Monday, November 25, 2002

Sniffin' Post It Notes

The human mind has the remarkable capacity for avoiding thinking about the inevitable until the last possible moment. Having had a feline roommate for the past 11 years I must sheepishly admit I'm not smart enough to know whether the same ability applies for kitties as well.

Mr. Max had his annual physical and we both had our rabies shots updated (you can never be too careful). Actually the term "annual" isn't entirely accurate since Max was in earlier in the year for ailments that were diagnosed as involving his kidneys, liver, thyroid, and eyes. And he's arthritic on top of it all. Yes the aging teenage kitty is showing the affects of the many years. I kept putting off a return visit to the vet telling myself that perhaps that his many ailments were somehow temporary, and that he'd check out this time as perfectly healthy. Ah, not quite.

The most alarming news of this visit is that he has lost over two pounds over the course of the year. That's 22 percent of his overall weight for those of you scoring at home. And he's about half the weight he was in his heyday. Dr. Boynton said part of that weight loss could be attributed to his thyroid problem and thus he will soon go on medication to help address that condition. Of course nothing is free in life and the side effects of the drug Max is being prescribed (oh boy I get to "assist" him in taking two pills a day!) is that it might adversely affect his red blood cell count. This is particularly alarming in his case because his white blood cell count has been off the past few years anyway. Another potential side effect is that the thyroid problem might actually be helping the kidneys function and addressing one might have a detrimental affect on the other.

I have tried my best this past year to spoil the little guy knowing darn well that our time together might not be the forever that I had always hoped for. Still we haven't been able to spend as much time together as I really want to (one of us has to find the way to pay the bills) and that has more than kind of depressed me. But thankfully I had an enlightening discussion with a woman in the waiting area of the veterinary clinic that helped me gain some perspective on it all.

The woman sat scrunched up with a sad forlorn look in her eyes (that I tried hard not to reflect the same in my own eyes) revealing to me that her cat, Smoke, was in for what sounded suspiciously like Max's ailment: general and unusual lethargy and alarming loss of weight that the doctors had diagnosed was related to a malfunctioning thyroid commonly found in older cats. The woman told me she was taking time off from one of her two jobs and that the pile of bills was staring her in the face but she was going to do all she could for Smoke if only to spare the devastation her granddaughter was bound to feel when told of the cat's condition and ultimate prognosis.

She didn't need to tell me the rest I could just tell by the reaching tone of her voice- how Smoke was there with an expectant face every night after the longest day of work; how Smoke was there with a familiar greeting during the saddest of life's moments; how Smoke was there to help celebrate some of life's few true triumphs.

We wished each other the best.


What do you do when you are faced with your own imminent death? George Harrison's posthumous CD Brainwashed answers that particular question for one particular caring soul. The disc is full of songs that reaffirm George's belief that this life is but a transitionary stage for the greater something that is to come next. "Never been so crazy/But I've never felt so sure/I wish I had the answer to give/Don't even have the cure..." Harrison was well aware of the severity of the cancer eating away inside when he wrote most of these songs. While the disc is pretty typical of much of George's later post Beatle work, there is something really special in hearing the love and care put into the new songs released all these months after his death.

Two of my all time top thirty favorite songs are George Harrison songs- 1969's "Here Comes the Sun" and 1976's"Beautiful Girl." Both songs share similar traits- sterling guitar work, distinctive lyrics, and sublime singing. None of the work on Brainwashed (and by the way the cover art featuring some dummies watching TV is true to the underlying message of the songs) quite lives up to either one of those songs but it is nice to see how Harrison's own spiritual beliefs shared through his music grew over the years. His early 70's post Beatle work was dogged by the dogma and preachiness of the sermons that served as songs to enlighten those buying whatever Beatlesque stuff was put out. At the height of his popularity George released two of the most unlistenable LPs of all time- Living in the Material World and Dark Horse that weren't so much full of bad music as they were full of an excess of solemn excess. It's hard if not impossible to make it through either LP.

But thankfully he learned (from his dwindling fan base?) that he needed to show the positive aspects his faith provided more than he needed to preach to the unconverted (and non-believing). His late 70's work was full of peace and tranquillity and some of the best music of his career. Never a great singer he made do (and excellent) use of his voice while more and more featuring his terrific guitar (specifically slide guitar) playing. And the songs were full of contentment and humor- an important life lesson.

