Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Starsailor And Cheap Trick And Dave ...

Earlier tonight, I went to see Starsailor at The Double Door.

How in the name of God is this band not huge? There was a good turnout tonight, but there couldn't have been more than a couple hundred people. KT Tunstall played to a much bigger house at the Park West back in March.

Dave is the one who turned me on to this band. I am completely hooked. I listened to "Love Is Here" on the way to the gig. It's a great album. It was released in 2001, and the band has released two more albums since then. But you've never heard of them, have you? It's a damn shame. Someday, they're gonna play big venues. They have to. There is no musical justice in the world if this band doesn't break into the big time. You'd think that opening for the Rolling Stones this summer would have added some weight to their name, but I don't get the sense that they're reaping any real benefit from their Stones connection. Not yet, at least. Though their second album went platinum, so someone's listening to them. I suspect they're much bigger across the pond.

Physically, James, the lead singer, reminds me of Joaquin Phoenix sometimes, Ashton Kutcher other times, then both of them and then neither of them. But musically, the band is grouped with Keane and Coldplay. Maybe. But I was hearing moments of U2 tonight in the encore tune.

Tonight's show was a 21+ so Dave, sadly, couldn't bring his daughter along. ("You need to get her a fake ID," I said tonight, after the show. Dave 'fessed up to having one when he was younger. Dave? The most honest person on the face of the planet, had a fake ID? I love that!) So this turned out to be our first concert together. We didn't go together. We each went and met up there. But this was the first time we were at a gig where we could hang together, alone. In nearly 12 years of knowing each other.

It felt strange.

We ended up in the balcony where we could sit and chat about the songs without yelling at each other as we were doing on the main floor at the beginning of the set. And then, after I pulled a promotional poster off the wall for him to take home to Nat (he couldn't score a set list), we headed outside to find a quiet place to catch up, but wouldn't you know it? Bars and the like don't stay open past midnight on a Monday. So we walked to his SUV and he drove me to my car. He pulled up behind a car and put his in park, letting the engine idle. He continued his tale of the past few weeks and I reached over and turned off the ignition. "Who are you kidding?" I said. Dave and I are incapable of a goodbye that doesn't last at least 30 minutes. We always think of more things to say.

He finished his story and turned things over to me. I caught him up on my life: work, the walk, recording, my family, Pat.

"He's a lot like you," I said. "Which is saying a lot, as you set the bar. You're the standard by which all other men in my life are judged. Which isn't really fair to them."

Dave, who is a very accomplished blusher most of the time, was unexpectedly even-keeled. "Well, thanks, Beth," he said. "That's very kind."

But it's true. I told him I've thought it would be cool if I could just clone him, but I'd have to clone him present-day. I couldn't clone him as a baby and then wait for him to get to this age. Or maybe I could wait 30 years, and then I'd be a woman in my 60s with a hot younger guy. "Like Cher!," I said. He laughed.

He didn't have his iPod with him, so he was Starsailor-less for the drive home. I told him to wait, and I ran across the street to my car where I popped my copy of the album out of my CD player and grabbed the rest of the dark chocolate-covered espresso beans that we had just been noshing on which I'd produced from the inside pocket of my jean jacket. I walked up to his window and handed him the bag of beans and the tunes. I figured it was more important for him to listen on the way home than me. He popped a CD out of his player and said, "Well, here, then you should take this. It's the new Cheap Trick."

I didn't know there was a new Cheap Trick. But there is. And it's fabulous. Dave used to open for them, back in his earlier rocker days. He said I'd dig Track 3 ("If It Takes A Lifetime") and he's right. It's fab. I called him moments after we got on the road to tell him so. Wow. And Track 4 is good, as promised. But when he told me that there were some Beatles-sounding tunes, I wasn't prepared for Track 5, "O Claire." It's totally like listening to Paul and the boys. Seriously. It's uncanny. It's almost unsettling. But very cool.

So, Starsailor, a new band that's not new, and Cheap Trick, an old band that just keeps reinventing itself yet retaining its trademark sound. "Rockford" is their latest. Check it out.


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