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Acoustic Catfish
02-22-2005, 12:21 AM
I'm just now home from the Indianapolis show. Hope this is a decent place to post some comments on the performance. And I don't have much historic context with which to frame the event: this is my first Louris/Olson/Jayhawks performance.

There were several hundreds of people at the venue, the Music Mill. I'm guessing around 600 but my estimates like that are notoriously "iffy." It was one of the nicest crowds I've ever seen. No seriously out-of-control indivuduals spewing unreasonable requests, no one (that I could see, anyway) passed out on the floor. Just a bunch of people eager to hear "those voices" sing together again. The show started a few minutes late, but I may be the only person who noticed.

The gig was a joy to witness, but it was like a vintage Jayhawks record -- flawed. First, it took the sound board operator about 6 to 8 songs into the performance to get the monitors right. The bass drum was unduly loud and Olson's bass guitar distorted at the bottom end. Louris developed a running gag about the sound -- "Can you hear us sing?" he asked the audience early on, and "Can I have a little less of me and more of Mark's beautiful voice in the mix?" he requested of the sound operator a couple of songs into the set. Later, after the sound operator apparently overcompensated, Louris asked for more of his voice, adding "That's the last time I'll ask." Of course, it wasn't; the sound op apparently didn't get a good initial set during the sound check and didn't adapt very quickly. Good help is hard to find.

But once the PA was not an issue for the band, they started to make some hay with the material. (Sorry -- I don't have a set list.) It was plain that Olson and Louris were having a great time together on stage. Multiple times the performance caused goose bumps, and they absolutely nailed several songs to the wall -- "Crowded In The Wings" and "Two Angels" were near flawless. Generally, it was the older stuff -- "Hollywood Town Hall" and "Tomorrow The Green Grass" stuff -- that hung together best. Louris has serious guitar chops and really lit up his Telecaster. And his voice was in fine form. The rest of the group didn't manage to light up their instruments like Louris, but no one harmed the performance with substandard musicianship. They're good players performing good songs. They just need a little practice....

Olson's politically charged material (songs about GW and Rumsfeld) caused some visible uneasiness in the central Indiana (read "red state Republican") audience, but they were performed with passion. Olson's voice was also in fine form but there were times he vapor locked on his harmony parts, so he did what anyone would do -- he backed off his mike and kept trying until he got them right. And it's understandable. I don't know how many rehearsals they had in preparation but it probably wasn't enough. What they need (and what they will get in the coming weeks) is repetitions on the material. There were times of visible confusion including a couple of false starts, wisely aborted. At one point, Louris and Olson appeared to be negotiating what song they'd try to play next and Olson said off mike, understandable only by lip read, "Yeah, I know that one"), but again that's understandable. Olson and Louris haven't played together in ten years, and the four band members (again, sorry but I don't have the drummer or the fiddle player's names) have never performed as a unit before last Friday. The drummer seemed detached during most of the show, but pitched in an unbelievably stunning vocal part on the Rumsfeld song. Once he builds familiarity with the material (and they turn down his bass drum), he'll be fine. Sponteneity is something sorely missing in contemporary musical performances, and I appreciate their attempt to perform "without a net." Louris smiled visibly after train wreks, shrugging them off and hooking back into the groove.

Notably absent from the newer Jayhawks material were vocal harmonies. "Save It For A Rainy Day" featured only modest back up vocals from the drummer, and "Angelyne" was basically a solo Louris vocal performance. Olson contributed the low harmony on "Tailspin" -- I filled in the middle harmony for the three people standing nearby. What they need is reps on the material.

Today was the fiddle player's birthday. Olson said "I'm rooming with the birthday boy tonight," to which someone behind me yelled "Maybe you'll get lucky." The band didn't hear it, but I thought it was funny...

I didn't stick around for autographs after the show. I was with five other people and I wasn't driving, and I didn't want to hold everybody up. Got busted by house security about an hour in for taking pix during the show. Got about six but haven't reviewed them yet. I guess I'm lucky to have kept my camera. But I observed others around me taking some snaps, so maybe they'll surface.