I me mine I say. Theologians have debated what exactly (if any) is my most endearing personal quality. One voice in the back (that sounded suspiciously like Emmanuel Lewis') said it is my sense of humor. I appreciated that and maybe it can even explain why if you are to pass me in the hallways these days you will likely be puzzled by the disturbing smile plastered on my noggin.

When Al Gore invented the Internet I'm sure little did he know the spiritual enlightenment it could provide for some. I for one never imagined a day where one could download otherwise unavailable music from sources located who knows where in this world. I've had a smile a mile wide plastered on my face the past few weeks because of this now taken for granted phenomenon- that weird still not sure what to do with it Internet. The first inducement was provided by our own Pat Wheeler who was kind enough to give me a copy he downloaded of one of the Bob Dylan Berkeley concerts I was lucky enough to attend last month. I can't stop listening to that night's version of the rockabilly "Summer Days" that features a bizarre and rollicking three way guitar battle that lifts the tune towards the heavens.

I also can't help but smile at something available on Dylan's official web site a one off version of Harrison's most famous song "Something" performed recently by Bob at a Madison Square Garden show. Bob dedicates the song to George and then proceeds to positively croon the first few verses in a voice not ever heard before. Music in the ether- what a gas!

Someone said that proof of God's existence is the existence of humor within us. And from where I am I can believe that. The best thing in listening to Harrison's swan song is that despite being so related to his soul searching early 70's work his humor in the end comes so shining through. It may have been a mirage but he appears to have been somewhat at peace with himself, looking forward to whatever comes next (if anything at all). The best two tracks- the opener "Any Road" (featuring the hits all to close to home line- "If you don't know where you're going/Any road will take you there") and the Harold Arlen cover "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" featuring some sterling ukulele work(?!) are George at his best. The first two tracks sound like lost Traveling Wilbury's outtakes but that is OK by me. Yes it would be nice if more music was forthcoming- the sheer insight involved is so much needed- but Brainwashed is a fitting exclamation point to a wonderful lifetime's work.

The end result is a reminder that it is in our best interests to do stuff like cuddle with the nearest kitty- this isn't a bad time to be listening and alive and still kicking.

Monday, November 18, 2002

L.A. da C-quil

I never thought I'd ever be where I found myself being, eating my second meal in a row at Dinah's Chicken in Culver City, CA when I swore I saw Kami Cotler, the actress who played Elizabeth on TheWaltons stroll in with her daughter and husband. A plain looking red head with freckles in a city of millions might be a dime a dozen but believe you me I saw enough episodes of The Waltons to know one when I saw one. But no one in the restaurant reacted least of all the group I was seated with.

I let it go without speaking to a soul because I'm but a simple man so I don't like to clutter my mind with complicated thoughts like how a group of people might react to my observations. That is why when I think of Los Angeles I think of a great big spa. One of the first times I was in the big city was the January of my senior year of college. To say that I was in a bit of a funk is about as accurate as saying that J-Lo has had just a few long term commitment issues. I desperately needed some time away from things to recuperate, rejuvenate, and regurgitate.

And in the years since whenever I have flown out to see my sister it seems there is something going on in my life that I just need to get away from. The sun and surf and substantial size of L.A. usually provides the proper tonic if only temporarily. I'm nothing if not the pop culture I've digested over the years and if pop culture is your bag L.A. is certainly the place to be. The woman I saw may or may not have been Elizabeth Walton but I can tell you the chances of seeing such a celebrity in the Twin Cities are pretty small (although I recently did help former Twin Roy Smalley absentee vote live and in person).

When the Cheapo contingent was visiting Amoeba Music in Hollywood, there was an in store performance featuring the moody vocals of some young blonde singer with pale puffy calves. At times the volume was tad annoying (the singer even mentioned that the band had been expected to play an acoustic show but decided to switch game plans and plug in) so it was nice that the store was giving away free ear plugs. People on the coasts think the universe revolves around them and everything in between might as well be invisible. And maybe they are right. I doubt you could find any music store giving away free ear plugs in Davenport Iowa.

There is something about Los Angeles that just oozes mellow. That senior year trip I took all those years ago in retrospect reminded me of the Roseville tornado of '81 where all the homes around my parents were leveled but my parents' house just sustained roof damage. I think that can accurately be dubbed the "sensible center." When all around is full of pain and destruction I guess someone somewhere can always find that refuge that provides a modicum of shelter.

