It was a normal drive home when my oldest son, Ben, called me and asked if I knew who was performing in town that night. He said, "Dad, it's your favorite artist of all time." After a full days work and pulling up to my bank I drew a huge blank. "Dad, Frank Black is doing a solo performance. I say you go buy some clothes at Walmart and turn around and head back." He needled me and I had about three minutes until the bank closed and thought I should give it a try. Pulled out some cash and headed home. I still had time for that. I skipped the Walmart suggestion. Sat down at the computer and sent a couple of messages out and one came back instantly saying "What are you doing wasting time telling me. Go man and Good luck." It was from Snagg.
The reason I needed good luck is because the show was sold out. But there was the slight chance that someone may be there selling a ticket. I head back to KC and see clouds moving in. Oh great. By the time I found a parking spot it started raining again. I ran to the venue and fortunately there were awnings protecting us from the rain. The lightning was pretty intense. One must of hit just a block away.
To the right of me was two street performers playing John Prine tunes. It's funny to me how some things just flow in life. I had just picked up a Prine cd and knew the songs they were playing. A week earlier and I wouldn't have had a clue. Anyway I did have the opportunity to donate money to a guy that came up and was asking me and the young dude standing next to me. We both declined. The kid just shook his head and I came up with some lame reasons until I told him I have eight kids. I don't think he believed me but that ran him off.
Finally standing next to the bouncer, I ask if there was anyway I could get in. "Not without a ticket" There were several people that stopped by and when they found it was sold out they left. There was about five of us standing by the door. Then with about ten minutes until show time the bouncer says, "Okay, they're letting people come in now." Success.
Okay so the crowd was a bit younger than me. Okay so I could have been the father of about seventy percent of the attenders. This was the second show I had gone to alone. I'd rather have company but with short notice....The venue holds about 250 people. I find a spot to stand about fifteen feet from the stage and wait. Remember this is the muggy Midwest. The stage area was full and only two slowly turning ceiling fans. It was getting hot. I have very active pores. I think my ancestors were Laplanders. Frank comes on stage and starts the show. With an electric guitar, he opens with a couple of Pixies tunes and then goes into some from his Frank Black and the Catholics era. I finally had to move where it wasn't so hot. I made my way out of the crowd and to the bar area. About 20 degrees cooler. And spent the rest of the time near the back of the standing crowd.
Of course the crowd went wild when he played Monkey Gone To Heaven and Where Is My Mind? (closing song in Fight Club) I enjoyed those but got more joy out of hearing some of his more current stuff. I knew every song except for two of them. He said a couple of times during the show that we were going to have to indulge him as he played songs that most of them probably hadn't heard. He thanked them for applauding one that he was certain no one hardly even knew. He's usually known for not talking much to the crowd but he did, which was nice, at this show.
You got to love a guy, well maybe just me, that writes a song with the first word of each line spelling out a message. "Robert Onion'
Robert leads me into thought
Onion layers wait for you
Bounty of eternal fields
Every muscle knot I feel
Robert tell me what to do
Tell exactly what you're not, yeah
Tails pushing grand whales
Heads hope to have the stuff
Each flag had no sail
Can you believe enough?
And though Diana calls to you
She will never never yield
Every siren has her spot
Four hundred million
Oh that was very far
Robert sweet Onion
Makes me feel so tired
Another layer and layers and layer, oh no
Robert can you find your way?
Show me the way to come
He played the following song and it was one of my favorites at the show.