Look to the shows in weeks 3 and 4 to be the ones to catch. These guys have serious talent that just hasn't found the groove yet. If they give it time, it will gel.

AC

redHERRING
02-22-2005, 01:21 AM
Hey AC... sorry I missed you. Did you wear your red hat? Were you the one I stood next to in front of Gary all night, but was afraid to ask? Anyhow, Eric found me afterwards, we chatted, and he was quite a nice fellow. Just got in to Louisville. Gary signed my tribute CD and said he loved my track! Talk about giddy as a schoolgirl!

Anyhow, you were right on, they nailed Crowded in the Wings like nothing else. And played both of my requests, Baltimore Sun, and Take Me With You. Both were excellent. Gary was his usual king of cool with the kick-ass hairdo of all time. Watching Mark for the first time was great. He bounced around and smiled ( a lot at me, yippee!) almost all the time. And I wasn't sure how I'd respond to all the GW bashing, since I'm not really aligned exactly the same, but man, what they were doing was just so playful and fun I couldn't help but love it.

And everything Razz did was just so damn tasteful, he really filled in the upper register of those tunes in a great way. It's always neat to see new influences and additions to older tunes. And the kid on drums had some serious, serious chops... and a sweet voice to boot.

Yeah, and sorry to say, I hated that venue. It was a new joint, they were dicks about the pictures, and the sound tech was seemingly deaf. The first seven songs were laden with various hand gestures from Gary that were half-ass responded to, so they didn't really hit their stride for a bit... sorry guys! I wish they had just played at Birdie's, or somewhere similar. Oh well.

All in all an exceptional live experience. Those guys are born performers, to our humble benefit. Cheers All! I'll see you on the other side of cloud nine!

Calexico
02-22-2005, 03:25 AM
Nice review AC....and how kind of you to help out your neighbours in the crowd with some harmonies!!:D

NY Fan
02-22-2005, 07:31 AM
Originally posted by Acoustic Catfish
....really lit up his Telecaster....


TELECASTER?!! Wow...

NY Fan
02-22-2005, 07:32 AM
Originally posted by redHERRING
Gary signed my tribute CD and said he loved my track!



That is VERY cool! Congrats.

GrandArmy
02-22-2005, 01:27 PM
Long time reader, first time poster...

I read the article this morning about the imminent demise of the Jayhawks and then I knew what it was I felt in the air last night at the Indy show: it IS over.

All I knew before I went into the Music Mill last night was that it was originally built as a Discovery Zone...you know, an indoor playground for the kiddies. But as I stood there waiting for the show to start, something felt, well, wrong.

It wasn't just the building and it wasn't just the staff and it wasn't just the blaring and bashing of the pre-show music. All of that stuff was grating.

But the main problem was the idea of seeing these two guys, Olson and Louris, and their dusty snapshot songs in that context. How would their music fly in that place? How could it?

I first saw the Jayhawks when they toured for Tomorrow the Green Grass. They played at the Cincinnati Zoo with Wilco opening. That night was humid and sticky, but the band strolled out onstage and blazed through one of the tightest sets I have ever heard. They were never sluggish and they never tired. The gang was all present and accounted for: Gary, Mark, Tim, Marc, Karen. And Victoria Williams was along, strumming that black Strat that Olson plays now.

I'll never, as long as I live, forget how that show began. The band came out, strapped on their instruments and broke into "Tomorrow the Green Grass". And as they jaunted through that song, I looked around and realized that everything was okay.

The crowd danced and they sang to each other. The band played and smiled and glanced at each other. And everything was okay.

I've felt that way at nearly every Jayhawks show that I have been to since. No matter what is going on, no matter what line-up the band had, no matter what little tiny catastrophes were exploding onstage or in the crowd, once that band starting playing, everything else melted away and it was all alright...until about a year and a half ago.

I have seen nearly every post-Hollywood Town Hall incarnation of the Jayhawks: with Olson, without him, with Kraig and Jesse, without them, with Karen, without her. But the music always shined through and overpowered its environment, even if they were playing in a zoo!

Then came the acoustic tour. They stopped in Indy at this club called the Vogue. The show was good. The music was focused and sound. They did a cover of Big White Cloud that could thaw the iciest of hearts. But something was gone.