We flew in during a storm. The ride was bumpy and I was a tad apprehensive (William Shatner Twilight Zone apprehensive) that even as we were clearly descending the ground was nowhere to be seen. If I learned one thing from past experience I know the city of angels is well lit and not being able to see any of those lights made me say a quick silent prayer to my maker whoever that might be.

On yet another trip to L.A. I remember sitting on the balcony of my friend, the car detailer Eric Patterson, with my soulmate (note to self, repeat as often as necessary: she's not Sandra Bullock) and we sat silently listening more than watching some kids below us play a pickup game of basketball. The lack of communication was finally more than she could seemingly stand and in betweens drags on a cigarette she coolly said to me, "You can talk at me if you want." Somehow the statement was the most offensive thing I had ever heard. Bucking the mellow atmospheric vibe I vented about how I didn't want to talk "at" anyone but rather much preferred talking "with" someone particularly her. After all this time that wannabe conversation rings above the rest and unlike most I wish I could relive that one and tell her things I should have. If nothing else this most recent trip reminded me of that.

Monday, November 11, 2002

The Importance of Eating a Sandwich

The last time I cared in both my heart and my mind about the outcome of an election was in 1980, which ironically was the last election before I was first eligible to vote. I was following the presidential race quite closely. My man was John Anderson who was running as an independent against challenger Ronald Reagan and then President Jimmy Carter. I liked Anderson's straightforward intellectualism but even more I liked the notion of a viable third party candidate changing the way we elect our leaders.

I was convinced that if Reagan won it would pretty much mean the end of the world what with that empty actor, reading his fed lines look, spouting off about the evil empire Soviet Union. I cried as the results came rolling in and Anderson got about 10 percent of the vote and Carter was sent home packing. Maybe it was the end of the world but here we are 22 years later and from what happened last Tuesday it appears the majority of us want to return to the glory days of Reaganism. Friends have expressed shock and concern at who got elected and the overwhelming results of the election and I even heard a few who thought that yes indeed, this again might just be the end.

I gotta admit, with some trepidation, that I don't really give a kabootie about who got elected. Let 'em do whatever they want. The people have spoken. Having fallen far past the point of exhaustion (oh yes I remember the good old days when I was merely exhausted) helping in preparation of the election and then helping try to make things run smoothly in the precincts on election day, and with things on my mind, I'm just glad nothing visibly exploded that day. I was worried that it might. I have come to a point where I have seen it all. I've seen relationships crumble and wise men fall. I've been in love with an image, an idea, and a concept and all three broke my heart.

I'm not an insightful guy but I do play one on TV. For the past several years I have crammed two diverse jobs into something resembling a life. One has to do with politics and the other has to do with entertainment. For a long while I thought they were different enough where I could balance my sanity between the two. I don't know what lessons will ultimately be drawn from last Tuesday night. Maybe it will result in World War III. Maybe we will all have that extra dollar or two in our pockets from paying less taxes. Maybe we all will be able to carry our concealed weapons just a little bit easier. Maybe none of it matters. And while I don't align myself with any particular political party I must admit absolute confusion about who the 60+ percent of people out there are who believe GW is truly a visionary leader. But then again the week of the election the number one movie at the box office was Jackass. There's a message or a link or something in there somewhere.

I've become a firm believer that the best thing you can do for another (and after all isn't that why we are here?) is to inspire them. Thus it's been a tad difficult to digest because it has never happened to me before but there have been events the last few years so overwhelming and stunning that not even the greatest piece of art can make any of it make any kind of sense. Fortunately Tuesday night wasn't one of these events. I don't know how many of you were lucky enough to see a few nights before, a rare and special jewel of a moment where a beacon of light shone brightly even as its originator's life was/is slowly dimming. Politics can kill you slowly long term over many years. Life can kill you in an instant. Television isn't usually the place (thankfully) where we get to see in such clear terms the connection between this breath and our very last.

Warren Zevon's appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman was heartbreaking but soul affirming stuff. When the news first came out a few months back that Zevon had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer it didn't have the national impact of the sudden tragic death of Sen. Paul Wellstone but in its own way it was just as terribly sad for those of us who appreciate the wisdom from a superlative wit and acerbic humor of a great writer. A few weeks later when it was announced that Zevon was going to appear on the Late Show (a show he has been on many times in the past even filling in for bandleader Paul Schaffer) it really was no surprise as Letterman has clearly been a big fan over the years.

