Tea Leaf Green
Charlotte, North Carolina
May 1, 2008
May Day, or May 1st, is synonymous with International Workers’ Day, a holiday celebrated in the Soviet Bloc countries where pageants of advance weaponry were paraded for the cheering throngs, happy in their demonstrated superiority over the West. In Charlotte, circa 2008, clever posters depicting of a statue of Lenin signaled that Tea Leaf Green was playing at the Neighborhood Theatre.
The open band was Moonalice, an extremely talented group featuring former Saturday Night Live bandleader G.E. Smith, Barry Sless, and Pete Sears. Some of the fans were definitely there to see this band, one could tell by the fact that they where over 40 and sitting down. Though the crowd was light early, the band had a great time on the stage.
Tea Leaf Green eased into it opening with a jammy “Panspermic De-evolution,” and from there went straight into “Rapture” with Trevor Garrod singing and playing the electric piano. They followed it up with another slow song, “Slept Through Sunday.” Guitarist Josh Clark, began to break into his solos, but still seemed somewhat restrained. By the time they got to “Barnacle Betty,” a tune that sounds like a ballad from the old rough port of San Francisco, Clark had begun to warm up those guitar strings.
TLG launched into “Georgie P” with thundering bass lines falling on each note of the measure. ALO’s Steve Adams, filling in for Reed Mathus who was out on the road with Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, did a superb job of handling the low end all night. “Zoom Zoom > Connection” and “Tequila” finished out the first set.
The band came out a bit more forcefully in the second set. “Red Ribbons” was rocking, and drummer Scott Rager demonstrated an enthusiasm for percussion. “Taught to Be Proud” continued the folksy-jammy sound, and segued into a piano/guitar duet during which Clark’s guitar began to wail.
“Morning Sun” delivered another chance for Clark to grind through a guitar solo. “Without a Broom” hasn’t been played in several months. The encore “Jackson Hole” also hadn’t been played on this tour, so a couple of surprises for the dedicated fan catching a few shows.
All in all Tea Leaf Green can be depended for a couple of things at any show. They bring a solid, if predictable, set – they have had about 40 songs in rotation during this tour.
Set 1: Panspermic, Rapture, Slept Thru Sunday, Jubilee, Barnacle Betty, Georgia P, Zoom Zoom > Connection, Tequila
Set 2: Invasion, Las Vegas > Red Ribbons, Taught To Be Proud, Morning Sun, Without A Broom, Can’t Get High, Touch, One Reason, Devil’s Play
Encore: Jackson Hole, Garden part III