It wasn't Gary or Marc or Tim. It wasn't the absence of electric guitars. It wasn't a lack of Olson. It wasn't the material. There was just this intangible aura that was missing; whatever it was that made all of the other nights so special.

When the guys came back with Stephen McCarthy later on, they played the Vogue again. This time, though, it was the first night out on the "electric" tour. Even with the first night mishaps (techinical and musical), the show was good. The guys plowed on and made the show wonderful. But you could see these little first night glitches getting to them, especially Gary.

And it's understandable. How many times can you go out and start over again? How many first nights can a person endure? How many times can you re-introduce yourself and your music to a crowd who may have only come to hear one song? Or the opening band? That night at the Vogue, it seemed as though the majority of the crowd had come to see the Thorns (one of the openers).

Then came last night. Looking back now, though, I can see what it was that made me feel like it all was over. The environment had finally overpowered the music. The music was uncomfortable in the context of a plastic, blaring, icy place.

And "Together Again" was not enough to bring back the spirit of the Jayhawks, the band's core. This was more of a "Creekdippers with special guest Gary Louris" kind of thing. Ray Woods and Mike "Razz" Russell have played in the Creekdippers for a while; Ray for both Political Manifest and Mystic Theatre, and Razz for nearly every record.

Once again, Gary found himself in a situation of starting over, even with Olson by his side.

This is not to downplay the greatness of last night's performance. Those two guys and those two voices singing those songs...my god. What's not to love?

But it's different now, you know? The scene has changed quite a bit since they were hauling it up and down the road behind Tomorrow the Green Grass. Their form of music now has a name that boxes in another tiny section of the music store shelves. And that tiny section is filled with guys who have more personality than talent. And what can a person do about that? Nothing except let it run its course.

Twenty years from now, there will be some musicians who will look back at Gary Louris and Mark Olson and Marc Perlman and Tim O'Reagan and Karen Grotberg and everyone else who has been associated with this band and say, "Man, those guys knew how to do it right! I want to do it that way again." And the cycle will start all over again.

And while it hurts to see this band go, it makes me proud to know that we were here when it all went down. We know now what it'll take many others years or maybe even decades to realize. We all know that whenever this band's music starts to play, everything is going to be okay.

Gary, Mark, Ray, Razz, I hope you guys have fun on your tour and one way or another, I'll see you in Chicago.

"Now all the old widows carry love poems by their sides..."

Haggischomper
02-22-2005, 01:30 PM
Welcome aboard! If yer gonna make a post, why not start with a HUUUGE one! lol. Enjoy yer stay.

GrandArmy
02-22-2005, 01:53 PM
Thanks for the welcome!

I thought about the length of that post after I hit the old SUBMIT REPLY, but figured it might be okay under these emotionally- charged circumstances.

Haggischomper
02-22-2005, 01:56 PM
I figured you were maybe trying to catch up with ol' Calexico - but with just the one post! ;)

See you at the Chicago gig.

Smokestack Joe
02-22-2005, 02:33 PM
grand army: i think you are right. those words were true, i've been bumming all day about this news, it really has made me be a big shit today but the Jayhawks have been a big part of my life and it hurts but i think your take on all of this is probably close to the truth, as hurtful as it may be.

takemewithyou
02-22-2005, 02:56 PM
Anybody have a setlist for this show?

Tory
02-22-2005, 05:15 PM
I'm pretty sure no one has a setlist. I only saw one--it was positioned between Mark and Gary. I was primed and ready to take it, but Gary moved it during the encore, and then Mark picked it up, folded it, and put it in his pocket at the end of the show. I didn't write anything down because I thought I'd be able to snag it after the show.

PretentiousWilco
02-22-2005, 05:40 PM
Gramy - are you sure it just wasnt the fact the show was in Indy to begin with?

;)

Sean
02-22-2005, 07:49 PM
Nice post GrandArmy!

I don't really have much to add that hasn't already been said, but I will say the song "Ruins of East Berlin" is a beautiful song! I think that's the correct title. I read it's from the Mystery demos...anyone got a date when those demos occured?