Zevon performed three songs including a heart stopping "Mutineer" in which he struggled with shortness of breath to hit the high notes. But it was more than just a poignant moment from a man probably making his final public appearance. It was a graceful human showing his heart, reaching out, comforting both himself and his audience. "I was born to rock the boat/Some may sink but we will float/Grab your coat - let's get out of here/You're my witness/ I'm your mutineer..."

During the interview Letterman asked a self depreciating but keenly aware of weight of the moment Zevon if in facing his imminent death "is there anything about life that I don't know?" And Zevon raised his eyebrow and gave the best answer ever, "Well, no, not unless you count the importance of eating a sandwich."

Revenge of My Youth

It's always raining in Los Angeles. The group I was with arrived early Friday night and it drizzled both lightly and moderately from the moment we got off the airplane until 24 hours later. A guy who wears glasses might just have a vision problem or two in such conditions.

But let's back up some shall we? I had a note in my drawer at the warehouse from Al a couple weeks back asking if I wanted to go to L.A. November 9 and 10. My immediate reaction was 'sure, I'm game' even though I knew that it was the weekend following what promised to be a long hour work week and it meant doing the newsletter (that you have in your grubby lil mitts right now!) well into a Sunday night before the Veterans Day holiday that I get off from my other job. I didn't have any other details of what the trip was about other than Al had also left a note telling me that we were going to stop in at the In 'n Out Burger restaurant, a California icon.

So a few days before the trip I call the warehouse and Al told me Carl would fax me directions to Sam's house where we were all going to meet. Who "we" were at this point wasn't even clear. So after my favorite blue eyed ex-intern (and dear dear friend thank God) bought me a birthday pad thai lunch in downtown St. Paul Friday afternoon I hopped on into my car and headed out to Highland Park to meet up at Sam's house.

Oh yes it was also my birthday weekend. 38 freaking years old. And I have always questioned whether or not I'd ever make it to 40. Knock on wood (which hopefully is not immediately encasing me. Never mind- it happened to Buffy once).

So I drive up to this specified location and see Pat talking with a guy that I assume must be Sam. And sure enough it is and they are. They don't know much more about the trip than I do making it all seem rather secret spy, Mission Impossible-ish. Having been accused in the recent past of not being spontaneous enough I wanted to scream to the skies (or at least to Mr. Max) that this here might be proof that I'm not always what I might seem to the discerning eye (il est special, il faut aimer). We wait for Carl but Carl is late. We wait for as long as we deem prudent and then take off to the airport, which is located a few mere minutes from Sam's house.

Pat and I don't have to check luggage so we head to the gate after passing through security. A few minutes later Sam and Carl appear together. Then it's a few minutes more until we're off into the wild blue yonder. Carl also gives us the itinerary that reveals it is a summit of some of Cheapo's most powerful and creative minds (and me) with the intent of visiting as many CD stores as we can in a one day time frame.

Can I digress a bit further? When I was a kid and my family would take vacations my parents and my siblings were kind enough to indulge my desire to go to as many record stores as we could in whatever strange town we found ourselves in. A successful vacation to me was returning home with as many records that I couldn't seem to find in the Twin Cities, as I could. So as we spent all of Saturday traveling in a mini-van (the blue team) and a SUV (the red team) around Hollywood and Beverly Hills looking at CD stores I was more than glad I had been asked along. I was part of the blue team (Carl, Johnny, Jeff, Ron, Derek, and Gary) that was by far the cooler of the two teams if the contest was to be tallied. We strutted, we led the way, we traded barbs.

There were two stores (diverse in nature) that stick out from the many we visited. Hear Music was a tidy little place in a outside strip mall that had a lot of little written descriptions of artists next to the product. I loved reading the little blips. I also loved that the store had compilations from artists like Lucinda Williams and Steve Earle that included songs from artists that those particular people considered major influences- a veritable mix CD put together from people I would love to receive a mix CD from. What a fine fine idea...

Like the rest of the traveling group the store that impressed me most was Amoeba Music. I had been in that particular company's Berkeley store less than a month before and the L.A. store was even bigger and better. A true music lover could spend hours and hours in the place and come away wanting to come back. I of course left with a used Buffy season two DVD collection for a really good price but didn't want to tell anyone because I already was coming off dorky enough. I scored and it was my own lil secret. Tee hee. But I had to put back that used Sinatra disc I can't even find new in most other places.

