Palace of Fine Arts
January 11, 2007
Peter Rowan and Tony Rice Quartet
It was a cold but absolutely beautiful night in the city. After I burned my dinner, a nice crisp walk seemed like just the thing! The venue is only 15 blocks from my house, but it's the worst 15 blocks you could imagine, the first half is straight up a hill, the second half is straight down a hill. But there's a great view! I walked past Diane Feinstein's house. and arriving at the Palace of Fine Arts on a clear star lit night is a delight! I had a few minutes to 'enjoy' the night air and then head in just as the first band was coming on.
Angel Band--shortly after 8, they played exactly 30 minutes. EH. Not my thing. They sounded beautiful, 3 lovely women singing in perfect harmony. whatever. They sang songs that rhymed, of-love-above. They did a cute cover of Angel of the Morning, it took most of my section to figure out who it was by, I had no idea and just teased them all because I was too young to know. The crowd seemed to think it was Janis Ian, but an old lady in crushed velvet and beads told Nancy and I a crazy story about how it was Juice Newton and she knew because one day in LA she ran into Juice handing out 45's on the sidewalk in front of a record store, and that song was on it. I reported back to the section but they dismissed it. Google seems to agree with the old lady though. I guess the version I'm most familiar with is the Pretenders.
Quick set change, they didn't even bring the lights up, I guess they meant it when they told us to park our carcasses. It's nice to have a quiet listening audience, especially in a place with such great sound!
The Rowan and Rice was too short--they're why I went--they played 40 minutes.
Panama Red, with some nice picking my Mr. Tony Rice, Man he's so great!
Hobo Song, great jams from the whole quartet, fast and tight with beautiful vocal harmonies when the ladies joined Peter.
Next up a bunch of "new" stuff off the album (picked up a copy last night, haven't given it a listen yet.)
Dust Bowl Children, a sort of up tempo lament about life in the depression era dust bowl. Peter ability to convey the emotion of a period song, ANY period song is amazing.
In a timely tribute to Townes Van Zandt, To Live is To Fly...great song, actually just heard it for the first time at the TVZ tribute I saw last weekend, to live is to fly, both low and high
Next something that sounded sort of Thrill is Gone-ish...it was actually Shady Grove, Sharon Gilchrest--WOW!! I love her more each time, when she stepped up and took the lead things really began to fly, sweet sweet picking all around! Tony and Bryn did a straight from a jazz show kind of jam, nice variety!
Peter took a minute to chat the crowd up, gave props to KPFA and the Dead 'Hour', as he said, it was a beautiful sunrise. As jerry would say (quoted by peter) AWESOME!
Then it was Walls of Time, another of the great period pieces.
and a rolling fun Midnight Moonlight to close the set. I could have listened to at least another two hours of it! And it turns out, everything after dust bowl children is off the new album, in order even. So, not so much new songs but this is the first album with Sharon, so I can't wait to give it a listen!
Then a short set break and on to David Bromberg! WOW!! I had no idea who he was...and I can't believe it! He was great, so much fun! A sit down, shut up and listen show can be stuffy and boring but not from this guy! He was a true entertainer, not just a musician but also a dancer (his wiggles gave me giggles!) and a comic!
Opened up with Don't Let Your Deal Go Down, which ended with a Fiddle 3-WAY!!! OH BABY! Nothing better than 3 fiddles...unless it's a full house, fiddles over mandos! But there weren't enough musicians on stage for that...so 3 fiddles it was, I was hooked from the first moment!
From there they went into a blues number, I'll Take You Back...when rattlesnakes have knees, on the 12th of Never, when wino's don't get high, when weapons of mass destruction are found in iraq, that outta be any minute now. Bromberg's ability to make a serious political statement without being preachy and still having a little humor is a lesson a lot of people could learn from. He really had the audience eating out of his hand.
Then it was Dark Hollow, always a sucker for this one! Followed by a tune recollecting youth gone by, didn't catch the name but Tony Rice came out halfway through and picked a little for us.
With Tony onstage there was a chance for a guitar 3-way! Although, for a song with a lot of guitar players, there was a lot of fiddle! ha! It sounded great! and then it was back to a bluesy-gospel sorta tune.
Next up, another bluesy tune about cryin', drown in my own tears that sort of thing. Half way through the Angel Band appeared in the audience for the back up vocals, they were joined by a couple cherubs which included Mr. NancyintheSky's Guitar teacher and Linda Ronstadt (who's name had come up earlier juice-janis convo...funny how that works.)
Then a little bo diddly beat and Who Do You Love, followed by the show closer Testify About My Love, Sharon and Bryn joined the other six ladies on vocals and David laid down a rap about his love. They encored with a song about Rip Van Winkle, Bromberg explained that it was like a musician coming off the road, going home but yet everything has changed. He likened it to the same experience he's having with his country. Things are changing but is it enough. He told us, it's not a matter of George W abusing his power, but the fact that the power remains and it's there for the next in line to abuse as well. Definitely something to think about but also preaching to the choir.
