COMBINED REPORTS - The Borderline, London, England July 24 2003
To: "Hix List" <email@example.com>
From: John Bull
Date sent: 29 July 2003
Borderline London 24th July 2003
Cacophonous whale audience profile
Should have been the ideal venue; small room, snug and dark, the logo in
Cantina style painted on the wall as backdrop. I'd been to Birmingham
where a friendly, adoring audience had cheered Dan to the rafters, but was
looking forward to the Borderline, it had to be good, because it was
London, right? Home for many, many years and the Borderline was the place
where I last saw Colour Blind James (remember them?) and that had been a
good night. Arrived at about 7.30 to a quarter full room an uneasy
feeling had started to settle after ordering two Margaritas; the barman
had that look of faint irritation I know so well from waking up my
daughters after they've been up late... sort of felt I was intruding into
his private space. Anyway, I got my drinks and wouldn't you know it, they
weren't included in The Happy Hour bracket, so they were, let's see, about
eight dollars a shot. They had possibly enough tequila based DNA to
qualify as a distant relation to Margarita, but you could have drunk them
all night and got through your driving test in the morning with flying
colours. At 8.30 it was filling up, getting noisy, a bit on the shouty
side, even, which was surprising, since everyone there seemed to be as
close to getting their pension as I was. But I thought, they're just
excited, they haven't seen Dan for 25 years or, maybe, ever before; they
might be old but they're laughing and chatting in nervous anticipation. At
least, we were near the stage and nothing could spoil our fun. Bought
coveted CD for my new drinking buddy Harry from Clare; chatted briefly
about the pleasures of Blu Tack, and felt a bit more comfortable...There
is an inspired set by a blues player whose name, alas, escapes me, all the
while more very noisy, excited people are clamouring for attention and
Suddenly remembered the three words most designed to cloud my sunny mood
were these; Record Industry Hangout. Geoff, a journo from The Mail (God
bless him) muttered this as his eyes surveyed the swelling noisome beast
that was the audience. Now, I imagine most Hixters have had, or maybe
still have a job to do around the production or promotion of recorded
music; it's a creative industry after all, but like everything nice it
attracts just enough crap to take the edge off it. By just enough, well,
let's say ninety percent of the workforce; T shirt wearing porkers
hell-bent on having a good time, all on freebies, a Friday night of
strenuous badinage and amusing epithets delivered in spite of background
noise of songs from a genius.
A word or two about drugs, ladies and gentlemen: cocaine, a very pleasant,
stimulating inhalant available from quiet men in nice cars almost
everywhere is becoming, I can't help noticing, the intoxicant of choice
for people who should leave it well alone. These are just the people who
get up Dan's nose...
Much hollering as the band take to the stage. The sound is good; the
Lickettes more audible than at Birmingham and Canned Music gets an
ear-splitting cheer. At Birmingham (the set was almost the same, save the
addition of the delicious abductee's anthem,'Hell, I'd Go') Dan's wry
deliveries got received in attentive silence. Here, well, no. Too many
juicy stories to swap with someone ten feet away, and too many pointless
"whoo"s and "yeah"s during the introductions to every song, yes,every
song. Sort of felt guilty by association. Grinning nervously as Dan got
very reasonably angry with some hapless whooper. His point completely
lost, obviously. But, hey, Dan's a trooper, he's seen worse and to his
credit plays a blinding set, as do they all, especially Brian ; but don't
they ever? I was looking forward to 'Song For My Father' which was a
miraculous treat. I went with two people who laughed in amazement all the
way through at the sheer panache, the drollery, and let's not overstate
things here, the staggering genius of your man's achievement. Perfect
music in the face of irritating people. As a slight punishment 'Payday
Blues' was delivered without audience participation.
I dunno. The crowd were borderline. The band were out of this world.
Date sent: Thu, 31 Jul 2003 18:38:17 +0100
I flew over from Dublin to catch the Borderline show. Terrific night.
I thought Dan handled the raucous elements with suavity and aplomp.
When roars of song requests and whoo-whoops were getting too loud he
remarked 'Hey, price of admission does not entitle you to open your mouth.
In fact, if you must, why don't you shout out your requests during the
next song, so we don't have to listen to you' (in case you heard this one
before, during his concert commentary on the DVD he refers to his ad-lib
style and how sometimes practised it is - 'but I still ad-lib 'em')
It was hot work, too, standing in that stuffy basement of the
Borderline. My drinking buddy has arthritic knees (it's an age thing) and
it was hell for him. Unfortunately, because of the crowd, couldn't see all
of Dan's nifty dance routine with the Lickettes.
One new song (so far as I know and what do I know) I hadn't heard
before was 'That Ain't Right' - hopefully to be on the new studio CD ?
Looking forward to seeing Dan play Ireland in the autumn. He's down
to play the Cork Jazz festival on Sunday 26th October and other Irish
dates are being planned.