Subject: [hix] Dan at Sweetwater 5/19
Date: Mon, 22 May 2000 20:48:05 -0700
From: Kathy

Our latest Mill Valley expedition was based at the new Nippo-minimalist ("Pacific Rim Elegance") Acqua Hotel, situated serenely between a fragrant tidal inlet of Richardson Bay, and the Highway 101 overpass. The Mill Valley Inn, conveniently located literally steps from Sweetwater, is our pied-a-tèrre of choice, but they were fully booked for the weekend. 

After we checked in, we inched along in Friday-evening Mill Valley traffic, from the Bay to the village proper, on our way to Dinner And A Show. We got to Sweetwater early enough to join in the Friday night happy hour crowd, and catch Dan's sound check, which included "The Piano Has Been Drinking". 

Cole Tate (guitar/vocals) and Eugene Huggins (harp/vocals), Marin bluesters, were the opening act. They got a groove going early on, and it was clear from the audience response that they were local favorites. 

Dan & Co. hit the stage at about 10:30-ish or so. Personnel: Brian Godchaux on violin/mandolin, Richard Saunders on bass, Paul Robinson on guitar, Susan Rabin on percussion and backup vocals, and Annabel Cruz on violin and backup vocals.

Sartorial note: Due to the heat wave this past weekend, Dan wasn't sporting the velvety black homburg which he has favored of late (first spotted at the San Rafael Millennium bash). One of our local buds calls it Dan's "Shaft's Big Score" hat. 

The show was a delight - kind of like having Dan in your living room. The atmosphere at Sweetwater was pretty low-key, for a Friday night. There wasn't the usual modicum of edgy patter. It was more like they were playing for themselves, and anyone else who cared. 

However, we sat behind a table of rather exuberant and enthusiastic Dan-fans.  One gentleman loudly proclaimed that he wanted to bear Dan's love-child. (Dan did not respond.) The "love-child" dude did get his request met, when he asked for "the Alien song" at about the same time Dan had planned to do "Hell, I'd Go!". 

I didn't take notes, so the following tunes are in no particular order, and I may have missed a few. "News From Up The Street" was especially sweet.

How Can I Miss You
Milk Shakin' Mama
Canned Music
I Scare Myself
Payday Blues
My Cello
Strike It While It's Hot
Hell, I'd Go!
News From Up The Street
That Old Black Magic
Comes Love
The End Of The Love Affair
Capo On My Brain
Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy
The Piano Has Been Drinking
Four Or Five Times, with a really weird call and response
The Buzzard Was Their Friend
Topsy/Swing 42
Long Comma Viper

During the second set, Dan introduced the band by a highly amusing bunch of psuedonyms. I think Paul was "Bob" and Brian was "Jim". I can't remember what either of the Groovettes were called, but Dan credited an absent Groovette named "Prunella". And Richard was "Rafael Sandwich".

Also during the second set, Dan encouraged us all to drink up, because the Mill Valley police don't mind if you weave back and forth on the streets.  They'll just pull you over, pat you on the ass, and give you a warm place to sleep for the night.

The show ended at about 1:30. As we walked back to the car, we saw a deer walking around in the street, about a block from the club. I wonder if she found the assorted grazing materials at the Smith and Hawken store down the street.

Next stop, Rancho Nicasio on 6/16.