Tag Archives: Beatles

Dopa-Blog: The Road Journal of Dopapod – #5, “Flying,” Dirty Hotels, and Michigan

As Dopapod hits the road in anticipation of their upcoming album, Never Odd or Even, (due out November 11), they have agreed to be our eyes and ears on the front-line of Rock-n-Roll and report to Honest Tune about what life on the road is really like for a touring band.  The band will periodically be checking in and delivering their thoughts and musings from the road.  This time around Rob Compa comes to us after finishing a run of shows through the Midwest.

 

 

15423570792_6219bf1c92_oAhoy!!! Ahoy… Did you guys know that the term “Ahoy” was the word that Alexander Graham Bell (ya know that old dead dude that invented the telephone) originally wanted use as the universal greeting when someone picked up the phone? Apparently Thomas Edison (that other dead guy) changed it to the hello that we know and love today. I just learned that today. I always thought that was just some shit pirates or sailors said to each other. Whadya know?

 

Alright, on to business.

 

After leaving the beautiful state of Colorado, we headed to Omaha Nebraska for a Tuesday show at The Waiting Room. The show started off fine, but a couple minutes into the second tune Eli and I completely lost power on stage. After years of playing shows, I’ve learned that the worst thing you can do in situation like that is stop having fun. You just have to roll with it and take whatever the rock gods throw your way. That being said, I had a hard time shaking my frustration for the next couple tunes. I finally was brought out of my funk when we brought Matt from Tauk up to play some guitar on one of our newer songs, “Dracula’s Monk.” I had a great time playing music with him, and it was definitely the highlight of my night.


The next day we headed to The Bottleneck in Lawrence, KS. Early in the day, I settled down to restring my guitar and watch the Orioles and Royals ALCS game. I was an Orioles fan when I was a kid, so it would’ve been cool to see them win, but I also enjoy rooting for the underdog, so I was happy to see the Royals win. Very cool. {editor’s note: The Honest Tune editor of this piece is from Baltimore and does not find this very cool.} As for the rest of my day, I can’t really say that anything else too noteworthy happened. The show was a good time, for sure, but after so many shows I can’t necessarily remember details from every single one.

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We arrived in St. Louis on Thursday to discover that 13 bands had had their trailers broken into just that month in that same neighborhood. Yikes! That’s not exactly news we’re happy to get. Anyway, we appreciated the heads up and took some extra precautions. Before show time, I got some chicken and vegetable Tikka Masala that totally blew my mind. Best meal I’ve had this tour. The show went well and I personally felt really good about my playing that night. I felt like I had a lot to say and my hands were letting me say it.

 

15420739531_b171874a07_oBecause of all the theft problems in St. Louis, we drove for a couple hours to get out of town. By the time we got to the hotel, it was somewhere around 5 AM. As Luke (our lighting designer) and I walked into our hotel room to finally get some Z’s, we discovered that our bed had been slept in, and our toilet was filled with old shit and it wouldn’t flush. I personally would’ve preferred a mint on my pillow or something. Well anyways, we quickly got a new room and got what sleep we could manage.

 

We all woke up the next morning needing way, way more sleep than we had actually gotten, which isn’t at all abnormal. We arrived in Chicago the next morning fatigued, but stoked to play one of our favorite cities. The set contained some really great improvising. We even found ourselves playing an impromptu covers of “Flying” by the Beatles and “Brain Stew” by Green Day. Ya gotta love finding yourself in some cover that you’ve never played or talked about before, just via improvisation. We had a great time.

The next day was a little bittersweet for us because our long time manager, Jason Gibbs, flew out that morning to finally get off the road with us and become our, well, just plain manager -that means not touring with us anymore. I’m gonna miss my Pep Pep. He’s a good Pep Pep and I’ll miss sitting on his lap and hearing whimsical bed time stories about settlement, back end deals, and radius clauses. But luckily, our buddy Aaron Hagele took over the duties of road management, and has since then been doing a great job for us. Thanks Aaron!

 

I arrived to the Mousetrap in Indianapolis filled with excitement, not because of the show so much as the anticipation of eating the delicious beef stew that the venue regularly serves. I look forward to it every time we tour in the Midwest. The Mousetrap is a tiny little place, but the crowd there always goes nuts, which we just love. This time was no different. It felt great to play our songs and see people singing the words along with us, and it made our day to start a song and see people in the crowd cheer with glee because they got to hear the one song they were hoping we would play. We even had one dude crowd surfing! Good times.