It was a really nice show, and regardless of which direction Olson and Louris go, I'm just glad that I got the chance to see those two sing together!

sacred roots
02-22-2005, 08:05 PM
Beautiful post, Grand Army. I literally got chills a few times while reading it.

Please post more and welcome aboard.

girl incognito
02-22-2005, 09:26 PM
Originally posted by Acoustic Catfish
I'm just now home from the Indianapolis show. Hope this is a decent place to post some comments on the performance. And I don't have much historic context with which to frame the event: this is my first Louris/Olson/Jayhawks performance.

There were several hundreds of people at the venue, the Music Mill. I'm guessing around 600 but my estimates like that are notoriously "iffy." It was one of the nicest crowds I've ever seen. No seriously out-of-control indivuduals spewing unreasonable requests, no one (that I could see, anyway) passed out on the floor. Just a bunch of people eager to hear "those voices" sing together again. The show started a few minutes late, but I may be the only person who noticed.

The gig was a joy to witness, but it was like a vintage Jayhawks record -- flawed. First, it took the sound board operator about 6 to 8 songs into the performance to get the monitors right. The bass drum was unduly loud and Olson's bass guitar distorted at the bottom end. Louris developed a running gag about the sound -- "Can you hear us sing?" he asked the audience early on, and "Can I have a little less of me and more of Mark's beautiful voice in the mix?" he requested of the sound operator a couple of songs into the set. Later, after the sound operator apparently overcompensated, Louris asked for more of his voice, adding "That's the last time I'll ask." Of course, it wasn't; the sound op apparently didn't get a good initial set during the sound check and didn't adapt very quickly. Good help is hard to find.

But once the PA was not an issue for the band, they started to make some hay with the material. (Sorry -- I don't have a set list.) It was plain that Olson and Louris were having a great time together on stage. Multiple times the performance caused goose bumps, and they absolutely nailed several songs to the wall -- "Crowded In The Wings" and "Two Angels" were near flawless. Generally, it was the older stuff -- "Hollywood Town Hall" and "Tomorrow The Green Grass" stuff -- that hung together best. Louris has serious guitar chops and really lit up his Telecaster. And his voice was in fine form. The rest of the group didn't manage to light up their instruments like Louris, but no one harmed the performance with substandard musicianship. They're good players performing good songs. They just need a little practice....

Olson's politically charged material (songs about GW and Rumsfeld) caused some visible uneasiness in the central Indiana (read "red state Republican") audience, but they were performed with passion. Olson's voice was also in fine form but there were times he vapor locked on his harmony parts, so he did what anyone would do -- he backed off his mike and kept trying until he got them right. And it's understandable. I don't know how many rehearsals they had in preparation but it probably wasn't enough. What they need (and what they will get in the coming weeks) is repetitions on the material. There were times of visible confusion including a couple of false starts, wisely aborted. At one point, Louris and Olson appeared to be negotiating what song they'd try to play next and Olson said off mike, understandable only by lip read, "Yeah, I know that one"), but again that's understandable. Olson and Louris haven't played together in ten years, and the four band members (again, sorry but I don't have the drummer or the fiddle player's names) have never performed as a unit before last Friday. The drummer seemed detached during most of the show, but pitched in an unbelievably stunning vocal part on the Rumsfeld song. Once he builds familiarity with the material (and they turn down his bass drum), he'll be fine. Sponteneity is something sorely missing in contemporary musical performances, and I appreciate their attempt to perform "without a net." Louris smiled visibly after train wreks, shrugging them off and hooking back into the groove.

Notably absent from the newer Jayhawks material were vocal harmonies. "Save It For A Rainy Day" featured only modest back up vocals from the drummer, and "Angelyne" was basically a solo Louris vocal performance. Olson contributed the low harmony on "Tailspin" -- I filled in the middle harmony for the three people standing nearby. What they need is reps on the material.

Today was the fiddle player's birthday. Olson said "I'm rooming with the birthday boy tonight," to which someone behind me yelled "Maybe you'll get lucky." The band didn't hear it, but I thought it was funny...

