STEVE MORSE BAND / DIXIE DREGS
12.08.00, Huntington, Long Island, NY, USA
Николай Совейко, firstname.lastname@example.org
ok, i'm back from the road and have sorted out the
stuff requiring immediated
saw two (well, almost three) great bands in two days.
had a great time.
day 1, sat august 12 2000
(scene #1): picture me and my buddy pete (a huge
dp/morse fan) in his cherokee truck at the u.s. border.
[immigration officer = o] why are you going to the
[us] to see a concert
[o] what is the concert?
[us] it's dixie dregs
[o] what's that? is it a band?
[us] yes. it's sort of hard rock/country/fusion band
[o] never heard of them
[methinks] no wonder ;)
[o] do you have the tickets?
[us] no, we're going to pick them up at the box office
[o] yeah, but it's probably sold out?!
[me] i've reserved two tickets with my credit card
[o] do you have a confirmation?
[me] no, it was over the phone
[o, looking suspicious] what do you have in the back?
[us] just a change of clothes and some cds for the road
[o, looks at our disarray of belongings with more and
[me] well, if this helps... tomorrow we go to another
concert, in utica, and i have tickets for that one...
[o] that's ok, get in.
(scene #2): checking to the motel
[portier] so where are you from?
[me] i live in canada
[p] come here for vacation?
[me] no, just for the weekend. how much would be a cab
to the imac theater?
[p] (this and that). are you going to see this
japanese piano player?
[me] no, dixie dregs
[p] what's that?
[me] it's a jazz/rock band
[p] hey, they must be from down south somewhere
[me] yeah, started at the u of florida, now scattered
all around the place
[p] are they good?
[me] we've just driven 500 miles to see them, so they
BETTER be good!
after almost a 9 hour drive complicated by what seemed
like a torrential rain, we arrived to long island. checked
into the motel and took a cab to the venue to pick up our tickets.
there were two shows that day, at
8pm and 10:30pm, both smb/dregs. we were heading for
the second one. should have gone for both as i now realize, but having to be
there by 8 was a little too tough of a drive. i asked the bouncers if
10:30 is when the doors open or the show actually starts and got an answer
that that's when the show is supposed to start (yeah, right!).
we retired to a pub conveniently located right across
the street. not bad if pricey concidering the ridiculous exchange rate that
canadian dollar enjoyed recently. returned to the venue around 10:15 only to
see the people just start getting out from the 'matinee' gig. they barely
managed to empty the place by 10:30. got in at around 11:00, checked
the bars (yukes!) and merchandise stall. $20 t-shirts were all gone. they
also had a bunch of cds on sale for 20 bucks each. couple of reissues of early
smb and a variety of solo projects by present smb/dregs members.
the venue ( http://www.imactheater.org )
is an old movie theater now run by a non-profit organization that tends to bring in mostly
jazz acts. *very* nice place. has about 20 rows of seats, all in rather steep
amphitheatre, so wherever you seat, you get an excellent view of the
stage. no bad seats, only excellent and good ones. total capacity probably
about 800-1000 people, not quite sold out.
the show started at around 11:15, preceded by a brief
introduction from the
promoter: no audio or video recordings, but taking
pictures is ok, even with
a flash. bummer!
the show itself was, well, nothing short of stunning.
they started as a
trio: steve, dave larue and van romaine. played
several smb tracks (sorry,
i couldn't recognize all of them). steve's hand was in
much better shape
than on montreux broadcast. if you didn't know his
wrist is broken, you
couldn't tell there's something wrong. the cast was
gone, he weared sort of
a semi-rigid band/bracelet extending half way up to
his elbow, silverish in
colour. could very well pass as a part of heavy rocker
attire, not a med
thingy. his playing ability is 100% restored, but
obviously still was quite
painful. at one time during the keyboard solo, he got
out of the spotlight
and was holding his arm up doing finger excercises to
restore blood flow (or
as it seemed to me).
approx 40 minutes later the trio was joined by jerry
goodman on violin.
bummer! his amp didn't work, so some hastily running
technicians were observed
on stage. steve immediately sensed this and filled in
the violin parts
on guitar. they finished the track and during an
steve entertained the audience with some petty chat.
