Monday, March 2, 2009

Greg Brown Photos etc.

Two Greg Brown shows in two nights in two cities. I've been told that doing that is crazy too many times to count. Maybe it is. I've been asked why I would see the same artist two nights in a row. Well, that's easy...I do it because I love it, I do it because the chances to see Greg Brown are too few and far between. Maybe I do it because I'm crazy...but I also do it because each and every show can be vastly different than the last. The shows this weekend were no exception. Show number one was Saturday at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis. Show number two was Sunday night at the Pioneer Place Theater in St. Cloud.

My post today will mostly be pictures, but I'll throw in a little bit of other stuff here and there. The first difference between the shows was that the show at the Cedar didn't allow cameras. Bummer. But the show at the Pioneer Place did. Cool! Noelie McDonnell opened for Greg both evenings.

He is a folk singer from Galway, Ireland. I loved his Irish brogue. He was charming, he was engaging...and even better yet, he could sing! This photo was taken as he was describing a song that he wrote for his mum...after he had forgotten her birthday. Grimace.

Brian was with when we saw him at the Cedar and was really impressed. He bought one of his CD's. After the show at the Pioneer he was standing near the CD's he had for sale, so we bought another one and had it signed for Brian. He was so nice, a very friendly lad. :-) And yes, it meant we had two of the same CD, but Brian wanted one to give his friend and I am all for supporting young musicians.

If you are interested in checking him out, he has some music samples on his website. I think you'll like him.

Now on to Greg Brown. His buddy Bo Ramsey played with him both nights. They've played together for years and years.

Bo is married to Greg's oldest daughter Pieta. I don't know how I would feel if a friend of mine married one of my kids....I think it would be weird. They still play music together, so it must be OK. :-)

The stage at the Pioneer was a little was the set for a play that has been showing there. Noelie said that he had checked the fridge and it was beer there.

Bo is the guy with the white cowboy hat. He plays electric guitar, he usually has 4 or 5 with him and will switch off depending on the song. He's tall and thin and bops his head around sort of like a bobble head doll...and is usually grimacing....but he's very talented....and entertaining.

Greg started out with his acoustic guitar both nights and then switched to an electric Flying Vee about halfway through. Both sounded great. He almost always wears a hat of some kind. Both nights it was this knit stocking cap. Shades on the first night, no glasses the next.

Like I said, Bo and Greg have played together forever, they seem to be able to communicate with out speaking. It's sort of fun to watch.

At the Cedar people were annoyingly yelling out song requests. You can tell Greg doesn't like it.

Eventually he said, "hmmm, you guys know all the same songs that I do." Things improved after that and people didn't yell as much. Wouldn't a note placed on the stage before the concert for a special song be much less intrusive than someone yelling it out?

No one was that rude at the Pioneer....and it showed in Greg's mood. It also showed in that he played quite a bit longer. So just a warning...if you go to a Greg Brown show with me and yell out a request...I might just slap you upside the head. Just kidding. :-) I'd use duct tape.

Greg's words are expressive. His music is expressive.

His face is really expressive.

And I felt very fortunate to capture some of it on the Pioneer....not the Cedar. Eric sweetly asked for me before hand...because I'm too shy (chicken) you know. So the lady he asked had to ask a guy who actually went and checked with Greg. Thank you Greg! So I talked to a guy that talked to a lady that talked to a guy that talked to Greg...that means we are pretty close buds doesn't it??

Ummm...yeah, whatever. Eric figured out how to turn down the display on the back of the camera so the light wouldn't bother anyone. I tried to mostly take pictures during loud parts of the songs, or during the applause.

And even though the lighting was tough, and I couldn't and wouldn't use a flash....

...some of them turned out kind of OK.

And during the standing ovation at the end of the show I snuck up to the front of the theater...

....along the wall. And I took a few close ups. I was nervous but did it anyway. Sometimes you have to just do it know what I mean?

The guys had given it their all from the first note to the last. The show in St. Cloud was better somehow, more relaxed. And the seats were many times more comfortable. That helped. It was an all around amazing Greg Brown weekend.

Going to two shows in two nights isn't such a bad thing. Repeated songs ~ Noelie maybe 2, Greg and Bo ~ zero. So really, it was sort of like one long show with a day to rest in between. And if that makes me sound like less of a Greg Brown fanatic....I'm sticking to it. :-)

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