I didn't stick around for autographs after the show. I was with five other people and I wasn't driving, and I didn't want to hold everybody up. Got busted by house security about an hour in for taking pix during the show. Got about six but haven't reviewed them yet. I guess I'm lucky to have kept my camera. But I observed others around me taking some snaps, so maybe they'll surface.

Look to the shows in weeks 3 and 4 to be the ones to catch. These guys have serious talent that just hasn't found the groove yet. If they give it time, it will gel.

AC

Hey Catfish,

I'm glad you had a blast!! :D

~Kristy

girl incognito
02-22-2005, 09:30 PM
Originally posted by 2Blue4U


Ohhhh, I love this picture of Gary from the Ames concert 2blue! Thanks for posting it. :D

~Kristy (smitten) :cool:

girl incognito
02-22-2005, 09:35 PM
Originally posted by GrandArmy
Long time reader, first time poster...

I read the article this morning about the imminent demise of the Jayhawks and then I knew what it was I felt in the air last night at the Indy show: it IS over.

Snippy-do-da!

Welcome GrandArmy to the board! :D

~Kristy

greekguy
02-22-2005, 11:46 PM
Kristy.

You are a great addition to the board, but you need to learn not to quote the whole message you are responding to. Just quote the part you are responding to, or don't quote it at all. Hit the reply button. You also need to tone down that pic on your avatar.

It is part of being a respectful member of the community. It takes a long time to load a page with 3 or four of those images of yours on it. Not everyone has high speed internet.

Again, we love having you here, but it is tough to read posts that you have contributed to at times!

Thanks,

gg

Lenno
02-22-2005, 11:48 PM
Originally posted by greekguy
Not everyone has high speed internet.


LOL ! :p

greekguy
02-22-2005, 11:51 PM
Originally posted by Lenno


LOL ! :p

I was being serious!

PretentiousWilco
02-23-2005, 01:53 AM
Originally posted by greekguy
Kristy.

You are a great addition to the board, but you need to learn not to quote the whole message you are responding to. Just quote the part you are responding to, or don't quote it at all. Hit the reply button. You also need to tone down that pic on your avatar.

It is part of being a respectful member of the community. It takes a long time to load a page with 3 or four of those images of yours on it. Not everyone has high speed internet.

Again, we love having you here, but it is tough to read posts that you have contributed to at times!

Thanks,

gg



Easy there GG.

Calexico
02-23-2005, 03:58 AM
GrandArmy...welcome to the old homestead and enjoy your stay here.That was a fantastic first post.I don't think I have said anything as heartfelt and focused as that in any of the million inane posts I have made.So very well done,I read it twice.


Greekguy when you posted about not having high speed internet I was kind of nodding assent and then the next post slid into view and I nearly keeled over laughing!!Lenno..that was cruel but so so funny!!

Sorry GG!!:rolleyes:

GIBSONSG
02-23-2005, 07:56 AM
Telecaster??

Will I have to change my name?

Calexico
02-23-2005, 07:58 AM
Well at least your member is still large.

GIBSONSG
02-23-2005, 08:35 AM
Yes I always have that to comfort me:)

fallen0047
02-23-2005, 10:14 AM
That was a great review. I was there and missed the first half of the first song (we were next door eating, or at least trying to eat - our order was screwed pretty bad). The mix was terrible, especially during the first set. I don't think I could be as generous about the sound guys getting it fixed after 7 or 8 songs. It was better, but still pretty bad. I sort of wrote it off to the newness of the venue and still trying to get the bugs out of what was obviously a huge investment in equipment. But feedback is feedback, and I am not sure they were even hearing it at the sound board. I was in the back at the beginning in front of the sound board, so I can't offer too many excuses for them.

Mark was not as familiar with some of the newer material, so he had some whiffs on the bass. He nailed all the old stuff like they just wrote it yesterday.

Another guitar player probably would have taken some of the pressure off of Gary. His chops are fantastic, but he frequently had to cut them short to go back to rhythm.

OK, your saying, doesn't this guy have anything good to say?

Despite all of the above, it was 2 hours(? lost track of time) of heaven. Mark's voice is still very strong, and it gives Gary a break from having to sing every song.
It was pretty obvious that Gary's become quite the road warrior. He was virtually flawless.

