From: Kathy & Ken
Date: Sat, 23 Dec 2000 19:45:59 -0800
Subject: [hix] Christmastime In Hicksville

"Christmastime in Hicksville"
Great American Music Hall, SF CA, 12/21/00

We arrived in the City in the early afternoon to check into our conveniently-located hotel on O'Farrell Street, about 5 blocks from the Music Hall. Some parts of SF are dicier than others, and lower O'Farrell has its trepidatious moments. The whole downtown area has more than its share of homeless types, but we were not heartened by the the single-room occupancy flophouse located right next door to our hotel, with a sign prominently posted on the front door advising "No Shopping Carts Please!".

Undaunted, we checked in, had lunch at the venerable Sears', did some shopping in Union Square, and came back to prepare for the show. After blowing out the bathroom's (and bathrooms in adjacent rooms) wiring circuit three times while attempting to dry my hair, we left our threadbare hostelry for the Music Hall.

We arrived at the theatre at about 6PM for doors at 7PM. There were several people already in line, and by the time the doors opened at 8PM, there were at least 75 people lined up. We met Hixter Tim Patterson in line, and awarded him his fabulous prizes from the Hixmas Trivia Contest 2000. Tim was the winner of the "BTH" poster and "My Main Man Santa" CD.

The Music Hall is a jewel of earlier days in San Francisco, with classic gilded interior. We hustled in to get our seats, and settled down for the show. Food and drink were promptly served all night long, as opposed to not being able to find our waitress with a geiger counter. A Christmas tableaux was set up downstage left, consisting of a weird snowman doll, a large plastic goose, and Shorty. Shorty had a pen in his mouth, and was wearing the leering Santa tie which has graced Dan's neck at several past Christmas Jug Band shows.

Bonus Celebrity Sighting: Wavy Gravy, who sat at the table next to us. He was quite friendly & unassuming, and chatted with us and our tablemates.

The opening act was Virgil Shaw, an earnest young Man With A Guitar and several backup players. Virgil is with the Bay Area band Dieselhed; I'm sure his indie prog Americana is well-received among those old enough to be our children, but to us, it was a pretty much a lot of words that were sung to what sounded like the same melody. A fellow at the next table asked Ken, "What were those lyrics?", to which Ken had to reply, "That's what we were just saying. We can't figure them out either." (Almost kind of reminds me of how the Colonel would put on crappy opening acts for Elvis. By the time His Boy came on, the crowd was wild.)

Dan & Co. took the stage, and the hometown crowd was loving every minute of it. Band personnel were Brian Godchaux on violin and mandolin, Alan Gleeson on bass, Susan Rabin and Annabelle Cruz, Lickettes, and Dave Bell, guitarist. The show was accented by several holiday tunes that Dan has done with the Christmas Jug Band: "That's His Red Wagon" and "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Christmas Card". Set list was, as close as I can remember, and in no particular order:

Canned Music
Hell, I'd Go!
I Scare Myself
The Piano Has Been Drinking
Where's The Money?
I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Christmas Card
Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy
Capo On My Brain
My Cello
That's His Red Wagon
How Can I Miss You
I Don't Want Love
Somebody Stole My Santa Claus Suit
Strike It While It's Hot
Topsy/Swing 42
My Main Man Santa
Milk Shakin' Mama

For us, the highlight of the show was their performance, and we use the word loosely, of "My Main Man Santa". Dan and the band did an absolutely hilarious dance routine, while lip-synching and miming to the CD being played over the sound system! (I always knew that Madonna and all those people couldn't dance like that *and* sing at the same time. All Dan & Co needed were those stupid headset mikes to make it complete.) A sight never to be forgotten. Sort of a surreal vision of Dan on "Dick Clark's Rockin' Christmas" or something.

Shorty, regrettably, didn't get into the act.

"Christmastime in Hicksville" may be repeated next year, since Dan mentioned that there may be a new Christmas CD in the works. The crowd was warmly enthusiastic, and Dan seemed like he was having a great time, too, so maybe we have a new SF holiday tradition here.

Kathy & Ken