New Riders Of The Purple Sage
04/12/08, The Knitting Factory, New York, NY
I almost didnít make this one. I went the night before to see the Riders and then had a long day of work, hung over from shitty beer and feeling less then optimal. I got home from work, showered, and felt a little better, and decided to go. So out of the five of us that went last night, only two of us were going tonight. Forward yo!
My brother and I took the train into Grand Central Station.
We get to the train station in South Norwalk, and then thereís an announcement that itís delayed for fifteen minutes due to police activity. Better to get the police activity out of the way before we get on the train I figure.
I was going in and out of sleep on the ride, trying to get some energy stored up.
I mean itís the NRPS on a Saturday night in New York City so that alone should give me a little boost, but a little sleep couldnít hurt.
We catch a cab and head down the show, but first something to eat. I barely ate all day, as I was really feeling it from the shitty beer the night before.
We found a Mediterranean/continental restaurant close by and went it there. They had a big dance floor there with dance lessons going on. Classic stuff. About five glasses of water, one pepsi, a cheesburger and fries and I was turning the corner, getting better all the time.
We took the long route back over to the venue, enjoying a smoke along the way.
This was my first time at the Knitting Factory. There was a hall when you walked in, and then a door on the left where there was a bar. If you continued down the hall there were stairs that went downstairs Ė bathrooms and a another room for music and who knows what else. I think they have three separate rooms there for music. One room had a sweet sixteen birthday party going on with quite a crowd of folks. The mingling on the sidewalk was pretty classic to say the least. There was little boys dressed as girls Ė NYC baby!
Back to the venue. The end of the hall also had a door leading into the main room where the NRPS were playing. There were also stairs that led to a small balcony.
The main room was pretty small with a bar on the right side. If you walked straight back you could go to the bar in the front of the building.
Overall it was a tight space all over, but it got better as the night went on. I liked the layout of the Canal Room better, where the Riders played last year.
To the bar we did go and the first thing I saw was an empty bottle of Guinness Ė that is just what I was hoping for. The first one went down smooth like, setting the pace for the marathon that would go down. It really is amazing how much Guinness I can drink and feel ten times better the next day, then if I drank a smaller amount of another beer. Me and Guinness get along real good, and for that I am grateful.
As more folks streamed inside you got the feeling that this small room was going to get crowded real quick. And it did. Well a few more beers and then outside for a smoke and a stroll around the block.
Scrow played some songs to get the night started. He and Little Toast deserve a ton of thanks for the work they do, which seems to be a lot. Without them the band couldnít play.
After a while Buddy came out followed by the rest of the band. Here is what they played.
I Set: I Donít Know You, Whatcha Gonna Do, Ghost Train Blues, Garden Of Eden,
The Last Time, Garden Of Eden, Lochinvar, Where I Come From, You Angel You ^, Truck Driviní Man ^, Lonesome LA Cowboy #, Peggy-O, Henry
II Set: Sutterís Mill, Rockiní With Nona, Contract, Olivia Rose, Diamond Joe ^,
Higher $, Down The Middle, Rainbow, Any Naked Eye, Dead Flowers
* Louisiana Lady, Panama Red, Gone Home #
(^ with Jason Crosby on violin. # with Joanne Lediger on vocals, $ with Jason Crosby and Joanne Lediger. Gone Home was dedicated to Martin Fierro.)
Another great NRPS show and lots of fun. It seemed that some folks left by the third or fourth song and there was a little more room. The second set was even less crowded, more room for dancing!
The NRPS are getting tighter. The first two shows of this tour were right on the money. The week at Turkey Trot playing surely helped, but really they are just getting better as more shows are played. They are over 200 now, with more on the way! The groove of the band is growing as they go.
I thought the sound was good tonight. The vocals were clear and there was good separation of instruments. Good sound, good music, beer, folks Ė what else does one need?
They played a new song tonight Ė Ghost Train Blues. Where I Come From, Rockiní With Nona, and Down The Middle were played the night before for the first time, so a nice batch of new songs. I was told that they have eleven new songs that they worked up.
So far so good I say. Robert Hunter lyrics with NRPS music Ė thanks, Iíll have a double helping please. The new songs always take a while to fully grow their legs, but these four have started out on a good clip. They got a standing ovation from the sit down crowd the night before in CT for one of the new songs. They are being a bit modest when they announce the song as ask for forgivness, not fully knowing the outcome. Well I say the outcome is postive. Real cool that they have some new/original material to add to the NRPS cannon.
You Angel You and Truck Driviní Man featured guest Jason Crosby on violin. He was kicking ass and taking names, ripping off some amazing runs. I hadnít heard of him before and I will now have to check him out. He later came back out for two songs in the second set. Buddy seemed to be getting off on his playing, really the whole band was. Joanne Lediger sang on some songs and she blends real nice with Nelson. I really enjoyed the Lonesome LA Cowboy. She also tore it up on Higher with Johnny.
Any Naked Eye and Garden Of Eden took care of the jamming for the night. I though the Any Naked Eye was fantastic. When they get to the part of the jam, and they are all locked in tight with Nelson facing the drummer, they are really creating some goodness. Folks were dancing up a storm and having a ball.
Three song encore was icing on the cake. The Gone Home was a nice send off. David dedicated to the recently passed Martin.
So once again, another fun night of New Riders music. Looking forward to the Mexicali Blues shows in June.
If they are planning a new release, I would like to see Any Naked Eye on it, as that song deserves to be recorded. Olivia Rose and Higher are the two others that should be there. Those three and the eleven new songs should make a nice package to represent this version of the NRPS.
Long live the Riders!
Nothing like enjoying a good show where you had to drag yourself to go; sometimes those are the best ones.
Thanks for a great review.
Fantastic review, John! Kind of like a travelogue, taking us along as if we were actually with you -- thanks for the ride Johnnyrider!!
Glad to hear the new songs have good potential -- no surprise there with Hunter's collaboration. I'm looking forward to hearing the new songs as live-show recordings are posted on the Web in the coming months. It's gonna be a while until the boys visit my neck of the woods -- in NorCal at the Trinity Tribal Stomp on July 26.
Thanks For The Review Johnny! Sounds like they're
firing on all cylinders! Looking forward to a couple
NRPS shows in July.
Great review John!
Enjoyed reading that - thanks.
Did you stick around later for the Ragbirds?
I didn't, though I spoke with someone in the band earlier in the evening and it sounded like it would be good music. I had to catch the train to get home so I could fall asleep by 4:00. I have already used up a lot of my all-nighters.