About a week ago, I saw three shows in three nights - all by amazing performers who all are at LEAST fifteen years past their primes.
On Friday the 24th, Glen, Mondale and I saw Billy Bragg at the Ethical Culture Society. A fun place to see a show. The crowd mostly consisted of thirty and forty something Upper West Siders who used to think they were socialists. Bragg is on tour promoting a box set of his early career so his set was a nice retrospective. I had never seen him before so I had a great time.
Mondale enjoyed it and forgave Bragg for sucking so much the last time he saw him twelve years ago. Bragg was like the grumpy but fun loving uncle who can play the guitar but also tells really bad jokes. I found out the next day that Mooney had sat next to him on the flight to Austin (or was it from Austin?) a few days before and that Bragg talked his ear off. Mondale's dream came true for Mooney.
On Saturday, Dave, Jen, and I saw Bob Newhart perform at Brooklyn College. What a time warp that show was. It felt like it was 1962. His bits were so dated, it was awesome. Polish jokes! Japanese are short and can't see out the cockpit of a plane, Tammy Faye Baker, Jimmy Swaggart, Asians are good at math and eat dogs, women aren't good drivers. The list goes on and on. He did have one timely bit about that pimp song from Hustle and Flow. His timing was exquisite and I got into it even though I was hoping to hear more newer material. Doesn't he get sick of telling the same jokes for forty years?
The crowd - mostly the sixty five and up set. The parking lot scene after the show was very very slooooowww.
Sunday night - Ray Davies
Wow! The man is amazing. Still sounds great. Still looks great. None of this sit down Town Hall bullshit, the man wants a real rock club. Granted, I would have preferred to sit down but I'm much older than Davies is.
His set was heavy on Kinks favorites. Some of his new stuff was okay, some was terrible but it was a small price to pay to get to hear "Sunny Afternoon," "Oklahoma USA," "Where Have All the Good Times Gone?" "Set Me Free," and "Lola" amongst others performed live. My major complaint was that he didn't do "Waterloo Sunset" but I guess with a songbook as amazing as his, not everything was going to be played. The crowd was mostly a mix of 70's East Village types (Handsome Dick Manitoba almost knocked Youthlarge over trying to get in to hear the first song "I'm Not Like Everybody Else", music industry types, and fifty something suburbanites. Oh yeah, Rufus Wainwright was there too but I don't think he stayed for the whole show.
Bob Pollard still has nothing on this guy.
3 days ago