09 November 2007
my aim is true...
wow i was a part of the coolest thing last night.
undoubtedly the two main non- family/friend reasons i love sf so so much are the weather and the live music. that it is an epicurean wonderland, populated by truffles and unicorns, is a close third, and that i feel like lots of people here byob to the grocery store* also sincerely pleases me and helps me believe that all is not lost.
but last night i got to see elvis costello perform his debut record, 'my aim is true', in it's entirety [favorite quote of the night: after 'sneaky feelings', elvis quipped that it was "time to flip the record over" before going into 'red shoes']. the performance was held at the great american music hall, a wonderful venue where i've seen maria taylor, midlake, thurston moore, and of montreal. many of you will most likely remember it from the tweedy solo show segment of 'i am trying to break your heart'.
backing him was none other than clover-- the band that played with him on the original recording-- adding to the significance of the evening. i went with an out of town friend [in town fortuitously and available when the wife bailed on me] and when we got there at 9:15 [doors were at 9:30] there already were two huge lines, broken up by last names a-l and m-z. it was all will call [why on earth do they call it that?], which i'll always tolerate and accept because i know it's an anti- scalper thing** but a pain in the ass nonetheless, but by 9:50 or so we were in the line for the bar and all was well. after a short set that started promptly at 10:00 by two older gentlemen whose names i never caught, the man himself hit the stage.
i have to stop for just one second-- and i don't want to turn into a jerry seinfeld/ dennis miller thing here-- but last night i was stuck behind some asshole in a porkpie hat, blocking my view. okay i get that these hats are supposed to be timeless, and i may even have a something similar that i wear from time to time, but, once indoors, formalities require gentlemen to remove them, don't they? it's what would've been done in sinatra's day, and isn't that supposed to be the fuckin' point?
sorry about that. so like i said, elvis & co. hit the stage around 10:40 or so and they did their thing. he [and they] sounded great, and even from behind the walking anachronism i could tell that he wasn't having to rely too much on the music stand in front of him, something i always kind of wince at [talking to you, lou reed]. he was funny and nostalgic, for obvious reasons, telling great stories from before he was elvis costello***: about how spoiled and luxuriant he felt staying at the howard johnson's [he called it a 'hojo', which in and of itself was pretty rad] in mill valley on his first tour, having come from the traveler's hell that was london, england at the time, and of battling the better- than- average- sized rats in the recording studio where they all did the very album we were there to celebrate.
in short, he was affable, gregarious, and he played a great set. he did a few acoustic numbers solo as an encore but nothing i recognized, as he basically said he wasn't doing anything from before 1977.
and the whole thing was a benefit for the richard de lone special housing project, a new non- profit "with the mission of working toward providing a state- of- the- art residential group home setting in marin county, california, capable of serving both children and adults with prader- willi syndrome and utilizing best practice techniques to serve the prader- willi population. by extension, we hope to be able to benefit all people who need to live in special care facilities".
"prader- willi syndrome [pws] is a rare and random complex genetic disorder affecting appetite, growth, metabolism, cognitive function and behavior... our goals are twofold: to raise public awareness... and to raise funds... to give these kids, who have such a tough prospect in life, a chance to enjoy themselves".
so there you go, dear readers. elvis costello did his job last night and i hope i've done mine just now. please go to www.pwsusa.org or www.rdshp.org to make a donation. have a great weekend.
**also i have no choice.
***his given name was declan mcmanis. and i knew that off the top of my head. also i know the given names of sting [gordon sumner], slash [saul hudson], alice cooper [vincent furnier], and elton john [reginald dwight]... i have no idea why.