Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Blue Boulevard

Instead of talking about my health or stressing over the upcoming surgery next Monday, I would like to relate this wonderful experience from several years ago.  I promised my nephew Zach that I would tell this story to him, and I'd like to share it with everyone.  Some of you may have heard about it and a couple may have even been there.

Several years ago, I was heading to Off Broadway to see Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men in concert.  I was leaving a briefing we were giving at St. Louie U.  As we left, I noticed the clouds were churning.  Storms were on the way.  I drove down south and stopped at my favorite fast food (Popeye's) for a quick bite before the show.  I got it to go, and when I got to the car I thought, "I'm parked under a tree.  I have protection.  I'll eat here."  A big limb was ripped from that tree and fell right next to my car.  I decided to eat on the go.

When I got to Off Broadway, the electricity was out.  Luckily, the beer was still flowing.

The woman who opened up for Dave was a solo artist with a ukelele.  She pulled up a chair in the emergency lights and asked us to gather round.  It was pretty cool.

After that, we weren't sure if Dave would perform.  He was touring "electric."  We had seen him the month before in Columbia, MO.  By the time the concert was to start, they had put out a ton of candles everywhere.  We had beer.  We could see.  We could hear.  We were ready.

Dave and the guys came out with acoustics (guitars and bass).  The piano player was relegated to a tambourine.  I had seen Dave quite a bit and had been wanting to see him perform acoustic for awhile and here it was.  Very cool, I thought!  And it was.

Understandably, Dave and the guys were not ready for this.  They had planned playlists that might not work acoustically.  They ended up asking for requests.  WOW!  I immediately shouted, "Blue Boulevard."  I love that song and had never heard him do it.  He heard me and seemed unsure at first but went ahead and played it.  AWESOME! 

But wait, the best is yet to come.

At some point someone brought a toy piano to the stage and gave it to the piano player.  It was small enough that he could use one arm to hold it and play it with his free hand.  What happened next was magic.

This guy played this tiny, tinny, rock and roll piano like a MOFO.  It blew me away.  Everybody loved it!

I don't remember much after that, other than those tinny Rock & Roll piano riffs.  It was one of those moments that took your breath away.

I researched this concert on the web to see what year it was and found this review…

It was July 19th, 2006.

If you do not know of Dave...Check him out


  1. Yeah we all have our favorite Dave concerts. My favorite was Hardley Strictly Bluegrass in SF in 2009 (I think) It was Daves first concert with the Guilty Women, and he was joined by brother Phil on vocals on "Marie, Marie" to end the concert. Just crazy good! Also Dave did a Zydeco version of "Marie, Marie" at Mongo's in Grover Beach, with Chris Gaffney on accordion. It was the best individual song ever (except maybe "California Sun" with Los Straitjackets in Santa Barbara.) Ok that was the three best moments, I'm quitting now.

  2. Hey George, Thanks for the great write of that memorable night in St Louis. It's legendary among the Guilty Men and me. One of my favorite shows I ever played. The band and I debated whether to play or not but Joe Terry, the Guilty keyboard player (and St Louis native) was not going to allow a meager little tornado power outage to disrupt his hometown performance. Yeah, when he rocked that tiny toy piano on Wanda And Duane remains one of the highlights of my entire professional career.
    I wish you all the luck, love and strength you need to get through the medical issues you alluded to at the start of your piece. My thoughts are with you and I look forward to seeing you next time in St Louis.
    Dave Alvin
    Popeye's is my favorite too.