All in all, a great show, I went for Tony Rice, I can catch Peter all over town, but not Tony. I can't believe it's taken me so long to catch on to Bromberg...he's a new favorite!
(can ya tell I got a new setlist book? It's become such a ritual, I can't take notes on a scrap of paper anymore...just not that same.)
Sounds great...but how lonf was the show?? I'm drivin' up to Santa Barbara on Sat...(it's a 3+ hr drive!!!)....I'd like to think the show would be at least 2 hrs???? And, yeah, I'm goin' for T. Rice myself...
30 minutes for Angel Band
40 minutes for Rowan and Rice
75 minutes for Bromberg
They were very prompt, set changes were tight, not much down time at all. In at 8, out at 11.
Nice review Emily! Did you catch a glimpse of the comet on your walk to the show? It's visible in the Western skies right after the sun goes down (both last night and tonight). Peter and Tony, I'm envious. I suppose I'll get a chance to see them at Wintergrass in Tacoma in February, but that takes me back to my early days in the BG scene when they'd both do shows at the Birchmere and various and sundry outdoor fests and theatre gigs in Virginia. Has Tony ever recovered his ability to sing? The surgery that robbed us of his voice was a true life tragedy. I absolutely love "The Walls Of Time." I think that Peter may have picked that one up from Bill Monroe when he was apprenticing as a Bluegrass Boy. I'm glad you enjoyed Bromberg's set. His recordings are somewhat all over the place, but believe it or not, Phil, Jerry, Billy and Keith all recorded with him on his 1972 "Demon in Disguise" and 1974 "Wanted Dead Or Alive" LPs. Thanks again for a top notch review.
yeah, thanks for the review. Just saw a torrent of this show on etree - I will have to check it out.
>>Just saw a torrent of this show on etree<<
Wow...really? It's only been over for 12 hours? Gotta love the tapers!
Didn't see the comet...but I'll be on the lookout tonight, it's expecting to be another freezing night with clear skies!
Looks like I miss named Paper Bride...Shouldn't be Walls of Time, I didn't think it should be but then the setlist was in order off the album which is Walls of Time, so I thought maybe I was confused about the names (but not really) and I went with that...should have trusted my first instinct, where I said walls of time, I really meant paper bride of angel island.
Which by the way, is a very cool place, I definitely suggest Angel Island over Alcatraz, it's the road less traveled but it still provides the amazing views, and it's historical value far outweighs alcatraz.
Here's some pics from the night before at KPFA
pics look great.
i love miss Gilchrist!
and i'm pretty sure Peter Rowan (in some for or another) has been playing DUSTBOWL CHILDREN for quite some time.
thanks for the review Emily. sounded like a blast, i just couldn't fork out the 40 bucks for 40 minutes of Peter/Tony (reason i would've gone too!) good stuff.
He introduced a whole bunch of stuff as New...I was confused because Dustbowl Children is the only thing that was new to me...what was really meant is stuff off the new album, apparently last night was the first the band had even seen it There's a lot of familiar stuff on the album, cold rain and snow, sunny side of the mountain, shady grove, midnight moonlight.
Great review as always Em. TONY RICE! Just want to add that his playing is down right jaw dropping. He is a gem and his playing puts me in a trance. He seemed especially ON last night. All of the performance were top notch.
>>>Testify About My Love, Sharon and Bryn joined the other six ladies on vocals and David laid down a rap about his love.
Those ladies, including a cute, but lost looking Linda Ronstadt (who eventually got her footing, and cues down), were superb singers and rocked the joint along with Bromberg.
I too was there for Rowan/Rice and was really bummed at only 40 minutes; I was expecting to be disappointed with 60, but was hoping for 75 minutes, so I was REALLY sorry to see the lights come up without even an encore.
I've been a huge fan of Tony Rice for 25 years but had never seen him live until about 5 years ago, with Peter in Palo Alto. Last night was the 3rd time I've seen him (the other was a couple of years ago at the Noe Valley Ministry, again with Peter) and each time I've walked out of the venue about 2 feet off the ground!!
Rice is an AMAZING PLAYER who always leaves me thinking that he can do ANYTHING he wants with his instrument; that he just toys with it and us.
His playing has such great technique and his sound is so unique to him, but it's his touch and creative feel for the music that puts him over-the-top. IMO he stands with the greats of all time.
I love Peter Rowan, a true troubadour, and I think Rice & Rowan are the PERFECT match; Rice complements Rowans songs and beautiful voice so well, and the two ladies on bass & mandolin were excellent as well.
I skipped the opener purposely and I had seen Bromberg at the Fillmore a year or two ago and was bored, and because I was just glowing after the Rowen/Rice set I decided to skip the Bromberg set and just leave Rice clean in my ear.
I LOVE the POFA; it's totally comfortable (I'm 6-5), the sound is always supurb, it's located in a beautiful setting and an extra bonus; ample free parking!!
It's really to bad they didn't headline a show somewhere in the area this time around, but ultimately 40 minutes with Tony Rice is an AMAZING way to spend 40 minutes, so in the end I was very happy to get those 40 minutes.
