No expectations. They just hoped it would fun. Crazy, huh?
And fun, it was.
There wasn’t a point in the show where I thought…meh or I think I’ll take a bathroom break now. It just felt right. There were more vets with their kids than I’ve seen thus far, the vibe reflected that and the band caught on to the mellow mood immediately. Chalkdust opened with the expected level of excitement, but then it slowly tapered off…in a great way. It felt appropriate to the room and those inside of it. More of a local stop as a favor to the people of Augusta than the next stop on the traveling circus. From Back on The Train through Nellie Kane, the band remained in a down-tempo groove that was unwavering. Highlighted by an excellent effort in Gin and a soulful Jesus Just Left Chicago, the first set finished with 46 Days and Possum – two songs that have tremendous energy, but tonight even those barn burners had a mellow feel.
Building off the home town hoedown, the Civic Center had $5 Magic Hats around every corner, but damn if I could find a bottled water. After searching the entire venue I was finally pointed to a makeshift concession stand in a makeshift meeting room staffed probably by the high school cafeteria staff and some kids on detention.
A first timer for the majority of the room, the decidedly “un-kid-friendly” Fuck Your Face opened set two and weaved in and out of a Mike’s Song that was unique and certainly unexpected. But the next frame was the highlight of the show, pairing two songs that just flat out belong together Light > 20 Years Later dipped in and out of an ambient jam that exemplified the relaxed feeling all night long. This is a must hear and further listens may prove it worthy of the more workable jams of the song’s brief history.
As the set came to a close with A Day In The Life, I turned to the dude behind me and said “First Tube” guaranteed. Looking at the clock it was 11:30, curfew must be 11:45…boy was I wrong. The opening notes to Reba rang out and a moment of “Really? Did this just happen? This isn’t an encore.” overcame me. I texted Scotty and commented “Odd huh? When’s the last time this was an Encore?” 9/21/99 was the answer and what followed was a jam that went completely off the beaten path and was worthy of an eleven year wait between occurrences. The whole of the jam maintained the feel from the entire note resulting in a cohesive show from front to back. They followed with Number Line in an encore that felt more like the beginning of a third set than a final frame. I would have been fine with a whistling ending myself ;)
Set 2: Fuck Your Face > Mike’s Song -> Fuck Your Face -> Mike’s Song -> Fuck Your Face > Light ->Twenty Years Later -> Fast Enough for You, Weekapaug Groove, Halley’s Comet > Free > Harry Hood> Golgi Apparatus, A Day in the Life
Notes: Reba contained a Manteca quote and did not have the whistling ending. First Reba encore since 9/21/99 Tucson.
So tonight everyone will line up outside the Auditorum in Utica, the show everyone skipped Augusta to go see. I’ll remember Augusta for years to come and I pass along this advice to everyone in New York. Walk in with no expectations, it’s just another show.