New Riders Of The Purple Sage ~ 06/27/07
NYC Rockin The River Cruise, Pier 83, West 42nd St., New York, NY
It just keeps getting better. Last night the NRPS played two separate shows on a boat that left from Pier 83 on the west side of Manhattan. What a great idea, the NRPS on the high seas. Well not really the high seas but out on the river. I’ve been on boats before and seen music before, but never have I seen music on a boat. Gotta try this! So I grabbed some tickets a while back for both shows, going with my brother Chris and my friend Rob. Another friend Dave met up with us on the boat.
We left Connecticut around 4:30 and only hit a little bit of traffic, but enough to force us to park in the parking garage that was on the pier. Not enough time to find free spot on the street. Not a big deal. Get our tickets and get in line to board the boat. What a weird feeling knowing you can’t be late for the show. Not there on time and you miss the show as they are out on the water. It’s also real tough to leave the show early! A short wait in line and then they let us board the boat.
The boat had two levels to it. The downstairs had the merchandise tables and food/beer. Upstairs was where the action would take place. The second level was laid out like this: the stern of the boat was open to the sky (this was the smoking section) then as you started to walk towards the bow there was a roof above your head. They had a bar on this level and a good amount of seats. The sides of the boat in this section were open, which was nice. Walking a little more towards the bow was the band. It was a little weird as they were set up facing the starboard side. In the room where the band was, there was a little area to dance. Being here put you right in front of the band, facing to the port side. I thought they would set up so they played to the crowd lengthwise, not side to side. But this worked out just fine. This part of the boat had sliding windows which opened. To Ronnie Penque’s left some more seats that went towards the Captains wheelhouse. Sound Dawg had the soundboard set up over that way. So overall a good setup, just might have been a little better if they set up lengthwise.
So after a few beers (Heineken tonight as they don’t have Guinness) the horn sounds, the dock lines are cleared and we are heading out. Here we go! A decent crowd of folks tonight as I didn’t think there would be that many people on the boat. The more the merrier! After a few minutes of cruising the band made their was though the crowd and got ready to rock and roll. A few handshakes and whoops and hollers for the band – go NRPS!
They opened up the show with I Don’t Know You, Casey Jones The Bold Engineer, Contract, and Whatcha Gonna Do. It was kind of funny watching the band and fans getting adjusted and getting their sea legs under them. Donna looked like she might fall over a few times. Nelson was bobbing to and fro, picking the shit out of his guitar as he rocked forward. As I mentioned earlier they were set up side to side. This is the way the boat would roll from time to time so when we rolled a bit Nelson and band would sway towards us a bit as we were swaying away from them. A cool effect. A few times you would put your hands up as you were dancing to help stabilize the person in front of you. A few songs in and everyone had this dancing on the water thing down. There were a few great moments for me when I honed in on Buddy’s steel guitar. The body and mind, moving to the sound of his guitar, which seemed to be in perfect tune with the movement of the boat. Very nice! Donna sang on I Don’t Know You and then took a break. She sang a lot more later on. I have to say she was a nice addition to the band. I had never seen her before live and enjoyed it lots. She still has it going on. When she wasn’t singing she had a seat over on the side of the band. A few times I looked over there and she had a small video recorder panning out to the crowd of crazies. She really seemed to be having a good time. Thanks Donna!
Other songs that were played during the early and late shows, though not in any order:
Whiskey, Garden Of Eden>The Last Time>power outage>drum solo!>short break>The Last Time>Garden Of Eden, Groupie, Franklin’s Tower, Diamond Joe, Sliding Delta, Sutter’s Mill, Higher with Joanne Lediger on vocals, Rocky Road Blues, Rainbow, Dirty Business, Henry, Absolutely Sweet Marie, Louisiana Lady, Panama Red, Any Naked Eye, Take A Letter Maria, Ripple, Peggy-O and I think they might have done Last Lonely Eagle, but maybe I am thinking about Dirty Business. I might be missing one or two other songs. Anyways you get the idea.
A few highlights:
Garden Of Eden>The Last Time>power outage>drum solo!>short break>The Last Time>Garden Of Eden
They were going along real nice in Garden Of Eden, slid into The Last Time and then the power cut out. Johnny Markowski kept on drumming, hoping they could get this fixed in short order. Once they realized it would take a few minutes to fix it he wrapped up the drum solo. A drum solo at the NRPS, a first I believe. They got everything back in running order and on a dime they picked up right where they stopped during The Last Time. Super smooth!
The Franklin’s Tower was another surprise this evening. I haven’t heard this song played live in a while, so it was cool to hear. They did a real nice vocal vamp at the end. Layering the Roll Away The Dew’s! Nice job Donna!
As per usual songs like Dirty Business and Any Naked Eye got out there good and weird, just the way I like it. It’s so cool when you get hear a 20 minute jam on Dirty Business and then go right to songs like Diamond Joe and Sliding Delta. These guys bring the goods.
A little bit about the boat ride. They just cruise around the river. It was cool to see the Statue Of Liberty up close as I have never seen it before, which in retrospect seems kind of crazy since I have lived in Connecticut a fair amount in my lifetime. I’m pretty sure we went under the Brooklyn bridge also. I really don’t know much about the city/landmarks etc, but it was cool to see from the water. A neat idea this sailing with Riders is. Another nice thing about the boat was that they had speakers set up all over the place. As I mentioned the smoking area was at the stern of the boat and they had speakers out there. During Higher I was out there dancing in the rain, watching the skyline pass by and really just having the time of my life. I could see this band every Friday night!
The early show ended at the dock with the band still playing for a few minutes. Then we had to exit the boat, get our tickets for the late show, and get back in line. The turnover for the two shows was fast and easy. Good of time as any to say that the folks that ran this boat were good peoples. From the folks ripping tickets on the dock, to the bartenders, to the cool security guys and I even got to talk to the captain for a few minutes letting him know I thought his job was a cool one. I would easily go see another show by them.
The last show got off to a good start with Rocky Road Blues. Folks were dancing and having a ball. A couple of older gentlemen were really cutting up the rug, getting high fives and nodes of approval from fellow fans. Most likely they were at Fillmore shows, years past and you could tell they were just so excited to see the NRPS back making music. I really love dancing at shows and just grooving on folks getting their good time on. It gets no better!
So, that’s it for now. I am sure more will come back to me in a little while.
Thanks to the NRPS for a great night of music and a great night of fun!
Keep on rockin!
NRPS w/ Donna....
NRPS plays Franklins Tower
I love show reviewers...
Theres some good one that post here eh..??..
here is the setlist in correct order
I Don't Know You
Casey Jones The Bold Engineer
Whatcha Gonna Do
Garden Of Eden>
The Last Time>
The Last Time>
Garden Of Eden
Last Lonely Eagle
Take A Letter Maria
Rocky Road Blues
Higher w/ Joanne Lediger
Absolutely Sweet Marie
Any Naked Eye
(I haven't listened to the discs yet to remember exactly which songs Donna Jean sang on)
GREAT review, John!!
As I write this, in an internet cafe near Syracuse, NY, I'm headed to Turkey Trot Acres to attend the NRPS "Family Reunion" show tonite. Just so happens I'm on vacation visiting family on the east coast, and the Turkey Trot show just fell into my lap. I'll try to post a review of tonite's proceedings in a few days whenever I can get to an internet connection.
New Riders, here I come!!! Woo Hoooooo!!!
NICE REVIEW SHIP OF FOOLS.
look forward to reading your review Gary. from the setlist that Sound Dawg posted in looked like a barnburner!
Ship Of Fools indeed. The soundman put that on at the end of the night as folks were getting off the boat...