>>>Looks like I miss named Paper Bride<<<
When it debuted in 1997, Peter called this Angel Island. It then migrated to Picture Bride of Angel Island before he finally settled on Paper Bride Of Angel Island.
Great review, Em! And I had no idea the new album was coming out already! Just checked and its coming out next week. If it's anything like the last Rowan/Rice release, it will be at the top of 2007. Nice looking cover on it too.
Peter Will be part of the Bluegrass & Old Time Festival Sat 2/10 http://www.sfbluegrass.org/
>>Nice looking cover on it too.<<
Peter has a way with the ladies, that's for sure! Sharon always looks great but Bryn looks especially great!
I'm headed home and Quartet is at the top of my play list
I like reading your reviews. You remind me of me when I was younger and had the time to see several shows a week. I miss those days.
David Bromberg is an amazing musician, and a comedic entertainer like you said.
I have seen him several times and each time was just as excellent as the others.
I heard stories about him from people who saw him in the early 70's. Apparently he would play colleges and have a bottle of booze onstage.
Occasionally he would yell at the students to sit down and shut up.
It's always interesting to see that David Bromberg is so unknownd out west. He has been on the Phili-based east coast circuit for so many years. I was soory that I couldn't see him at the Palace of Fine Arts.
Hey Dan - whats shaken? Yeah, bromberg has been based in Wilmington, DE for 5+ years now, and was always a big NY & Philly draw. I'll be checking him out in a couple weeks at the Keswick Theater. He has been slipping in the heartfelt political commentary in recent years. Last year he did an intro to his song Kaatskill Serenade and changed the words from something like("Where are the men I used to sport with, Where is my home") to "Where is my country" Love me some Lonesome Dave.
I'll be checking him out in a couple weeks at the Keswick Theater.
The Keswick is such a nice theater.I miss going to shows there.
I saw Bromberg many years ago at the annual Philadelphia Folk Festival. I made sure I had reserved seats for the afternoon show, which he headlined.
I taped it but unfortunately I have since lost that tape.
>>>Rice & Rowan are the PERFECT match
They are good, but at the top of my list go:
Norman Blake & Tony Rice ("Blake & Rice" and "Blake & Rice 2" are as good as it gets. The second one even sneaks Doc Watson in for some sick trios.)
Ricky Skaggs & Tony Rice-their "Skaggs & Rice" album is pure honey. Ricky went off into Emmylou's Hot Band for a while after this one came out in the late '70's, but finally found his way back to his roots. I'd like to see Ricky and Tony join forces again.
While the Peter and Tony combo is great, if Tony isn't singing, you're missing one of the key components that put his work with Blake and Skaggs over the top. Tony is unquestionably in the top five flatpickers, and Peter is a humorous, generous and talented singer and rhythm accompanist, but to not hear Tony sing "Man Of Constant Sorrow," "The Likes of Me," "Why You Been Gone So Long", "Galveston Flood", "Cold On The Shoulder", etc., etc. is missing a huge part of the Tony Rice experience. No one answered my query above yet. Did Tony sing at all? There was talk a few years ago that over time, his vocal chords may regain their strength. The return of Tony's voice has been a secret wish of mine for a long, long time.
>> Did Tony sing at all?
don't think so ~
one more try...
separated at birth?
>>separated at birth?
Nope. Kennedy was born in '32, Peter not until '42 - but both hail from Massaschusetts ~
I thought that was Art Garfunkel on the left :-)
>>Kennedy was born in '32, Peter not until '42
OK, cloned from the same source, then -- the pictue of Ted *is* about 10 years old...
Thanks for the great review. And Emily, I'm really glad you got turned on to David Bromberg! He's a personal favorite - I've been going to see him for 30-odd years (yeesh!), got to see him a lot in the seventies in NY and really miss him out here. He plays with terrific, versatile musicians. These days the shows are shorter so they don't get to stretch out as much on those extended rocking fiddle tune medleys, but still...sorry I missed this one. (and I too could continue living without Angel Band, although they have lovely voices.)
Angel of the Morning is by Chip Taylor (of Wild Thing fame, among others.)
It w as sweet tonight when Bromberg came out and touche rice's guitar like it was hot....! The show here was mainly rowan rice bromberg and the ladies
Midnight Moonlight Panama Red FREE MEXICAN AIRFORCE!
>>>Did Tony sing at all?<<<
No, his voice is still like broken glass, but his guitar playing is like the voice of angels!
Peter has an album called Dust Bowl Children, I believe. def not a new tune. glad you dug Bromberg.
Used to see the Bromberg band all the time back in the 80's- amazing musicians ( Matt eckle of Grisman Quintet did a stint for awhile) .
saw his "last show" at Central Park, then he went away to build violins for many many years
l'm glad he's back at it. cant wait to see him again.
recently got a sweet dvd of rowan/rice & the Ladies.
drop me a line if you want one
Much Thanks Gmack...Email on the way