Saturday, August 23, 2008
How great is John Doe?
Very great. Just back from seeing him with only fifty other people at a house concert in Freehold hosted by the extraordinarily gracious Mark and Elaine Costanzo at their lovely home near Bruce Springsteen's high school. The show itself took place in Mark's photography studio (a converted detached garage), and afterward everyone ate, drank and mingled most sociably in their backyard.
What a contrast from All Points West two weeks ago! I wasn't frisked, I didn't have to open my bag, I wasn't carded (yes, I'm carded EVERYWHERE even though I was born in the 50s, because this country is insane). Instead of waiting in long lines to buy $10 burgers and $7 beers, people brought their own food and drink and SHARED, can you imagine? John enjoyed what appeared to be his first Yuengling, which someone in the audience gave him. At least, he looked at it quizzically and tried to pronounce it (not easy).
the studio during a previous concert (excellent photo taken by this guy)
There was a rudimentary setlist but mostly folks just shouted titles out and he played them. Lots of beautiful stuff from his solo albums, including Twin Brother, She's Not, 7 Holes, Mama Don't, The Golden State, Unforgiven, Highway 5, and even I Dreamed of St. Augustine from the I'm Not There soundtrack. He also did Burning House of Love, an old X song he often plays with the Knitters and solo.
Below another song he did tonight, a lovely ode to wanting more time with your children before they're gone (John has three teenage daughters with his second wife).
Tonight some guy's backyard, tomorrow Lincoln Center. The music business.
Sidebar: If I could have been anyone in the world, I probably would have been Exene Cervenka. I can't think of anyone cooler. Besides being a great poet, songwriter and artist and an absolutely unique performer, she's got no looks at all and yet she married two of the foxiest men on the planet--Doe and Viggo Mortenson, with whom she has a 20-year-old son. Recently she was married for the third time to Jason Edge, her guitarist in the Original Sinners. Good 2002 interview with the two of them by Stanford U's KZSU here.
MP3 John Doe - A Little More Time (from 2007's A Year in the Wilderness)