we rolled out of glen's at 3:30 and headed into Pa. pulled into the parking lot behind the stage, parked and immediately ran into j-ro, mike and crock by the buses. bumped into grubb who had his headphones on and was taking it all in walking around town.
After some smiles and hugs we headed over to the keswick tavern. turning the corner from the driveway i saw the marquee for the first time. OLD SCHOOL green and red neon which brought a smile to my face.
That venue rocks and is nestled on what for all intents and purposes is MAIN ST, USA, a nice little piece of americana that just felt right. i was waiting for george bailey to come running down the street screaming "HELLOOOOO FOOD EMPORIUM!!!!". just that kinda vibe.
It just seemed like the entire universe CLICKED.
The sun was shining, it was warm as hell and ya just knew deep in ya heart that you were right where ya had to be.
We had a blast walking down the main street there as we bumped into everyone who were just arriving and stretching their legs and getting a lay of the land. Hobos, new riders folks, some old school jersey and pa folks and a TON of cowboys and indians that were apparently some part of a pub crawl that was going through town.
We hit the Tavern and grabbed something to eat while we waited for CBR. I had what just might have been the absolute worst burger there. We laughed because the locals behind us were raving about how its the best burger in town and what I got was a greasy mess in a plastic basket with fries. Not exactly what my body needed on day 2.
The bar was PACKED and their were a TON of pub crawl folks so we opted to hang outside on the corner in the sunshine and listen to CBR tear it up in the fresh air.
After a lil bit Johnny Rider rolled up and it OFFICIALLY became a rider's show. Few things in the world have been as consistent as running into that cat when the riders are in town. We bullshitted in the sunshine and shared some laughs and tales from the road. Johnny is a constant source of inspiration and getting to hang out and chit chat with him at the end of his infamous run was something special for sure. Its just not really a riders show until ya see Johnny and I hope that continues wherever you may roam, brother!
We wound down the afternoon just like that. Bullshitting on a corner in the sunshine while friends just kept stopping by. Kind words and smiles abound and every single person was ready to get down and dirty in the Keswick.
I pounded a coffee outside the venue while basking in the neon glow of the marquee. People were piling in and the energy began to take hold. I walked in on grinding out about 3rd gear on the absolutely most PERFECT hippie speedball known to man. Some sweet smoke and a piping hot coffee had me ready to go and now I was ready for the music.
We grabbed beers and the lager tasted like someone pissed down a rusty pipe but I managed to choke it down. The taste got better with each beer, thank god. Hung out in the back while Keel tore it up once again. Lots of hellos and lots of smiles all around ... ya knew someone everywhere you went in that place. There was no mistaking that the freak show had indeed arrived in all its multicolored glory.
I was happy when Glenn ran up to me and informed me that there were keys on the stage. I heard Mookie was with them since Baltimore and had been hoping all day that the trend would indeed continue. Riders w/ mookie confirmed at the Keswick. Kinda like the icing on the preverbial cake. Mookie in the house. Time to get down to some Keel.
Larry Keel tore it up once again. It was odd going from standing 5 feet in front of him at Mexicali and then seeing him on a big stage at the Keswick. No difference in his approach tho, that is for sure. He just gets up there and grabs the guitar and blows the doors off the joint. CONSISTENTLY. I could watch Larry flatpick all day long and never lose my smile.
GREASY GOPHER ON MY CHIN!!!!
Thats all I have to say about Larry Keel. One of the best that are out there. Catch him if you can because he is an absolute treasure.
After set break shenanigans and the smoking pit outside reaching ridiculous levels we heading in for the riders. We had good seats right on the center aisle. Row D with room to dance so I was pumped.
From the opening notes I could tell there were gonna be some issues. The musical assault was exactly perfect and how it should be but my spidey senses were tingling. DANGER!!! WILL ROBINSON!!! DANGER!! Hardly an anyone was up out of their seat. It was as if 95% of the Keswick were ABB fans.
I only lasted a song or two in the seats. My lady didnt even last that long. In a hop, skip and a jump I was along the wall and in the aisle where there was some room. No way I could sit down at the riders so I enjoyed the side of the stage where I was pleasantly suprised that the sound was not muddled.
Cool thing about the Keswick is that its a redone old school theater. No balcony. So if ya saddle up the far aisles ya can find ya self a nice lil nook to jam out in. Think beacon sarcophagus on a much smaller scale.
