Saturday, June 7, 2014
Steve Earle Acoustic Show
The weather sucks.
That said, getting to Iowa City in a driving rainstorm made me wonder if this was worth the trouble. I've been in a pissy mood, wasting Wednesday Night at the Bacon Jam, thinking I could sit in on drums and not getting that chance after hearing some of them drummers trying to play Keep Your Hands To Yourself and couldn't figure out the beat. And missing out on the bacon that the waitress was giving to patrons, even though I did tip her 2 and half dollars for the meal. But I was watching the weather and counting the days to Saturday, which we had a 70 percent chance of thunderstorms and heavy rain. Friday Night the Iowa City Arts Festival had the Indigo Girls and they had ideal weather but I am not a fan. So I passed.
While trying to wait out the rainstorm I wasted an hour at Coral Ridge Mall (no more FYE and Barnes And Noble is barely hanging on) before the rains stopped and I made my way, though about 20 straight red lights to downtown Iowa City and managed to even get a up close parking spot. Last year's Richard Thompson show and the year before that Los Lobos I parked way out by Highway 1, about 5 blocks away. The rains did postpone a lot of the art festival festivities which made me even wonder if anybody was going to play. Till I heard the opening act, a bluegrass band named Barefoot Movement. and they were fairly good. The female bass player was playing an large acoustic bass that was bigger than she was! I managed to catch their last song Wade In The Water before an hour wait and Steve Earle would take the stage.
And then we had to wait while being subjected to the excruciating shit of the overplayed classics. I absolutely hate Piano Man. It was worse trying to deal with the fucking gnats as well. Thankfully when the sun went down the gnats called it a day.
However, I did manage to see him in a cowboy hat, an unbuttoned flannel shirt but having a Led Zeppelin T shirt underneath it. The good news was that Earle was going to play but the bad was The Dukes wouldn't. Due to all the rain they didn't think it was worth putting all the electric stuff up and having it short out due to the wetness on the ground. And basically Steve Earle had to put up with the technicalities of a wet cable that cause the guitars not to be heard on Tarry Town and a couple others. While others may have gotten pissed off and stormed off the stage, Steve took it in stride and even made a profanity laden comment about the SOB not connected to the MF. Everybody got a laugh out of it, and Steve would tell stories about the songs and places that he been too and use a F bomb or two. I didn't mind it, but a few folks left disgusted, particularly a woman dragging her 7 year old son halfway through the set, upset at such vulgar language. Her loss.
For most of the 2 hour and 3 minute show, Steve Earle made great use of his acoustic albums over the electric stuff (The Mountain, his bluegrass classic with Del McCoury had at least 3 songs from that and Train A Comin as well), and managed to break out the mandolin on a couple songs, one that he talked great length about his 4 year old autistic son John Henry and did the song Remember Me dedicated to him. Earle mentioned that he would like to live long enough for his son to graduate from high school (or college). He got the crowd to sing along to Galway Girl before picking up the guitar to do Copperhead Road, to which one of his guitar strings broke toward the end but he kept playing on. Like a trooper. But he did go over the 11 o'clock curfew and The Mountain ran about 5 minutes long. But they didn't pull the plug on him.
For the encore he did Guitar Town and finished with The Mountain. Steve did take a few pot shots at the Republicans and those who try to extract every last drop of oil out of the ground, but for the most part it wasn't as charged up as when Bush Jr was messing things up a decade ago. He did shout out Thanks after the ending of some songs and he did pay tribute to Pete Seeger in doing Lay That Hammer Down (can't think of the name of the song). He did a good job eying the crowd and even shot a look or two (or three or four) my way.
Due to the rain, the crowd wasn't as big as it was with Los Lobos or even Richard Thompson but the area did filled up once the rain stopped. Still, Steve Earle delivered a very good show and it does close the first part of his tour. He mentioned about a upcoming duet album with Shawn Colvin, a blues based album with The Dukes later in the year after going to Europe, but he says he's looking forward to go back home to New York City and take it easy for the rest of the month. He promised that he'll be back.
I'm sure that he will.
P.S. Once again the photos that I posted, which were by me have disappeared from here. Which is getting to be a pain in the ass since after posting the pics I deleted them from my camera after thinking they would be here forever. So I guess we'll have to live with the memories and picture it in your minds.