John and I have been looking forward to the show for a while and now Gøran, Tony and Joan have been caught up in that energy as well.
John and I look at it as one of the best rooms we’ve played. Hosts Ron and Hillary are terrific people who absolutely put the focus on playing music that THEY absolutely love and now have developed a huge following in the area .. after doing just that in Wales some six years ago.. .. normally playing shows on Fridays and Sundays. So this will be a usual off day for them as we are playing on Thursdays… But because of the vibe of the place and our fans in the area… This place will be packed!
The one problem is that the drive between Leek and Saltaire .. normally an easy two hour drive, was extraordinarily difficult due to an immense amount of rain that started falling down as we started our journey. The highways were backed up in several areas and driving was just really tough.
Tony did an unbelievable job of getting us to our terrific hotel, by around 2:30 in time to check in to our amazing hotel, the Abbey Lodge, where we are greeted by the proprietors Ashley and Eilee. We got a chance to relax for an hour or so before sound check.
Sound check went rather quickly and we had about an hour to grab a quick bite to eat before showtime at 7:30… So we gather at a very very cool restaurant in the area that has “Titus” in its title… I forget the full name. It’s hard to forget the food .. amazing fish and chips for all of us as we needed to get something that we could eat within 30 or 25 minutes and that was the one they suggested… It was delicious.
Finished just in time to get on the stage at 7:30.
This show was a special one .. It was another show where silence played the most important part in the connection with the musicians on the stage and this wonderful, wonderful audience.
After the show, there were the most beautiful comments about the show .. that these music lovers shared with John and Goran and me.. and Joan as well.. such kind and warm thoughts.. Tonight there was a very human, kind thing going on in this room.
Again, we divided the show into two halves… There was many songs from the current album Whiskey Salesman, many from Little Prayers Trilogy, and several from Black and Blue America, which was just released on Spotify this past week.
The one linking force of the whole evening was the silence and the connection between the audience and those of us on stage… It just doesn’t get better... Some of my favorites in the first show was certainly have to be “ I love You Today“ from my new album, Whiskey Salesman… And the title track - which really got the honest connection started at a high-level... “Theme for an American Hero“ was as special as it could possibly be… And “What a Smile You Had“ had chills up my spine from start to finish… Toward the end of the set came a rockin' version of one of my favorite all times Johnny Cash songs, “Big River“… And a precious version of “Angel of the Morning “ that many would talk about later. We left the stage after the first half anxious to get back and do more of the same connecting… It was on such a high level.
The second set.
We started with “Dance With A Hole In Your Shoe“… Which seems so spiritual and the connection with the audience was so so strong that it just inspired the rest of the show.. “ He’s a Good Guy as Well you Know“ just continued then spirit of human kindness and understanding..… “There’s Nothing Coming out of me That I Like“ was so prayerful… But the thing that made it so human and special is that it seemed like it put us in a holy place together.. “Trying to let the Angels Know” .. kept us in that same church… It was a place I certainly like being.
Somewhere toward the middle of the second set I reminisced about the power of one of my early rock songs, Anyway That you Want Me“… We hadn’t done this in a while and it sounded so sweaty and good tonight… At some point I called out so for some requests.. Our friend Tony Pankhurst who is been our tour guide on this entire tour… Suggested the first song I ever wrote, “Faded Blue”… What a nice choice Tony… The fans seem to love this and we certainly love playing it… The only question I had was - did I write such a song at 13 years old?
Sooner or later we got to a wonderful and crazy version of Wild Thing… And then ended the show with some powerful stuff.. a precious song for my wife Joan, “Saint Joan, which had the audience singing along… It was so precious….. then came my “hit” anthem for the prisoners “Fuck all the Perfect People”… we closed with, “I Wasn’t Born in Tennessee" which totally rocked and had the audience cheering.
We left the stage, and after lengthy applause, we returned and encored with the song dedicated to refugee children ..called “Refugee Children”, with the audience singing along with us so beautifully at the end ...it was a fitting end . The long and short of it is this will remain one of my favorite shows ever… Thanks for this kind and wonderful audience!
Said hi to so many wonderful friends… Old and new
First, very old friends who have been following us for years, Ernie and Pauline… What great friends and fans… But the friendship goes beyond all… Great to see you and to play a couple of your requests.
Hi to Mel who we met just before getting on stage and her friend Jeth who came down from North Cumberland and her husband Colm.. I think young Kathryn had something to do with these folks becoming fans… Anyway, whatever… It was so great to see you all and to hear your kind words… in the same group was Simon and Adrian.. all saying very flattering things to me and very human things… It was so great to meet you all.
Hi to David and Gary… A big hello to some friends I met toward the end of the night Richard and Steve and Collin.
Richard, your words were so so beautiful… Steve, yours as well.. and great talking to you Collin and love your take on the entire last part of my career and the thoughts about the duets with Carrie Rodriguez and I… All wonderful thoughts… It was so special talking to all of you tonight.
Special hello to Lynn and Nicholas and Dorothy and Diane and Ian and Catherine and John.. thanks so so much for all those kind words… Look forward to seeing you again
Hi Keith.. thanks for taking the pictures tonight and for making it as least intrusive as possible… Look forward to seeing some of the memories.
Hi Julian Martin ..wonderful seeing you toward the end of the night.. again thanks for all the kind words and the wonderful messages to Joan.. it was so nice meeting you
Collin… Wonderful talking with you… Hope to see you soon again..
Joan was out in the back of the room with some very nice folks that made her feel very comfortable and special… So thanks to all of those folks… Carol and Eddie and Suzanne and Arthur and all the others
It is the next morning and I am about to have breakfast with y’all at the hotel but we are going there with wonderful memories of a special special night… Thanks
Ron and Hillary… This was a special one… None of us will forget it.