Happy with my new spot and enjoying the much better vibe I could really take in what the riders were laying down. As an added bonus the security guard patrolling the area was a 7 foot russian. Dude looked like Swede from Vision Quest and I am absolutely positive that he carries huge logs up and down the bleachers in his spare time. He was cool though and ya could see him coming a mile away. Didn't take a brain surgeon to figure out everything would be fine with a little bit of discretion.
Once again the riders laid it down like only they can. Their time was limited and they UNLOADED. Blistering set from end to end that bathed the keswick in psychedelic sweetness. A Henry to boot. And Timmy came out for the Peggy-O and truck driving man. Watching Timmy peeking over Mookies shoulder as he ripped on the keys was awesome. Ya could just see how psyched Timmy was to be on stage with those guys in his hometown state. It was pretty awesome.
Headed back to the smoking pen at the break and it reached RIDICULOUS levels. They had about room for 30 folks with a line of like 100 at the doors. Complete bullshit and my only complaint of the evening. We managed to get out there and whooped it up pretty good.
Ran into fark out there who didnt know who i was initially. That was pretty funny. Dude's got a decapitated Jerry and thats all I got to say about that. :-)
After a pretty epic few minutes in the old smoking pen we were back inside, reloaded on beer and feeling quite fine. Railroad hit the stage and from the get go they were firing on all cylinders. Here's the list:
March 7, 2009
Support: Larry Keel
Co-Bill with the New Riders of the Purple Sage
Railroad Earth played last:
The Forecast -->
Butterfly and the Tree
Right in Tune
All Alone (B)
Standing on the Corner (C)
Bringin' My Baby Back Home (C)
Encore: Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad (D)
(A) with Mookie Siegel on accordion
(B) with Larry Keel on acoustic guitar
(C) with Larrry Keel on acoustic guitar and
Buddy Cage on pedal steel guitar
(D) with Mookie Siegel on accordion,
Larry Keel on acoustic guitar, Buddy Cage on
pedal steel guitar, Colin Rocker on acoustic
guitar and David Nelson on electric guitar and vocals
Mookie on the Elko to open it and I could NOT have been any happier. Pure sweetness and it sure had me smiling. We heard rumblings of a late night all star jam at the end but I figured it was the last show for the riders and they have had a long haul. With mookie sittin in on Elko, perhaps some riders decided to stick around and I was giddy with possibilities. All in all a barn burner from the railroad guys with periodic sit ins throughout the set that were SPOT ON and what music is all about. Mookie with the band. Larry with the Band. Larry, Mookie and Buddy with the band. And then ALL of em plus Nelson and Colin Rocker to boot. That GDTRFB was the perfect capper and a TON of fun. Had everyone hooting and hollering and going right along with it. FUN doesnt even begin to describe it. Just an absolutely perfect way to end the show.
The energy and fun carried us right out of the venue and crackled out on the sidewalk as people spilled out into the warm evening. Everyone was smiling and enjoying the moment and basking in that after show after glow.
2 days of music were officially in the books. Started with pregame beers at Andys and then Keel and the Dusters. A perfect bluegrass evening that was executed beyond perfection and better than anything I dare could of hoped for.
Followed by a hangover and a long ride to PA to get back on the horse and do it all over again with Keel, Riders and RRE which once again was beyond anything I could have dreamed.
We walked back to the car and could already here the HISS of the tanks that are at EVERY Pa show. We walked right by two cops as we got in the car and drove away.
We were smiling and nodding our heads in agreement of what an absolutely perfect weekend it was as we wound our way east back to the beach.
When we got back the fog rolled in and we were treated to our first lungfuls of SUMMER. Sometimes the fog rolls in so thick along the beach that you can taste the ocean. The smell encompasses everything and it is just a unique smell as recognizable as moms cooking or grandpa's pipe. We breathed it in deeply before we went into the house and settled into some much deserved sleep.
Thanks to all involved, musically or otherwise. THAT was one weekend for the books.
BRING ON SUMMER!!!!
sounds good lites, but it was too many words for me to read...
OUTSTANDING review, Lites!
Living vicariously thru your descriptions & commentary... next best thing to being there!
Thx for posting... any pics to share?
I really enjoyed the show as did the Mrs. and kids.
Interesting to hear your take on Glenside, PA
I am hoping the new relationship between the theater and Ticketmaster doesn't spell doom for such a great venue.
wish I had some time to put up a review of the Riders week, there was so much good stuff.
maybe in a few days.
what a review should be.... talking about the scene, the location, the fans AND the music. A good read.
good job Lites.....sorry i missed this one...
sounds like a heckuva a goooooood time!
wish I could have made the roadtrip for it!