To: Hix List <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Wendy Lapides
Date sent: Tue, 31 Jul 2007
Subject: Show Report
Show Report from The Barn, Brooklyn, Connecticut, July 29, 2007
WORST VENUE EVER
I had been eagerly anticipating this show since I’d first heard about
it via the Hixlist. I usually see Dan at The Narrows in Fall River,
Massachusetts but that wasn’t one of his stops this tour. Instead, he
was to be at a place I’d never heard of called The Barn in Eastern
Connecticut, about an hour from my house in Rhode Island. The Barn’s
website says that no alcohol is served though BYOB is permitted.
“Good,” I thought. Fewer drunks for Dan to contend with. The site also
states: “Our goal is supply a family friendly environment...”
They neglected, however, to say what kind of families they were
appealing to. By the end of the night, names like Addams and Munsters
came to mind.
My husband, children (ages 21 and 23) and I arrived at The Barn at
5:30. Not being familiar with the venue, we wanted to get there early.
The doors opened at 5:00, a band called Sour Grapes was to start at
6:30 and Dan at 8:30. We parked the car and toted our cooler across a
dewey field towards The Barn. The first thing I saw was a pair of
outhouses. I haven’t used an outhouse since I spent a summer on a
school bus in Maine in 1974. I kind of wanted to let that record stand.
We entered The Barn and handed in our tickets. I had been expecting a
charming place where perhaps weddings and parties were held. This
barn, however, must have held animals only hours before it held us.
The floor was dirt and the scent of manure lingered in the humid, still
air. I wished I hadn’t worn sandals. The layout of the barn was
peculiar too. As you walk in and look to the left, there was the
“stage”, really just a small slab of concrete. There was an area of
dirt and stones in front of the stage, a bar area straight ahead with a
pool- and foosball table, and plastic chairs to the right. This
configuration meant that people were constantly crossing in front of
the stage to get to the outhouses.
The Barn’s MC announced a raffle for a kid’s benefit and I bought 18
chances for a pair of Red Sox tickets (second prize) or a guitar
autographed by Dan and the band (first prize). How I wanted to win that
and I had a funny feeling that I just might!
Promptly at 6:30, Sour Grapes came on. The band consists of a woman on
congas and a crutch to which a washboard and tambourine were attached.
The other band member was a guy on guitar and harmonica. The woman had
a nice voice, and what I could hear of their music, sounded pretty
good. The audience was incredibly rude, talking loudly through their
entire, albeit a bit long at an hour and a half, set.
Around 8:00, Dan walked into the barn and began fiddling with the
sound equipment. Four or five people came up to him and gave him
albums to sign, and their communication seemed amiable. I was very
worried about how Dan would react to this crowd. I’ve seen him get
annoyed with far less than what was going on here.
With little fanfare, Dan and the Lickettes (Roberta and Daria) and the
Lickman (Paul, Rich and Dave) as he referred to the male members
walked onto the stage. All were dressed in dark attire, or maybe it
was just the poor lighting that made it seem that way. The sound was a
problem too. The Lickettes kept telling the sound guy that their
monitors weren’t working. It improved after the first couple of songs.
The set list was as follows:
1. An instrumental medley that I was unfamiliar with
2. Four or Five Times
3. Canned Music
4. Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me
5. Savin’ My Lovin’
6. How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away
7. Peach Pickin’ Time
8. Song For My Father
9. I’m an Old Cowhand
10. Honeysuckle Rose
11. I Scare Myself
12. Milk Shakin’ Mama
13. Jug Band Music
14. Long Come a Viper
15. Scotch & Soda
16. Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy
During the show, a guy, I’ll call him Wookiee #12, stood right in
front of the band doing idiotic dance moves and blocking everyone’s
view. Occasionally, he was joined by some other revelers. They were
intensely distracting and annoying. One woman kept saying “My mother
knows who Dan Hicks is” over and over. She came over to my daughter
and said, “Come on, get up and dance!” and my daughter replied that
she was here to see and hear Dan, not her.
No one really seemed to be in charge of crowd control so these
people were allowed to just block the view and make the night about
themselves. At one point, Wookiee jumped right onto the stage in front
of Dan. There was an audible gasp from the crowd, and I found myself
hoping Dan would shove the neck of his guitar into the guy’s cojones.
Another time, Wookiee splayed himself on the ground and lay still. I
kind of hoped he had passed out. Some guy came over and started
leaping around him in WWE or (WWF!) style.
Dan pretty much ignored it all. He went from one song to the next
with no in-between patter. Though the singing and playing was
wonderful, I felt like he just wanted to get the gig over with and I
didn’t blame him at all. I kind of just wanted to get out of there
too. It occurred to me that I could have been listening to Dan on my
ipod at a freak show for the amount of intimacy and joy I was
experiencing from live music.
I didn’t win the Red Sox tickets or the guitar. So much for my
intuition. At the end of the show, the MC who was obviously a Dan fan,
said it was a dream come true to finally see him. He also said that
Dan’s music was the kind where you just had to be in the moment when
you listened. While I agree in theory, if “the moment” was like the one
I had just been in, I’ll take the canned music of my ipod.