(alternate title: J.P. Brushes With Greatness)
Three days later, and I’m sitting here reminiscing about what a great time I had at the Manitoba gig on Sat, 3/31. As much as I love the band and their music, it was the unique circumstances of the gig that make it such a special memory. It was a house concert, the first ever for Manitoba. Drew Eckmann, my new hero, was our host for the evening. Drew takes it upon himself to do his part to try and preserve rock + roll by opening up his home in Ringwood, NJ, for concerts.
The more I think about it, the more astonishing the whole concept is to me. I mean, I don’t like it when people I KNOW come in my house, and this guy is generous and kind enough to open his house up to complete strangers. And he’s done it 107 times!! As a result of his dedication, 75 or so drooling, screaming idiots were able to share and enjoy the primal, communal experience that a great concert provides.
I spent a good portion of the night talking to a feisty, funny gal named Jill, who gushed about how energized and full of joy she felt after seeing a band she loved. “It’s our religion!” In one sentence, she completely nailed it — this is our religion. If R+R is truly not the major force it once was, then we’re blessed to have house shows, the musical equivalent of the revival tent, as a place of worship. Thanks, Drew!
The show itself was so relaxed and informal that I half-expected HDM to individually tailor insults to each and every audience member. As it was, he fully indulged his inner Shecky, with several long stories that had band members in tears from laughing so hard. Some of the stories went way out there to follow the laughs, and J.P. and Dean the Dream, the dueling straight men, kept feeding him absurd lines. My favorite of the night:
HDM: “What was that movie where the entertainers went to Florida and had to work a room full of old people in wheelchairs?”
— Salvi C.
Sat’s set list:
• 1. The Party Starts Now!
• 2. Next Big Thing
• 3. Avenue A
• 4. Pussy and Money
• 5. Haircut and Attitude
• 6. Who Will Save Rock + Roll?
• 7. American Beat (debut performance!)
• 8. Slow Death
• 9. Baby Let’s Twist
• 10. Faster and Louder
• 11. New York, New York
• 12. Stay With Me
• 13. Shiksa Goddess, AKA “The Rant”
• 14. Two Tub Man
• 15. California Sun