We had dinner at Todai's, a Japanese buffet that featured some really good sushi and teriyaki chicken. The staff came over to sing Al a happy birthday (which is a week away) and I was chucklingto myself, glad that no one knew it was actually my birthday and all the tambourine playing was dedicated to someone else. Whew. It was a great meal and a nice way to celebrate the beginning of my 38th year on this here confusing little planet.

I got home Sunday evening and quickly unpacked my bag of newly bought goods including the aforementioned DVD purchase and a neat Hank Williams bobblehead. Max bellowed upon my arrival and I had 95 email messages (84 of them SPAM). Yup I'm home.

Monday, November 4, 2002

Warm Sake that Doesn't Even Make You Sleepier

For a history major I sure don't know much about famous dates and events. I can't tell you when Aphrodite invaded Lebanon nor can I tell you when Cecil B. Demille served as the Vice President. This gap in my education occurred to me the other day as I was standing in line to buy my morning extra large latte at Caribou Coffee. The more annoying than most woman in line in front of me was holding all us others up as she was engaging the clerk in a not necessary conversation.

As I finally stepped to the register I heard her saying something about when the United States boycotted the Olympics. She wasn't sure of the year so I chimed in, "1980." The woman and the clerk both looked at me and thanked me for my trivia knowledge. I really don't know much about anything important in history but just ask me what year Supertrain aired (and quickly derailed) on NBC and I'm most definitely your rare man.

Not knowing what I should about history perhaps the only justification I can give about the degree I hold (with my 3.3 grade point average) is that I truly love witnessing historic moments. I chuckle and behold my fortune every time I participate in a first for humankind. Such was a moment the other morning when getting ready for work I stepped on something that clearly wasn't carpet but rather was cold and slippery. Since Max has had a increasing vomiting "issue" I just figured I as usual had lived up to my knack for stepping in the exact wrong spot at the wrong time.

So commonplace has this particular discomforting event occurred I didn't even think twice. Yes it's gross and yes a part of my heart drops to my ankles every time it happens but I've learned not to get upset and to go over to Max, pet him and reassure him and then eventually get around to cleaning up the mess.

This particular morning however I happened to finally turn on the light and look down and what I stepped on. It wasn't kitty urpings but rather it was a penny. I thus made history by saying something that likely has never been uttered by another soul in the history of civilization: "Hey Max, it's not vomit it's currency!"

History indeed. When I heard Bob Dylan was playing at the Xcel Energy Center I quickly got on the computer and ordered me up two tickets. There was little doubt in my mind who the person was that I wanted to attend the show with. Having attended a Dylan show with just about everybody and anybody who is important enough in my life to share what I consider to be one of life's greatest pleasures I must admit some shame that none of those people has ever asked me to go to a second show with me. I dragged my sister to a couple of Dylan shows, and she enjoyed them but she ain't exactly ever going to fly across the country to see the man perform like her eccentric brother would possibly consider doing.

Last year I went to a Dylan show with a new friend, an important friend who earned a double major in college (French and Mass Communications), along with a 3.95 grade point average, who is one of the writers and opinions I admire and trust most and who after seeing Bob for the first time actually mentioned some interest in seeing him again with me.

I love this friend's laugh. That I have the ability at times to draw out this delightful sound from her will always mean the world to me. That Mr. Max absolutely loves her too says as much to me as my favorite Bob Dylan song. This friend came along in the recent past and she was the first friend I made after my Mother's death that made me feel like I may someday, somehow move forward just a little bit again.

"I'm forty miles from the mill/I'm dropping it into overdrive/Set my dial on the radio/I wish my mother was still alive ..."

Just like we did last year before the concert we had dinner at our favorite Japanese restaurant where we ate a delectable meal of sushi. My friend, the soon to be Masters student ordered some warm sake with her meal. I never cease to disappoint her with how not Japanese I truly am but I have never had that particular beverage. She asked me if I wanted some but with the extra long work hours I've been putting in and the constant lack of sleep I figured if I partook and let the devil's drink touch my lips I would be rewarded by falling asleep right as Mr. Dylan pulled some obscure favorite out of his bag of tricks. So I politely declined but was talked into it later in the meal. Ummmm, warmed up rice wine (served in the most perfect little serving apparatus and cup).

