Greg Brown, Bo Ramsey, Ani Difranco, Gillian Welch, and Dave Rawlins - March 10, 2000
Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, Duluth, Minnesota
Date: Saturday, March 11, 2000
From: B French <email@example.com>
Subject: Greg (and co.) in Duluth - Review
Let me begin by saying that I've been at work now for
over 13 hours and may be getting a little goofy.
Apologies in advance.
Whew. What a strange night. I work at the convention
center where the concert took place tonight. I
actually haven't even left yet. Great concert. Great
great concert. But I was (kind of) working. Watching
for flash photography, people smoking pot, etc... and
at the same time, I've got my little yellow post-it
notes that I'm scribbling on in the dark. Since I'm
'working', I couldn't just let myself get wrapped up
in the concert. Post-it notes. Goofy.
First off, David Rawlings,
Gillian's husband, should be right up there on the
headlines with the rest of them. He was fantastic.
He played a guitar that looked like a cross between a
regular guitar and a ukelele, but longer in body than
a standard guitar. I say he played it. He didn't
play - he channeled. He was wielding the guitar. He
held it like a baseball bat or a fishing rod - and it
pulled him around on the stage. He danced with it.
And sung too - great harmonies. Not knowing either
Gillian or David very well, I barely saw Gillian up
there at all. She faded a bit with the big
personalities up there - Greg and Ani aren't exactly
the shy retiring types, and David's playing put him
out on the line.
The Ani fans were out in force, but I think up here in
Duluth, the Ani fans are also the Greg Brown fans,
etc... We've got a great radio station up here - KUMD
that plays all this non-commercial music that is so
vital and enjoyable. Ani fans were respectful and
attentive. A little wild, very enthusiastic, dressed
like... wow. When did I get stodgy?
Greg - Fishing hat. Black tank top. Black pants.
Strange 'elf'-shoes. Kind of weird and pointy a
little. And shades.
Ani - Black leather pants with a zipper from the front
all the way to the back - like if a regular zipper
just kept on going. Black cropped tank top. Crazy
hair. I'm getting old.
David - Country fiddler suit. How better to describe
Gillian - Simple black dress.
- Dump the Bosses.
-It sounds like they're starting all the shows with
this tune. In fact, very much a theme through the
night of standing up for the downtrodden, stay local
and small, "Smile pretty and watch your back" (a line
from an Ani song), don't trust the corporations and
governments to watch out for your best interests. You
know, same old...
Then they started the pick-a-theme swap.
1st theme from Ani: Spirituality
- Ani sang..."It's enough"? (not our version)
- Greg sang..."How have you been darlin'"
- Gillian sang...?
2nd theme from Greg: Turgidity
1. Pompously embellished language
Leave it to Greg to pick a word that nobody else knew.
All you scrabblefesters would've loved it.
Ani: "What the hell is turgid?" His response:
"Things that are churning, murky." Gillian: "You
mean like stiff?" Very funny interplay. Okay, so
none of them knew what turgid meant, but it was a
- Greg sang... "One Wrong Turn" in a
Mississippi delta blues kind of way - nice.
Ani sang...Well, first we had more jokes about turgid,
then she started into her guitar riff, went up to the
mike and blanked. "Fuck. What's the first word?"
The crowd loved it.
- Don't know what her song was, but
it had the line "I'm queen of my own compost heap."
- Gillian sang..."One Morning"?
Third theme from Gillian...Glass.
Glass? Seemed like a weird theme. I don't know.
- Gillian sang...House of Glass. Okay, kind of an easy
one, but whatever. Fun to put the others on the spot.
- Ani sang...something about 'Negotiate with chaos'.
- Greg sang..."Better get Married Matty Price". He gave
it a nice whistling solo.
- Then he sang "Almost Out of Gas". Everybody had
joined in and they were all really getting into it.
- Then it was Greg by himself with "Your
- Gillian and David came back out onstage
for "The Train Carrying Jimmy Rodgers Home". Greg and
Gillian did a sweet duet. She's got a great voice,
but wow have I gone on enough about David's guitar
- Then Gillian and David alone with "Barroom Girls".
- "Driving Cory"? was next, then Ani came out and said
"Where's the guy with the hat? Tell him to just walk
out onstage when he gets back."
- I think the song they
did was called "By and By."
Then it was Ani by
Okay - Ani is a small woman. She was wearing big tall
shoes, but that can only help so much, you know? She
puts on her guitar, kicks the stool behind her back 10
feet and starts to play. Now, this is the first time
I've seen Ani live. She doesn't play the guitar.
It's almost as big as her. She rides it like an
animal. Her hands flow over her guitar like water.
And percussive - wow! She commented on there being
'ice floes' on Lake Superior and how it was "...nice
to see ice forming somewhere - in an ozoney kind of
way." Then she made a joke about how her comment
"nice to see ice forming somewhere" would be posted on
the internet, and puzzled and pondered over. I
couldn't let her down, could I? Then in one of her
songs, she was just grooving on a single chord.
Playing it over and over. She seemed like she was
having a good time.
- Then Greg came out and they sang
the "Fuck You" song. Sorry, I don't know the title
better than that.
- Gillian and David came out and Greg sang "Wild Like a
Sonny Boy" with everyone on tight backup. The vent I
was standing in front of was vibrating and shaking
with the power coming off the stage. It was a major
strum-fest, and in the midst of all this thunder and
hubbub, Greg is doing his low-key phrasing - some
- Ani sang...a song.
- Ani sang...Woody Guthrie's "Do-Re-Mi" with everyone
- Ani sang the song about "smile pretty and watch your
- Greg sang..."You Give Me Fever"
There was an ASL signer there for some deaf folks in
the audience. Interesting. Would've been neat to see
her get incorporated more into things.
Greg was the least chatty of the headliners. David
was the least chatty of all. Did I mention he played
guitar pretty good?
The applause before the encore was just deafening. I
loved it. The encore was about half an hour long.
The whole concert went from 7:50 - 9:45 with no
Again, my apologies. If this has seemed disjointed,
it's because it is. I'm tired. I just went through
the 20-30 post-its I had stuffed in my pocket. I
think I got the order mostly right.
I'd love to hear if any other listers were there.
What did you think?
Okay - home to bed.
Take care all.