Live
2013-10-05
House Of Blues
Atlantic City, NJ

I’m finally getting around to gathering my thoughts, pictures, memorabilia and recordings. I got sick on the flight home and spent Sunday night in the ER, I’m all better now, but work and life has been crazy busy since we got home from AC.

Thanks to OutToDry for arranging the hotel block. After reading online reviews I had pretty low expectations for the hotel room, but ours was nice. Large, clean and comfy, but the wifi was a joke.

We’d never been to Atlantic City, so we made sure we got there on Friday with plenty of time to explore on Friday night and Saturday during the day. But, I have to say I’ll be perfectly happy if I never go back to AC. We wandered the boardwalk Friday night and Saturday and never really found anything that peaked our interest. We hit a few casinos here and there to play some roulette, or more precisely so I could watch my wife play roulette.

Saturday afternoon rolled around and we headed back to the hotel/casino/venue. We ran into Pat and Gracey as they were headed to sound check, we said hi and wished them a good show. They seemed to be in good spirits. We saw a lot of AC/TC shirts and Jimmy in the House of Blues bar so we stopped by to catch up with Jimmy for a few moments. He mentioned that if you eat in the bar you can get a pass to “skip the line” into the venue. So that made our decision for dinner an easy one. We headed up to our room to relax for a bit before dinner and the show. We came back down a bit later, grabbed dinner and chatted with Jimmy and Renata for a bit.

We got into the venue and were able to get our preferred spot, dead center right in front of the soundboard. We had a good view of the entire stage and the recording should have the best sound in the room there. A couple of friends that grew up in PA and are old Live fans (saw them before Mental Jewelry’s release) were able to come down to the show and we caught up before the opener, The Shackletons took the stage. I won’t spend too much time on The Shackletons but I’ve never seen a crowd dislike an opener so much. The band was good, but the lead singer wasn’t my thing. I got the feeling he was ad-libbing the words, he really didn’t sing, it was more like a poetry slam with a backing band and props (american flags, a telephone, a suitcase, fake flowers, etc.) The set change allowed the crowd to cleanse The Shackletons from their system and get ready for the main course.

The lights finally dimmed and the first strains of The Dam At Otter Creek brought the crowd into a frenzy. Chris definitely has front man chops and persona. He was really in a difficult position, learn lyrics that he didn’t write and perform an album that is most cherished by the die hard fans, which there were a lot of in the audience, and perform an album that is one of the most recognizable in the 90’s Alternative Rock era. On the whole Chris did a great job, he missed some lyrics here and there, which is completely understandable, every lead singer trips over lyrics. However, he completely dropped the ball on t.b.d., granted this is probably the wordiest song in the Live catalog and has a completely different tempo. He was visibly distraught that he lost his place in the lyrics, but, it was still really disappointing to me. However, he came right back with the next song, Stage, and completely nailed it. Next up was Waitress, which brought one of the evenings head scratchers, Chris wasn’t doing the whistling parts? I assumed they were playing back an earlier recording of him, but later in the show Taylor introduced the “Copper Choir”, who he, jokingly I assume, said were doing the backing vocals all night. Maybe one of them did the whistling.

They finished out the Throwing Copper set with White, Discussion. There was a lot of talk before the show if they would play the hidden final track, Horse, but it appeared they weren’t going to, even though they had performed it during rehearsals. After a quick encore break they came back on stage. Everyone was wondering if they would treat the crowd to a few new tracks, but instead the iconic maracas of Pain Lies On The Riverside rang out, the light show shifted into high gear and the crowd exploded with gratitude for revisiting one of the highlights of the debut album Mental Jewelry. They moved into The Dolphin’s Cry and Lakini’s Juice. I began to think maybe they’d end the show with the singles from the rest of their catalog, but as soon as the encore got cranked up with Lakini’s Juice, it started the ramp down to the end of the night with some heartfelt thank yous from Taylor to the crowd, the fans and the special guests in attendance. For the finale of the show they brought out Chris Thorn on slide guitar and Dana Alexandra on accompanying vocals for the Throwing Copper hidden track (and real final track) Horse. Dana’s vocals were a great addition.

I had seen a poster just outside the entrance to the venue on our way in that I thought would be a nice addition to my collection. And low and behold it was still there by the time I left the venue. So I took that poster up to the room and started thinking about how I was going to get a 30″x40″ poster home. Then I hurried back down to the venue with a print I had brought with us, Lucia’s photo of Chad stomping at last years Strand show. I poked around the Foundation Room to see if I could track down Taylor to sign it for me, he hadn’t arrived yet, so I headed back out to the venue and ran into him in the hallway, where he was nice enough to sign it for me. And now it has a prominent place in our collection. (If your wondering how we got the poster home. We found a FedEx office on the way to the Philly airport and shipped it home. I just need to find a home for it now!)

Iris, Stage, and Pain Lies on the Riverside were the highlights of the evening for me. Taylor looked like he was having a great time. And I’ve never heard Pat play his bass like he did that night, he was in the zone and looked to be having a great time. I overheard Taylor talking with someone, who I can only assume is one of the band member’s mother, and she was saying the same thing she hadn’t seen Pat this happy in a very long time. I wavered between ridiculously high expectations for the show (Chris will nail it all, they will play a second set with all new material, etc.) to more reasonable expectations (the band hasn’t played most of these songs in nearly 20 years) and the show landed somewhere near the higher end of my expectations. It was a great show, the energy from the band and the crowd was amazing, Chris is a good front man, he brings his own style and energy to the band and he seems to fit with where the band is wanting to go next in their career. But, he was put in an untenable situation, sing one of most beloved albums in front of a die hard crowd who knows EVERY word and nuance. I’m excited to see what is up next for them, I think the next tour supporting an album that Chris was an integral part of will help the band coalesce even more and show the fans what this new formulation of the band has to offer.

What’s next for the band… I overheard the lady that was running merch, that the guys are heading back into their new studio for two weeks of final recording of the new material, then it is off to mastering and hopefully the album will be out in spring 2014. From all accounts, this info seem to be corroborated by the recent interviews and pictures on the band’s Facebook page.

A few of our photos over here: https://plus.google.com/photos/116546640208855049251/albums/5933938662539637761

My audience recording of the show is available in two places. A torrent on Dime A Dozen here: http://www.dimeadozen.org/torrents-details.php?id=468666 You will need an account to access the site. The files are also available for direct download here: http://www.mediafire.com/folder/k0pelanql1ppq/live2013-10-05 You will need to merge the 3 ZIP files, I used 7-zip (http://www.7-zip.org/) to create the ZIP files. It looked like the band recorded the show too, but probably for their own achieve. There were two condenser mics and two shotgun mics on the front edge of the stage and two more condenser mics at the rear corners of the soundboard cage.