Our seats in the arena were quite good- off to the left of the stage (guitarist Charlie Sexton's side) eight rows up. When the band tore into Seeing The Real You at Last it was great fun from our wonderful vantage point to see the real Bob at last after having attended many a show where he looked about the size of a bobblehead doll.

I absolutely hate people who say so but can I say that it was clear from the first notes that the band was really cooking this evening? Bob's keyboard playing seemed much more confident and aggressive from just a few weeks back when I saw him in Berkeley. And his singing? Just tell me this guy isn't one of our greatest. He growled. He snarled and most importantly he gave up the annoying habit he displayed earlier in the month when he would begin a line in his lowest register (his most effective register at this point) and end the line at the top of his range. He did that a couple of times during the evening (most noticeably on "Girl from the North Country" and the annoying "Blowin' in the Wind") but most of the time he really seemed to make an effort to put some wasabi like bite into his singing.

A couple of weeks back in these pages our very own trainer extraordinaire Pat Wheeler wrote something kind about me being a "disciple" of Dylan. I'm really not so sure if that term applies but I will admit there has been no other artist among the many artists that has tripped me up a time or two, that has reached me in such a profound way. There are just certain times I need to hear a particular Bob song for its insight, its wisdom and wit and because it makes me smile while revealing something new over and over again.

The second song of this evening's performance completely ensured that it would be a night I will never forget (even if somewhere down the road that's what I wanna do). The song was from my second or third (depending on the day and who I have spent time with) favorite Dylan CD 1981's Shot of Love. The recorded version of "In the Summertime" has one of Bob's most moving harmonica solos ever. This live treatment was an absolute ear to ear smiling rollicking delight.

"Fools they made a mock of sin/Our loyalty they tried to win/But you were closer to me than my next of kin/When they didn't want to know or see..."

I looked next to me at my friend and it was one of those rare indescribable moments in life where it is just so clear, just so right that you can say without any uncertainty that you are in the right place with the right person (even if she or he wouldn't take a bullet for you the gray hat wearing worrying neurotic). I could live to be seventy (a figure that doesn't seem quite realistic) and I don't think there would ever come a moment when I would have thought "In the Summertime" was a Dylan song I'd be fortunate enough to hear live. It reminded me of my own past summer, and the discovery of a friendship with a blue eyed and kind intern that has made me think twice or a time or two about what I am doing and where I am going.

"I was in your presence for an hour or so/Or was it a day? I truly don't know/Where the sun never set, where the trees hung low/By that soft and shining see/Did you respect me for what I did/Or for what I didn't do, or for keeping it hid?/Did I lose my mind when I tried to get rid/Of everything you see?"

It made the papers (coincidentally or not the very one my fellow Dylan show attendee is employed by) and created a buzz when Bob dedicated a song ("The Times They are A-Changing") to Sen. Paul Wellstone both when performed in Denver and Kansas City. I was kind of amused by the media coverage of it all. Yes Bob usually doesn't speak much during his performances (if ever a rock star's music says all that needs to be said...) but this ain't exactly Greta Garbo going from silent movies to talkies. My friend and I made a bet whether or not Dylan would acknowledge Wellstone's tragic death during his St. Paul performance. I said no, knowing Bob's stubborn trait of avoiding what is expected of him. My friend answered "mu" and reluctantly took the dollar bet. When the band broke into "Times...." my friend handed me a buck. But the bet wasn't to be mine. In the darkness he dedicated "High Water (For Charlie Patton)" for "my man who came to the end of the road in Eveleth." It's bad out there... high water everywhere...""

I've never heard Dylan sing better particularly on "Love Minus Zero/No Limit" and a nice cover of Don Henley's "End of Innocence." He made some noticeable lyrical flubs particularly on "Forever Young" and "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" but his ability to give a unique cadence to a line, to hold back the words and then spit them out all at once reinforced what a delightful singer he can truly be. And the band? They were a-smoking specifically on "Cold Irons Bound" and the last song of the encore "All Along the Watchtower." And let me finish by how much I must smile at the way the band takes its bows. Obviously under orders of the one who pays they bills the gentlemen stand at attention and dare not crack the smallest of smiles. Any heights achieved during the current night's performance in the current city isn't to be acknowledged by the performers. This is what they do. This is what is expected. It's time to move on. How cool exactly is that? I wish I could be that way. And one day I'll try.