poco w/special guest idlewheel: concerts under the stars

this show had been a bold date on my calendar from the time i found out we’d booked it. not only because we were on the bill with poco, but because it meant the likely one-night only appearance of our side project, idlewheel.

idlewheel in king of prussia
idlewheel in king of prussia

idlewheel is a bittersweet thing for me. we get these short snippets of time to work with, and the pattern seems strong enough to say that it’s consistent – we get a day to rehearse, then we go out and do anywhere from a couple to maybe four gigs. by the time that fourth gig comes around, we’re as formidable a force as you might encounter. we’ve gotten our feet underneath us, we’re in the pocket, we’re tearin’ it up….

…and then it’s time to go home.

parting is such sweet sorrow, indeed. but, hey – i guess as long as we’re throwing around literary cliches, let’s not forget that it is better than to never have rocked at all.

it really is as much fun as it looks like...
it really is as much fun as it looks like...

i relish our opportunities to do this, so i was hopeful that there’d be at least a brief idlewheel segment to the show, and sure enough i wasn’t disappointed.

we split the show, with a craig solo set (which, in reality, was essentially idlewheel without jack, since tommy and i were accompanying him), and then jack joined us for “little red reminders”, dust of this town”, and “it must be love”.

in the interest of keeping set up and load out as simple as possible, craig had asked that i stick to acoustic instruments only, so i had brought dobro, mandolin, and banjo for the show, and that was enough – we had a relatively short set, and that was all i really needed. i substituted dobro for baritone guitar on “you’re the power” and “this old house”, mandolin for 12 string electric guitar on “it must be love” and i worked out a rolling dobro part for “giant steps”, which craig dedicated to ten day old daniel hampton, who was attending his first concert on the lawn with mommy and his grandparents, only a few days after being released from thomas jefferson university hospital in philadelphia.

with the "ginjo"...why do i hate that word so much?
with the "ginjo"...why do i hate that word so much?

to think that, originally, we had planned on wendy being pregnant for this show – but danny got to see this one from outside. his first concert was poco…wendy and i saw poco twice on our honeymoon…we’re all pretty solidly intertwined now. 🙂

in fact, if this show reinforced anything for me, it was just how intertwined all of my circle has become – from the musicians i play with to the people who come to the shows to my family, it’s all become one big circle at this point – i feel pretty lucky in that respect, too. i mean, musicians who i admired and looked up to as a kid are now interspersed with the people that i play with on a regular basis, and in some cases have become colleagues moreso than heroes…which is an odd thing to say out loud. certainly, if you’d told me back in the day…when i used to listen to the “indian summer” and “legend” 8 tracks on endless repeat in my bedroom at 907 patterson road in savannah, tennessee…if you’d told me then that someday i’d be friends with, would share the stage with, would play with, some of the people i’ve played with…i’d have said you were pulling my leg.

on the outer perimeter - where the PA isn't so loud.
on the outer perimeter - where the PA isn't so loud.

nonetheless, the set came off great – save for the fact that there was apparently a banjo issue. my friend pete conway emailed me in the week following the show to mention that he didn’t hear the banjo at all during the song i used it on. and, sure enough, when i got the DVD of the show from jon rosenbaum, it proved him out. i could hear it through the monitors, but it wasn’t coming through the mains at all. bummer.

craig sounded great, poco sounded great, daniel seemed to be enjoying his first concert ever, and we had a field full of friends and well-wishers on hand to welcome the little man into the world.

not a bad way to spend a sunday evening, i’d say.

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