COMBINED REPORTS - The Birchmere, Alexandria VA, February 22 2001
From: Ralph H.
Subject: Dan and the Hot Licks at the Birchmere, Feb. 22

Dan and company gave a great concert on a cold, snowy night February 22 at the Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia. The turnout was disappointing compared with last September, when it was a near sellout; this time the house was maybe half full. Undoubtedly the weather had something to do with it. Still, it was lively and fun. Dan seemed perhaps a bit tired, but there was still plenty of wit and lots of good music.

The lineup, in addition to Dan, was:

Tom Mitchell, guitar
Brian Godcheaux, violin and mandolin
John Clark (not sure of spelling), bass
Susan Rabin and Trish Pate, Lickettes

The group initially came on stage minus the Lickettes. After announcing they were still putting on their makeup, Dan came clean and said that one of them was in a taxi headed to the club. So they played some instrumentals and stalled a bit until the ladies appeared.

Dan said there would be a live album coming out this summer, "picking up some of our newer material and hopefully also picking up a few bucks."

Here's the set list:

-- Peach Picking Time in Georgia.

-- Evenin' Breeze (which Dan said they hadn't done in a while. Since the Lickettes weren't yet there, Dan hilariously did both the call and response parts himself.)

-- Topsy/Swing 42, with a terrific violin solo by Brian.

-- He Don't Care. Dan told the story of how he was filmed at age 25 playing this on a park bench in the Haight-Ashbury during the Summer of Love, 1967, for a British documentary called "Revolution." The title was later changed to "Hippie Revolution."

The Lickettes then appeared, and they continued with:

-- Canned Music

-- How Can I Miss You

-- Hell I'd Go

-- How High the Moon

-- I Scare Myself. Dan announced that today was the 14 billionth time he'd performed it, and that there would be cake outside for everyone.

-- I've Got a Capo on my Brain

-- The Buzzard Was Their Friend

After intermission, Dan found a $5 bill on his stool, together with a note requesting "two songs we're not going to do." He said that one of them was for "Driving that train, high on cocaine," and went on to say that people always confused him with Commander Cody, telling him for example they saw him at a show in Detroit when he played songs that actually were in the Commander's repertoire. They then played:

-- Where's the Money

-- Strike It While It's Hot. Dan said that Bette Midler "just happened" to be walking by the studio when they were recording the song, and they "smoked a big fattie" together.

-- What's That Something Is Love

-- I'm an Old Cowhand

-- Long Comma Viper (nice breaks by Brian and Tom on mandolin and guitar)

-- The Piano Has Been Drinking

-- How High the Moon

-- Wild About My Lovin'

-- Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy, which Dan said he wrote in 1943 while working in Chattanooga in the Peace Corps, and he ran into Charlie Parker who was selling the Watchtower newspaper and had one son who was a shoe shine boy. Hmmm... It was funnier when Dan told the story.

-- Four Five Times, which he allegedly wrote in Dallas, Texas when he was working in a clothing factory as a "sock tucker." This one had a terrific blues harp solo by Dan himself.

-- If I Get the Neck of the Chicken, How Did I Ever Get You?
(Hadn't heard this one before.) Dan played the snare drum, which he said was given to him by Teddy Roosevelt in 1910, when they were smoking a "big fattie." Dan and the Lickettes did a nifty dance.


-- Milk Shakin' Mama

-- Payday Blues, which had some great harmonies and guitar work by Tom.

A great night for all concerned.

Ralph H.

From: Gary K.
Subject: The Birchmere (again)

Hi hixters,

My wife and I made the normally 4 1/2 hour trip to Alexandria from Raleigh NC To See Dan at the Birchmere on Thursday. Because of the worst storm of the season for this area the trip took about nine hours. Thankfully, with the help of cell phones and some great advice from Kwikee Mart workers, we were able to avoid I-95 (and the 120+ car pile-up) and trudged up US1. Although we had left at 9 AM we didn't arrive in the area until about 6 pm, which gave us just enough time to change and leave for the show.

The Birchmere did not disappoint, a wonderful venue for an act such as Dan's. I can't add much to the great report that Ralph has already posted, but I did add some pix that I placed in the file section.

As Ralph mentioned, Dan did "How High The Moon", but as a strictly instrumental version. The rendition was superb but I wonder why he didn't use the Lickettes doing the vocals a la Mary Ford. Not a complaint, just a question.

By the way, when we last saw Dan in Annapolis in (I think) September, I-95 was closed because of an accident and we were forced to take a circuitous route do get there. Maybe we can get him closer to Raleigh so I won't have to drive to the Capital City again to see him.

I hope everyone enjoys the pix.

Gary K.
(Safe & warm in NC)