlight for me personally, was their cover of Led Zepplin's The Song Remains the Same.

Moving on to the real reason for this gathering...

a great moment captured by the talented Amy Crawford
I know I sound like a broken record, but any time I get to stand in front of this incredible tall Texan and listen to him sing is a good day. A very good day. I have run out of superlatives strong enough to convey his talent, his prowess, his greatness.  He is simply superb.

half windmill courtesy of Amy Crawford
This evening featured a long, 29-song mixture of solo works, 97's tunes, cover songs, and banter. His oeuvre (his word) is so extensive, I marvel at his ability to whittle it down to 30 songs.

We were treated to the last verse of Question en franchise (pour les dames) preceeded by an amusing story about his French teacher. (video courtesy LiveBurghMusic)

The crowd getting behind him on Barrier Reef. (courtesy LiveBurghMusic - more videos here)

And Annie and I gunking up my friend Noreen's video with our sing-along on Indefinitely. (I could have at least sang the correct words. asshat.) watch more of Noreen's videos here.

Black Prairie joined Rhett on stage for the final five songs of the master set, adding a delightful element to his works. A little honky tonky. A little Mellencamp-ish. A little twang.

Annalisa Torfelt matching his high C

California Stars

solo set closer Our Love with a twist
(courtesy LiveBurghMusic)

And then just like that, it was over. Another fantastic performance seared in my memory. He played for over 2 hours, and still we all wanted more. Luckily, he'll be back with the 97's in March. Woot!

The one downer of the evening: Club Cafe has always been our favorite venue in the city, but lately the bar crowd has been beyond rude. I understand that patrons feel the right to talk during opening acts being as they came for the headliner, but Jesus H Christmas! now they're talking LOUDLY THROUGH the headliner!!?! It's embarrassing, and completely inexcusable.

I mean, What the fuck? What are we, Dallas? Come on, people! What's worse is this show was sold out. I personally know a handful of fans who would have gladly taken the collective ignorami's place, singing and dancing and adding to the experience instead of detracting from it.


Somebody needs to get all Mike Doughty all up on their asses. Seriously, either go next door to Jack's to yuck it up or just SHUT THE FUCK UP AND SING!

I realize that's contradictory, but you get my drift. I just hope this bad behavior doesn't dissuade him from coming back to play more solo shows.

Lost Without You
Melt Show
Help Me, Suzanne
Long Long Long
Grand Theatre
Lonley Holiday
I Need To Know Where I Stand
Barrier Reef
This is What I Do
Out Of Love
Question (with French)
Fireflies (w/Annalisa Tornfelt)
Come Around
Big Brown Eyes
Sweet Dreams
Every Night Is Friday Night

with Black Prairie:
You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome
California Stars
Wreck of the Old 97
Our Love

Manic Depression
Time Bomb

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