Saturday May 16, 2009

 

 

 

40 Watt

(Joe Orr's last home show!)

Athens, GA

 

Review by Chris McKay

 

 

Oh, how I love the 40 Watt! Somehow that magical place makes everything okay. It still freaks me out a little to play on the same stage as so many legends, but it’s a good freak-out, you know?

This was one of those last minute shows that we got asked to do. It was supposed to be our one weekend off but hey, I couldn’t resist the offer and I’m glad the other guys were on board to do it. I actually think this was my favorite 40 Watt performance that we’ve ever done. I don’t know why. It just felt more relaxed and secure. Everyone in the band played well and held down the fort nicely. It felt like the stage was our home. It really is a shame that it’s probably Joe’s last show with us in Athens. He played great. In fact, we were gelling as a foursome.
I had planned on not doing “The Only Way” tonight in favor or trying out some rarities, but of course, we had a request so it got put right back. It was good, though. We didn’t have the one-two punch with “Sometimes I’m Sam” as we opted for “Into My View / Unseen” instead. I think it was a good call. We’re a bit burned on “Sam” and the big “Something Unseen” finale was strong, if I do say so myself. The response was nice; I know that!

The crowd tonight was a little more sedate than the last few times we’ve played at the Watt. In general, it seemed like an older crowd. I guess since the university is out and the town is virtually a ghost town, that makes sense. As a consequence of the crowd not being right up on the stage goading us on, our energy was a little more under control. The good side to that is that we played better.

“Sadder Day” sounded great coming back through those monitors. Once again, I was listening to Joe take that solo and lamenting the fact that he will be gone soon. “Towel Cape Song” was next and honestly, that performance of it had to be one of the best versions that we’ve ever done. I dropped my pick before the slow breakdown part at the end but managed to get through it with my fingers. Before we slammed into the big-rock ending, I grabbed ye ole plectrum off the floor in a millisecond and somehow came down just right.

I heard from more than one person that “Tonight Never Happened” was the highlight of the show. It was good. It was moody but strong. I remember that Frank got lost for a second in the middle section but he recovered on the next turnaround. I think the reason this was so appreciated at this gig is because it was more of a “playing and listening night” as opposed to the “onslaught and attack nights”, which we also love to do.

I announced Joe’s departure just prior to “Rage On” and not surprisingly, there was a whole bunch of “Noooo’s” yelled from the audience. I know. I’m with you. It’s Joe’s decision, however. “Rage On” felt smoother and more like the record tonight. In this case, that’s a good thing. Apparently, Josh got caught up in his vest while trying to adjust it during Joe’s and my a cappella part. He wound up having to just rip the vest off and go topless for the rest of the gig. So there you go. There’s one for the ladies.

“Phony” was going along just fine when after the first chorus, I completely skipped over the second verse and chorus. Somehow, the guys caught it in one measure’s time and came back in on the one. They all covered me so deftly that I would find it hard to believe that anyone would have noticed that something went wrong. In fact, after the show, the guys didn’t even really seem to know exactly what happened. They were so together that they didn’t even know what was happening, and yet they did exactly the right thing. I can’t tell you how proud I was that we pulled that off.

Of course, the crowd was getting louder by the end of “Phony”, as usual. I had wished we had more time, but a later start time for Lake Inferior cost us all a song or two. Tonight, I had to ditch “Scared Of Myself”, which I hated to do because I knew that Josh wanted that one. We just didn’t have time. Instead, we plowed through “Waiting For The Siren”, which according to post show reports, was the second highlight of the night.
 

I invited those there down to the front of the stage for “last call for Joe Orr”. Suddenly the whole front of the stage was in our face, smiling, arms waving and rocking out. I put down my guitar and the band tore through “Happy Here And Now”. The mic cable was too short for me to do some of the antics that I usually do but there was a massive energy rush through the band and (I think) the whole venue despite the slight limitations. It was a big finish. I ended up slapping hands with the audience and feeling thankful that we’d managed to get at least one more night with Joe at home in Athens.
      
Thanks to Radiolucent, Lake Inferior, the 40 Watt staff, Jon Bird, Parker, Christopher, Tracy, the Harrisons, Jonathan, Amanda and of course everyone else who made this such a nice spring night at “home”.

   

 

Set list for the evening:

 

  1. The Only Way
2. Into My View / Unseen
3. Sadder Day
4. Towel Cape Song
5. Tonight Never Happened
6. Rage On
7. Phony
8. Waiting For The Siren
9. Happy Here And Now

 

 

 

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All photographs by Amanda McKay. Copyright 2009.