Saturday, September 24, 2005

Danko @ The Cubby Bear

In what is surely the roots rock equivalent to a Fireside Chat by FDR, Rick Danko takes the stage at Chicago's Cubby Bear in the shadow of Wrigley Field. This intimate setting reveals Rick as a man who still has the vocal chops to captivate and sooth even the rowdiest crowd. He actually comes across as a white man's John Lee Hooker throughout the performance.
The show starts off a little rough as he has to battle the feedback from the stage monitors and has no problems telling the soundman just how he feels. After a few songs the problems get ironed out and we are left to bask in his simple, yet ultimately, mesmerizing performance.
It's just Danko and his acoustic guitar kicking out a number of blues numbers, crowd sing-alongs, and a few hits for good measure.He's joined onstage by longtime sidekick Sredi Vollmer on harp. As is noted, the levels of the harp are a little low on the recording but not enough to make the listener strain. Rick's guitar playing is a little sloppy at times, but it kind of adds to the wonderful "living room" feel of the concert. It's as if we are lucky enough to be present at a private party in his Woodstock residence where the libations and herb flow freely.
In fact, in the info file that came along with the music files I downloaded, it's noted that the taper was able to get access to the soundboard because of a little deal he was able to arrange with Danko that involved some of the green stuff(and I ain't talking about money). Lucky for us and Rick! He's very loose on stage, taking requests from the crowd and inciting them to sing along at every opportunity.
The sound on the recording is rather good although there are points of near distortion because of Rick's proximity to the vocal microphone. But again, nothing that takes from the performance. The show does end rather abruptly during an acapella version of "Rivers Of Babylon". Asking the crowd to sing along, Danko quits mid verse and walks off stage leaving the crowd scratching their heads in bewilderment.
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Date: 12/9/89
Performer: Danko, Rick
Location: Chicago, IL Cubby Bear
Source/Quality/Length: SB/VG+/79min.
Note: w/Shredni. levels low

Song list:

Mystery Train
Crazy Mama
I Shall Be Released
Little Red Rooster
It Maks No Difference
Stage Fright
The Weight
Long Black Veil
It's Raining In My Heart
Sip the Wine
CC Rider
Blaze of Glory
Java Blues
Shape I'm In
Every Night & Every Day
Rivers of Babylon

iPod Song of the Day: "Chest Fever" from The Band's Music From Big Pink


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