This was really a concert full of interesting surprises. The first surprise was seeing Mimicking Birds, a band I know a little bit about, as the opening act. Nowhere on the Wilbur theater website or on Jakob Dylan's website did it mention an opening act, yet there they were, this cool new band from Portland whose song, Burning Stars, is seriously fantastic. Such a nice little treat. Right after The Mimicking Birds finished their set a couple of older people arrived looking very rock star-esque and they were definately turning heads. They sat a few seats down from me and I was very quickly able to figure out just who these characters were. (photos from http://www.mickeyraphael.com/news.html and http://www.mainebluessociety.com/shows.html).
Yup the Wooba Gooba with the green teeth, the one and only Peter Wolf, the lead singer of the J. Geils band, was there dressed exactly like he is in that picture. I am only 60% sure that the other person he was with was "Magic Dick", one of the best harmonica players ever. It took 35 minutes between sets so the poor guys were bombarded by fans and autograph signing (what does one do with an autograph? I would like to know) but they were incredibly gracious and very nice guys, I had a good time just listening. While listening to them I started thinking about the best EVER song intro to Musta Been Lost. I passed a good chunk of time making sure I could still remember it, saying "Reputa, Reputa the Beauta...this is a song about L-O-V-E and if you abuse it, you're gonna lose it, and if you lose it, you ain't gonna be able to choose it, cause you ain't going to be able to have it further on down the line..." under my breath until I realized I had nothing of importance to say to these guys. I thought about telling them about my twelve year old self sitting down to memorize that song intro and now I can still recite it word for word (yet I can't multiply by 12 without a calculator) but that was lame. Then I thought about telling them how I used to run around as a kid shouting "Love Stinks!" all the time (actually I still do that), but they probably hear that one a lot. So mainly I just thought it was really cool that they came out to see this concert, but there wasn't really a good, non-awkward, opportunity to lean over and say that, so I just kept thinking about Reputa the Beauta letting down her golden locks and Peter Wolf climbing up to the ladder of her love while trying not to giggle. Even though I didn't get to throw my two cents their way I was still perfectly satisfied just knowing that a few seats down Peter Wolf was doing the very same thing I was on a Thursday night. If you have no idea what I am talking about and you think I am crazy you obviously haven't heard this, go ahead, take a look so we can move on.
Ok now for the real review, actually it is not a review at all, it is a story about serious concert awkwardness that needs to be shared. I would first like to address a slight discrepancy with the way this tour was advertised. It is written as being "Jakob Dylan & Three Legs featuring Neko Case and Kelly Hogan" with no opening act listed. There is no other supplemental information about this tour that explains it any further (at least none that I could easily find). Therefore, it is easy to assume that Kelly Hogan and Neko Case are the opening acts and are on tour with Jakob Dylan and his full band. It was not clear what "featuring" really meant. If I had known that "featuring" meant minor back-up singers I probably wouldn't have gone. Based on some issues that arose I was certainly not the only confused person. When the concert ended the main topic in the crowd was "thats all we got to hear from Neko?", thats how confused people were. "Featuring" does not equate to sha la la back up singer in most peoples' minds. I think it would have been really cool if Jakob sang a Neko song, but that was not on the menu. A lot of the younger crowd was there to see Neko Case and they kept shouting out songs for her to sing and at one point Kelly Hogan quietly said, "you are at the wrong concert for that" and Neko and Kelly kept shaking their heads at the crowd in a "No Neko songs tonight" kind of manner. In fact, the loudest cheers heard all night were when Neko Case was introduced by Jakob Dylan, the crowd was clearly disappointed that she wasn't more prominently "featured". The show was meant to be focused on Jakob Dylan and his songs only, which is totally fine, but I think the audience needed some clarification on that because here is what happened...
The crowd at the Wilbur Theater consisted of only 20-somethings and 50-60 somethings and no other ages in between, which was just strange. It seemed like most of the younger kids were there for Neko Case, especially the loud obnoxious younger kids, while the elders were more interested in Jakob Dylan, reliving their glory days, and talking to Peter Wolf. After the first song, someone in the crowd professed his love for Neko Case and she promptly mouthed "stop" while giving the finger. I thought, "ballsy, do you do that to everyone who says I love you? Or just to your fans in the crowd?" (I wanted to high five her) , Jakob thought "calm the fuck down the show is just starting" as he made urgent calm down motions to Neko. After that song, Jakob Dylan was centimeters away from strumming the first cord of his next song when some guy yelled out "how's your dad?", to which he stared in astonishment, just like most of the audience did, and said "uhh that came so late in the game, I can't even comment on that." Then the charming Kelly Hogan chimed in with "My dad is doing just fine, thanks" and without missing a beat Neko said, "my dad's dead". Cue the crickets. Seriously? Did that really just happen? Dylan jumped right into the song after that and I couldn't help but think how Neko's song, "People got a lotta nerve" makes more sense now that I know that she vehemently hates people who lack concert manners. I can't really blame her, I have issues with those people too, but this was just getting weird. They are seasoned performers, shouldn't they be used to this type of banter from "that guy" by now?
I can't even begin to explain the serious performer to audience tension going on after that, and both sides were struggling to recover. Jakob didn't address the audience for the next few songs and during the time in between songs everyone got freakishly quiet like they were scared something worse was about to happen. It was so quiet that Jakob even commented on it later saying, "it must be because you are a really attentive crowd, I've never seen such a quiet crowd." Jakob did a good job about being light hearted and funny and the crowd loved him. But even later he had to interrupt himself mid-song to speak to the lady right in front of him who was taking non-stop flash pictures (I could even see her flash going off from the balcony) and he asked her to turn off the flash mid-song! How embarrassing is that? I have never seen that happen before. And what type of idiot tries to blind the musician? The funny thing about that is that the first two rows were made up entirely of the older generation and even they didn't have good concert manners. Surprises all around. People got a lotta nerve, am I right Neko?**
What's that? You thought this was supposed to be a place for music not rants (I link to 3 songs in this post btw)? Well, here you go...despite the "issues" the concert was good, like 3.78 out of 5 good. The band he had with him was so incredible, very talented, and a real pleasure to watch. Most of his songs were from his new cd which I really like even though it is a different direction from the Wallflower days. He channels his dad a lot in clothing, stage presence (except I bet nobody has asked Bob how his dad is doing), and especially in his voice, but I mean that in the best way possible. He doesn't necessarily try to be his dad but there are just certain parallels that are impossible to ignore. My favorite part, other than being able to taste the tension in the air, was when he played 6th Avenue Heartache, which I didn't think was going to happen. Seeing the classic 90s hit played live made my night, I forgot how good that song was, the heavy guitars and the lyrics, and the simple fact that you just can't hear songs like that played on the radio anymore. He also played 3 Marlenas which made me secretly hope he would play my favorite Wallflower song, "Closer", but I knew that was wishing for too much. Maybe when I get the pictures uploaded I will write you a proper rant-free review. But you should know that at the end of the night when Jakob Dylan said "Thank you Boston" you had to wonder if he really meant it.
**Maybe I read into the tension a little too much, maybe I do that because I pay close attention to awkward moments since they follow me around, but you should know that in all seriousness this was a bit extreme. I have never been at a concert where those things have happened. Now I will be curious to read some reviews about this tour, especially reviews on tonight's show, to see what other people say. If you hear any news, send it my way. Also, please do tell me if I am a complete idiot for not getting the meaning of "featuring". Thanks