I was late comming to appreciate The jayhawks. I had heard some of their songs on my local NPR affiliate, but didn't really know who they were. I bought Rainyday music, loved it, got HTH, declared it one of the best rock albums of all time, and then bought all the rest.

When I realized the Mark was no longer with the band, I thought I would never get to Mark and Gary sing together. It would be sort of like never hearing of the Beatles until after they broke up.

But now, their BACK!! and I will be in Lexington to see them again.

Boy, do I wish they would play Bonnaroo!!

girl incognito
02-23-2005, 10:49 AM
Originally posted by greekguy
Kristy.

You are a great addition to the board, but you need to learn not to quote the whole message you are responding to. Just quote the part you are responding to, or don't quote it at all. Hit the reply button. You also need to tone down that pic on your avatar.

It is part of being a respectful member of the community. It takes a long time to load a page with 3 or four of those images of yours on it. Not everyone has high speed internet.

Again, we love having you here, but it is tough to read posts that you have contributed to at times!

Thanks,

gg

Hey Greekguy thanks!! Can you tell me how to resize the photo?? I'm not very computer savvy so to speak. And I'll keep the post smaller! ;)

LiladyK
02-24-2005, 10:05 AM
so then.....still no one has a setlist, no one wrote the songs down even?

I'll go ask at the Bunkhouse, maybe it'll show up over there

must keep our archives hopping and hot.....;)

Acoustic Catfish
02-25-2005, 10:08 AM
Originally posted by LiladyK
so then.....still no one has a setlist, no one wrote the songs down even?


Hey, LiladyK,

No, I didn't keep notes. I thought about trying to sneak a recorder in but couldn't manage a suitable microphone.

AC

Acoustic Catfish
02-25-2005, 10:15 AM
Originally posted by redHERRING
Hey AC... sorry I missed you. Did you wear your red hat? Were you the one I stood next to in front of Gary all night, but was afraid to ask? Anyhow, Eric found me afterwards, we chatted, and he was quite a nice fellow. Just got in to Louisville. Gary signed my tribute CD and said he loved my track! Talk about giddy as a schoolgirl!


Hi, redHERRING,

No, I ended up wearing no hat at all. Hat hair is hell! I was not the person you were standing next to -- I was about six piles of bodies back (hard to call them "rows"), a decent perspective but wished I could have gotten closer but I was with a wad of people and didn't want to get separated from 'em, especially since I wasn't driving!

I envy your having gotten autographs! I brought CD art from the Louris/Olson era discs but my driver wanted to get the lot of us home. Ah, well! Might try to catch another show but my life is pretty busy in the coming weeks. Perhaps on spring break....

I'm picking up on other threads some dark commentary about the future (or lack thereof) for the Jayhawks. I don't worry about that sort of stuff and just try to live in the moment. Last Monday night was a wonderful moment in spite of the obstacles to perfection. It was a good show!

AC

Haggischomper
02-25-2005, 11:29 AM
Originally posted by Acoustic Catfish


Hey, LiladyK,

No, I didn't keep notes. I thought about trying to sneak a recorder in but couldn't manage a suitable microphone.

AC

The other girls on the board swear by disguising a mike as a rivet in the crotch of your jeans. Honest.

greekguy
02-25-2005, 04:07 PM
Am I the only one who is confused with the whole rivet thing?

NY Fan
02-25-2005, 08:19 PM
Originally posted by greekguy
Am I the only one who is confused with the whole rivet thing?


No.



-- Glenn, blissfully unaware

Calexico
02-26-2005, 11:07 AM
Originally posted by greekguy
Am I the only one who is confused with the whole rivet thing?

No...there is people who build ENTIRE houses out of wood who have no idea what a rivet is.

greekguy
02-26-2005, 11:54 AM
Originally posted by NY Fan


-- Glenn, blissfully unaware

I think I get that.

~Dave, the guy who still really appreciates all the work you did on the Tribute CD.

Calexico
02-26-2005, 12:44 PM
Originally posted by greekguy


~Dave, the guy who still really appreciates all the work you did on the Tribute CD.


Dave,the only guy who will say anything to anyone to ingratiate himself.:D