Thursday, December 28, 2006

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes
Last night, I had tickets to see Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, along with John Eddie, at The Birchmere. Unfortunately, I didn't bring the tickets with me. The deal at The Birchmere (in Alexandria, Virginia, a great place to see music, if you don't already know that) is you get there at some point after 5:00PM, and you're given a number as you enter. Then you drink outside the concert hall until 6:00PM, when they start calling numbers, which allows people to proceed to seats in the concert hall in a fairly civilized manner. My number was 66, when they got to about 60 I pulled the tickets out of my pocket. And realized I had mistakenly grabbed tickets that I had gotten my girlfriend for Christmas for a Tyler Perry play. Oops.

I hustled over to the box office, and was told that the show was not sold out. When I explained what had happened and that I needed to buy another set of tickets, the woman at the box office charitably said that this "happens all the time," and then gave me replacement tickets and said I could bring the forgotten tickets by in the next couple of days and she wouldn't charge my credit card. Her name was Kay, and she is my hero!

So then the show. John Eddie is a Richmond, VA-born 46-year old, who's been around for a while. His favorite adjective is "fucken" and he, and his songs, are funny and self-effacing. Though in his younger days, he was supposed to be the next Springsteen, he reminded me more of John Hiatt or Steve Earle. He's got a strong voice and a tight band, and he was one of the best openers that I've seen for Southside, who sometimes makes some odd selections there. (I'd say he wasn't quite as good as Rick Derringer at the Capital Centre in 1980, but way better than most others, particularly the comedian at the Bayou at some point in mid-80s. That guy sucked.)

After about a two Dominion Ale break, the woman that had been sitting two seats down from me mysteriously appeared on stage and introduced Southside and his Jukes, who then stormed the stage and charged through a heavy dose of the Southside classics (Paris, Take it Inside, Broke Down Piece of a Man), giving ample time to the Jukes to show off their skills. Southside's usually perfect voice was a little ragged at parts, but, hey, it's the holidays, and he's fucken' 58 and his enthusiasm more than compensated. A James Brown tribute featured vocals by keyboardist Jeff Kazee and guitar hero Bobby Bandiera (who has the James Brown growl down). Bandiera also did a great version of Summer Wind. As things reached, well, a fevered pitch, John Eddie came to the stage for The Fever, and added his vocals, at least for the parts of the song that he knew the lyrics for. They played two encores, and the show ran until shortly after 10:30, which is late for The Birchmere. I can't pretend to be objective about a band I've been going to see since I was 18, but it was a blast, and I'll be happy to see them next time they're in town.


cleavers44 said...

Sounds like a great show, and the Birchmere as always, is a class act.

Are you going to the Slickee Boys/Switchblade show at Iota on Friday?

tadcranky said...

I'd like to, but I don't think it's going to happen -- I'd say 50-50.