rik emmett might do a
better stand up comedy, but the impromptu
bluegrass-ish jam that followed
was a real treat. van romaine retired backstage and
the band was joined by t
lavitz (keyb) and morgenstein on drums, so the smb
smoothly became dixie
they did a variety of dregs tracks, most of them
appearing on the live
album. they also did =birds of fire= of mahavishnu
fame followed by =the
bash= at which point i almost wet my pants how good it
was. mahavishnu is
one of my all-time favs and birds of fire is probably
the most favourite
track (together with =dawn= and =you know you know=
from the =inner mounting
flame=). this weird riff played on violin and bass in
unison sends shivers
down my spine. almost a physical pleasure.
at one point steve introduced morgenstein as being a
keyboard player at
heart (and before he took on drums) and even more so,
a jazz keyboard
player. he got out of his kit and did a very nice
bebop duo with lavitz
(morgenstein on electric piano and lavitz on hammond).
a special treat was saved for the encore: double drum
solo performed by van
romaine and morgenstein. they switched doing solos and
keeping rhythm for
good 5 mins or so. very tight. this followed by a jam
with all of the gang
on stage. naturally, everyone got a solo spot or two.
overall, a fantastic
gig! yes, you hear this from a guy who find most of
the smb albums boring
(music for musicians, not for ordinary fans).
had *one* at the same pub and got outdoors to wait for
our cab to take us
back to the motel. cabbies in long island are
definitely not in a hurry and
take their time. while waiting, we see a rental ryder
truck pulled to the
front door (no back doors apparently) and the roadies
load it with
equipment. the truck left and nobody else, but steve
himself shows up,
in his beach sandals and carrying his guitar and
overnight bag. he's still been
awaited by about 20 fans, whom he entertained in his
usual down to earth
manner. all the pictures were taken, all the stuff
signed (one guy had a
HUGE pile of magazines and cd booklets), all the
questions answered. 'how's
your wrist?' - 'it sure hurts like hell!'. he was back
wearing the cast.
we got our tix signed and
decided not to hold on the guy - it was around 2am
and he had a gig to play
next day. so he left, walking down the street to the
parking lot and
accompanied by a roadie. so much for the rock star
day 2, sun august 13 2000
got up in the morning and decided to pay tribute to
this other guitar player
that is living in the neighbourhood. breakfast at the
normandy inn -- what a
way to start a day! yeah, right! the place is closed
on sundays. medieval
mayhem? say hi to lady robyn? another bummer. lady
robyn is on vacations
until monday. the place is closed too.
ok, now onto the upstate tour: get to utica, where
we're meeting with jim
for a jethro tull show. we originally planned to see
them in montreal,
st.denis theatre (same place as the purps played in
'96), but montreal was
sold out 5 weeks in advance. utica is a lovely small
city approx halfway
between new yourk and toronto. very clean and quiet,
if not too quiet. guess
what? the irish pub around the corner from the venue
is closed on sundays.
there must be something fundamentally wrong with
utican irish! jim was already
on his way, so some emergency cellphone calls were
made and messages left to
divert him to a nearest fine establishment where three
gentlemen can indeed
entertain themselves for a pint on a sunday afternoon.
as it was discovered
later, the message reached him only at 5:30am next
morning, waking up the
whole gang and putting jim into lots of worrying about
the entertainment provided proved to be so smooth that
we almost missed the
start of the gig (apparently, the opening act so well
advertized on the marquee,
disappeared into the void). when we entered the hall,
the first song was
already being played. had to resort to not so perfect
(still not bad) seats
at the back. the venue looks like a rather lavishly
decorated theatre circa
late 1800s - early 1900s. strange to see a rock band
place. tull were up to the expectations, except for
rather quiet sound. i
like it loud, this wasn't. the setlist they played was
hits' type with occasional newer track tucked here and
there. most of the
old stuff was performed very well and tight with some
notably, thick as a brick medley) that are obviously
out of the ian's
present day vocal range (draw a parallel with this
singer from another band
often discussed here). i actually like their two last
albums very much and
would love to see more of the new stuff played live.
there's an obvious
obstacle to this -- fans expecting to hear old hits. i
like the way dream
theater handled same situation on their last tour.
they played the whole new
album live which took a bigger chunk of the show and
then did a 30 min
medley encore of the older hits. i'd love to see more
bands (notably tull
and purple) following the same idea. it might require
certain guts to do so,
but what the f*ck?!
the promised sixpack awaiting us back at the motel
turned out to be .5%
'ale-style beverage' (no, i'm not pointing any fingers
here!), so pehaps one
routine turned out to be almost perhaps none. had to
fix it the next day.
thanks everybody for reading this rant.
WWW . DEEP-PURPLE . RU