Shows/John Linnell/1999-12-06

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Fan Recaps and Comments:

The show was basically the same the night before (on the 5th), except for the following: John sang the official state song of Maryland (solo) in place of California Uber Alles, and then brought the band back to play West Virginia. Also, I do not remember where in the show it occurred, but they worked Nevada into the set on the first show. And by the way, they did play all of North to Alaska on night one, and it was NOT planned when they quit early on night two -- the drummer looked to Dan and shrugged as if to say, "Did I miss something?" and Dan kind of shook his head no and pointed to Mr. Linnell as if to say, "No, he did." Over all, the first nights show was a couple of minutes longer than the second nights.

John actually said (on the 6th) that his voice was giving him problems, and noted that if people stopped smoking in the club, it might help him out. I had noticed on the first night during the first verse of Maine his voice sort of "gave out" and made part of a line come out funny. Also, as long as I am listing the problems of the shows, during one of the songs on the 5th (sorry, I forget which song), Dan had to fiddle with his guitar and amp for at least half of the song before it started making any sound, and soon after it did start to make sound, John messed up on the lyrics he was singing.

And speaking of lyrics, I thought it was interesting that on the 5th John sang, "Relaxing on my hands and knees / Reclining on my face / Reclining in the bear trap of its tender warm embrace" and on the 6th he sang, "Relaxing on my hands and knees / Reclining on ITS face / Reclining in the bear trap of its tender warm embrace." And of course, for those who may not know, on the Hello version it is "its hands / its face / its tender", and on the full album it is "my hands / my face / its tender", but on BOTH recorded versions it is "relaxing / relaxing / reclining", not "relaxing / reclining / reclining".

I was really pleased when they played California Uber Alles. After the first show, I had a brief chat with Dan Miller and the bassist and the drummer (sorry I don't remember their names) about playing that song, and all three of them said they did not know how to play it, and that was that. On stage, it was clear that John was reading the lyrics off a piece of paper he brought up with him when he came back on stage for the encore -- it was really funny. Then after the show was over, and they were scooting past the crowd on their way out of the bar/club, both the bassist and drummer stopped to laugh about it and tell me that, as I could see, they still did not *really* know how to play the song, but they hoped I liked it. I told them it was great.

And I must include this, for those of you out there building up psychological profiles on John Linnell. At this club, there is no back door off the stage. To leave the place, the performers have to make their way through the crowd, and then through the bar area beyond, before reaching a private door. So during the "intermission" on night one, when they came off stage after Michigan and before Maryland, they were sort of trapped right there at the foot of the stage, and John Linnell (with a smile on his face) signed all the junk that was thrust at him and made small talk to the people around him, for the 30 to 45 seconds they were off stage. At the end of the show, though, John cut through the crowd like a bullet and was out of the club before anyone had a chance to move (how he managed this, I will never know -- I am 6' 6" and willing to throw my weight around, and still cannot break through a mob that quickly). On the second night, a Monday night, the place was not so crowded, and durning the "intermission" the whole band went straight back to the mixing booth and did not stop at all on the way. They talked back there to their roady and the tour manager (from whom John retreived the lyrics to Uber Alles), then came just as directly back onto stage. After the show, John vaporized and reappeared in whatever secret place he goes to after shows end, thus spending no time at all with the fans.

Both shows were fun and enjoyable.