 

Grand-Rapids-MIAnd finally, we ended our run in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at the Stache. After our sound check, we all headed to the Founders Brewery down the street to grab a bite and try some good beer. Gotta love Michigan’s abundance of beer. The show was a good time, but that old feeling of playing the sixth show in row was definitely apparent to all four of us, so the next two days were spent at our good friends Rick and Pam VandeKerkhoff in Rockford. We make sure to spend a few days with Rick and Pam every time we’re in town. They’re the parents of one of our good friends from Berklee, Kyle, and they’re two of the coolest people on the planet. We’ve spent the last two days filling our bellies with beer, whiskey, chorizo strata, seven layer dip, and meatloaf sandwiches. It just doesn’t get any better.

 

Anyhow, that concludes our journey for now! Tomorrow we’ll embark on three shows with one of our favorite bands, Umphrey’s Mcgee, so I’m sure I’ll have some good road stories for all of you lovely folks. Later!

Sir Paul Rocks FedEx Forum With Nearly Forty Songs

Paul McCartney performing on his signature Hofner bass.
Paul McCartney performing on his signature Hofner bass.

Even though he’d only played Memphis three previous times in his long and illustrious career—the Beatles played two shows in one day at the Mid South Coliseum in 1966, and he played a solo gig at the Liberty Bowl in 1993—Sir Paul McCartney seemed to feel right at home when he played to a packed FedEx Forum crowd Sunday night.

Though he has been bestowed the rank of knight, he played more the role of jester for much of the night, an amiable goofball determined to entertain with confident swagger, easygoing demeanor, wry wit and an effortless command of his impressive repertoire.

Over the course of nearly 40 songs and almost three hours, he sampled his catalogue of tunes with the Beatles, Wings and as a solo artist, walloping the crowd with a show of impressive vitality for a group of any age, much less from a man nearing his 71st birthday.

He started with a blast, forging his way through “Eight Days a Week,” “Junior’s Farm” and “All My Lovin’” while sporting his signature Hofner bass guitar before pausing to chat with the crowd and soak up the adoration, some of it coming from women screaming just as loudly as they might have across town back in ’66.

Later, he would switch to guitar for “Let Me Roll It” which concluded with a fuzzy, woozy jam on “Foxy Lady,” which seemed to be sandwiched in just so McCartney could tell a funny story about Jimi Hendrix asking Eric Clapton to tune his guitar at a club show in London.

McCartney moved to piano for a sequence that included “Maybe I’m Amazed” and “The Long and Winding Road,” then back to guitar (guitarist Brian Ray filled in on bass duties when Sir Paul changed to other instruments) for an acoustic segment highlighted by “Blackbird,” performed on an elevated platform.

Throughout the performance, his lean, adept band – Brian Ray on guitar and bass, Rusty Anderson on guitar, Paul Wickens on keyboards and Abe Laboriel, Jr. on drums — proved amazingly capable of capturing the full range of styles represented by this vast body of work.

McCartney took his banter time as an opportunity to repeatedly offer his appreciation and gratitude to the fans (especially the ones up top in the $85 “cheap” seats), the crew, the band, and his former bandmates as he dedicated songs to his fallen Beatle brethren — “Here Today” for John on solo acoustic and “Something” for George, on which he played Harrison’s favorite instrument, the ukulele. At one point he noted that the music of Memphis was so influential on the Beatles that “we couldn’t have done it without Memphis!” It’s the kind of line that seems like a clichéd call for applause by most, but came across as sincere gratitude from McCartney.

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A cavalcade of showstoppers concluded the set, any of which could have ended the show. Powerhouse performances of “Band on the Run,” “Back in the USSR,” “Let It Be” and “Live and Let Die” (replete with fiery pyrotechnics) felt like closing numbers before “Hey Jude” closed the show proper.

But he still wasn’t done. Two encores comprised eight more songs, including a ferocious “Helter Skelter” and the Abbey Road suite of “Golden Slumbers > Carry That Weight > The End.”

The show also included some rare treats from the Beatles psychedelic era like “For The Benefit of Mr. Kite” and “Lovely Rita.”  However, with as many wonderful songs as Sir Paul performed during the evening, so much of his enormous catalogue remained untouched, which speaks to its volume.

That he is still able to perform it with such enthusiasm, effortless skill and gratitude speaks to the “mania” that kicked his career off all those years ago.