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 <>
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 it?

Gillian - Simple black dress.

Song List:

Song list:
  1. 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

  2. Ani sang..."It's enough"? (not our version)
  3. Greg sang..."How have you been darlin'"
  4. Gillian sang...?

    2nd theme from Greg: Turgidity
    Noun: 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 great moment.

  5. 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.
  6. Don't know what her song was, but it had the line "I'm queen of my own compost heap." Gravity maybe?
  7. Gillian sang..."One Morning"?

    Third theme from Gillian...Glass. Glass? Seemed like a weird theme. I don't know.

  8. Gillian sang...House of Glass. Okay, kind of an easy one, but whatever. Fun to put the others on the spot.
  9. Ani sang...something about 'Negotiate with chaos'.
  10. Greg sang..."Better get Married Matty Price". He gave it a nice whistling solo.

  11. Then he sang "Almost Out of Gas". Everybody had joined in and they were all really getting into it. Great song.
  12. Then it was Greg by himself with "Your Town Now".
  13. 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 playing?

  14. Then Gillian and David alone with "Barroom Girls".
  15. "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."
  16. I think the song they did was called "By and By."

    Then it was Ani by herself. 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.

  17. Then Greg came out and they sang the "Fuck You" song. Sorry, I don't know the title better than that.

    Last song:

  18. 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 wonderful counterpoint.


  19. Ani sang...a song.
  20. Ani sang...Woody Guthrie's "Do-Re-Mi" with everyone backing up.
  21. Ani sang the song about "smile pretty and watch your back."
  22. 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 intermission.

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.

Bryan French