Greg Brown -- March 21, 1997

Be Here Now, Asheville, North Carolina


Date: Mon, 24 Mar 1997 11:34:54 -0500
From: Sharon Larkins <slarkins@Gems.VCU.EDU>
Subject: Himself's Asheville & Greenville concerts


Well, the ole silver fox finally got to see Himself live and in person in Asheville, North Carolina at the 'Be Here Now' venue on March 21 and in Greenville, South Carolina at 'The Handlebar' venue on March 22.

In Asheville:

For those of you in the frozen North, be jealous because the weather was in the high 70s, and the apple and cherry blossoms were blanketing the streets with clouds of pink snow...much nicer than that cold white stuff! I was on line early, in my 'Same Damn Hat' shirt and, through a break in the curtains in the window, able to peak in and watch Himself do his soundcheck, with the sounds wafting out through an open transom. A very nice 20 minute reverie for moi, needless to say!

He was wearing his trademark plain black sleeveless T-shirt, and well washed (and fitted, Shirley and Regina!) jeans, bleary socks, brown suede clogs, mismatched earrings, brown rimmed sunglasses, THAT HAT and two chunky turquoise rings on his left hand.

I was surprised that he is such a BIG guy. I thought he was of moderate height based on photos I've seen, but I reckon I should have realized that Shirley does well describe him when she uses the term "His Hunkness". He kept his sunglasses on even when he was not on stage; has dimples and a very sensual looking mouth that's just a bit crookedy.

He sipped from a glass of red wine during the set and, alas, smoked afterwards.

He sat down during the entire Asheville show which seemed to surprise folks. He had an almost detached aura about him...did not talk very much. I was lucky to be on the front row, dead center. This was thanks to being spotted by Mike Schaefer of Conway, Arkansas who had traveled up with his lovely bride Lynn to catch the show. He had forgotten to bring their shirts (fer shame!), but they had already staked out front row seats, and there was an extra so I was delighted!!

Since I am, compared to the rest on the list, a novice at knowing the proper titles of all of Greg's songs, Mike was of great help! He and Lynn are a very attractive couple, and it was great to get to know them!

Peter Mulvey was the opening act. I admit it, I had never heard of him, but he was quite good. Particularly a piece called 'Rapture' which is on his latest CD by the same name. Self-described drama student trained by the Jesuits and then made a living playing guitar in the subways of New York. Very intense young man, but can flat play a guitar which he has tuned very bass.

With Greg was Bo Ramsey! Whew! What a guitar man! And just about as close as a second skin to Himself...never intruding but making it clear that as good as Greg is, Bo's enhancement makes it even better. Sidebar note...I have never seen a human being who moves like he's no wonder he's skinny as a rail...closest I can come to describing it is like a Banty rooster, and I don't mean that with any disrespect...admiration, actually. He accompanied Greg on every piece to great and good effect.

The only patter was when Greg mentioned the last time he'd been in Asheville was when they had a major snow, and he was snowed in for 4 days and found the sight of folks trying to drive in it a major amusement. Said he got out and helped educate a few. Also said that this was where he got the inspiration for 'Small Dark Movie' when spying a man that prompted him to ask himself "What IS his damn deal??".

After the show, he and Bo came out and he signed my T-shirt and stood still for a hug (in behalf of Shirley...naturally I would never have otherwise attempted it, but anything for a girlfriend!) and chatted a bit. Mike got his CD signed (note: they did NOT have any available for sale which they should have based on the # I heard asking for them...but maybe there was a prohibition against it that I don't know about).

I wore my T-shirt 'round town during the afternoon and got lots of comment and was able to do a few commercials for those that had not heard of GB, and I saw some of them show up at the show. So the shirts are a good idea for more than one use!

Song List:

Here is the playlist, in order:
  1. Down at the Mill
  2. One Wrong Turn
  3. Speaking in Tongues
  4. Big Jolt of Spring
  5. Small Dark Movie
  6. Think about You
  7. Just by Myself
  8. Slow Food
  9. If You Don't Get It at Home
  10. Some Dusty Woods (about Robert Johnson)
  11. Wild Like a Sonny Boy
  12. Brand New '64 Dodge
  13. Ballingall Hotel
  14. It's Enough, Goddammit
  15. China
  16. If I Had Known
  17. (Encore #1) Poor Back Slider
  18. (Encore #2) Jesus and Elvis