|Anne Rowland's account of the Tuscon, Arizona show (6/9/98)|
|Ligeia's account of the Albuquerque, New Mexico show (6/10/98)|
|David P. Miller's account of the Cambridge, MA show (6/20/98)|
|RRR402's account of the E. Rutheford, NJ show (7/17/98)|
|Stephanie Perciavalle's account of the Burgettstown, PA show (7/22/98)|
Originally posted to the Alice In Chains Mailing List
Jerry Cantrell et al. at Club Congress, Tucson, Arizona, June 9, 1998
Well, for you all here is my for free reportage of the first club date. The club itself is in a hotel called the Hotel Congress (Tucson). It is very funky and old and casual. The rooms have old-fashioned radios and rotary dial phones and no TVs. There is a cafe/coffee shop, several bar areas and also an internet cafe adjacent to the club. Weird to surf the net the night before while a local band was playing.
Monday night, someone told me Jerry had just checked in at the Holiday Inn, so I was suprised to see Jerry and Sean (I wouldn't recognize the other guys) at the the Hotel Congress having lunch at noon on Tuesday. Just like regular ole people. Jerry's hair is still long and in a ponytail. Sean's is much shorter than it used to be, just shoulder length. Sean himself is shorter than I had thought too. When Jerry walked by my table on his way out I said "Mr. Cantrell" and he smiled and waved, a polite boy, eh? Its funny the kind of tension that the presence of well-known people creates in a small place. Everybody whispering to each other and trying not to stare.
There was an enormous fancy bus parked on a side street outside the hotel; later there were two fancy buses.
One of the local rock radio stations was still advertising the show as having tickets available two hours before the doors opened but they issued a correction after a while, that the show was sold out.
I have to take a bath and then I'll try to describe the set.
A band called "bluesCRUSHER" opened for Jerry et. al., and then after the resetting up, the taping of the set list near the floor in front of Jerry's mike, etc. , our guys came on at 11:00. The stage was really small, they were all pretty close together. Chris DeGarmo at the left with a little effects board (foot operation), Jerry in the middle with a wah pedal and another pedal, the keyboard player Chris Dowd to the right with two keyboards, one which was on a rotating base for twirling, bassist Nick Rhinehart behind Jerry and Chris D., Sean in back, I couldn't see him at all, but when he came on he was wearing the same clothes he was wearing at lunch, black t-shirt and black shorts. Jerry was very late-nineties looking in sythetics, tight horizontal ribbed very swanky black T-Shirt and burgandy very tight pants and some black shoes (?) with large decorative buckles on the front of them. He looked kind of like a Prada ad. Definitely not grunge. Chris DeGarmo was wearing a white wife-beater and jeans and a wool cap. Chris Dowd was wearing an African-style wrap full length skirt. Nick Rhinehard in your basic black T-shirt and jeans.
Pardon the fashion descriptions to those who don't care. To me it's interesting that Jerry's mode of stage dress was so different from before.
Jerry immediately talked to the audience, he seemed very comfortable and funny, and then they whipped right into "No Excuses". This I was not expecting. Crowd went wild.
There was very little room to move around on stage, but of course the intimacy of it was an overwhelming dee-lite. DeGarmo looked really tense at first but loosened up as the set went on. Chris Dowd was positively manic and has a great voice. (Chris D. also contributed vocals)
I've never tried to write about a set, so please forgive me; I'm doing my best.
The first song off the Boggy Depot release that they did was Dickeye, I think. [see Boggy Depot Webpage set list at the end of this post, I just checked it and must admit I have probably got the order of song wrong, excepting the encore]--then after No Excuses came Devil By My Side. I was about 5 feet from Jerry and on this song I discovered what it was like to be in a mosh pit; I'm only 103 pounds so I got out of there to about 15 feet away. Club security guys made some of the more violent moshers cut it out by shining lights on them. Jerry would strike poses when doing the heavy parts, one leg would go back and he would lean way back on it. Hair tossing was kept to a minimum except a few pieces. Satisfy was really sweet, he shut his eyes some for that. Lots of funny patter between songs. I think it was after Satisfy that he announced that someone in the audience wanted to come up on stage and say a few words. So this guy got up on stage and did a little speech about how much he loved his girlfriend and was really committed to her and would she marry him. She came up on stage too and they kissed. Jerry beamed over them. After they left the stage, Jerry remarked how great and sweet that was, and then said something like "And now here's a song called "Settling Down", about the other side of relationships." They started into a few bars and he ran into a tuning problem and stopped. He went over the rear speakers and dorked around, couldn't figure it out, got one of the roadies to give him another one, no good, Chris D. got him one of his, not good. Now I can't remember if they ever actually got around to playing Settling Down..... Web Page says they did. Anyway, Jerry was really funny during the tuning trouble and thanked us all for coming to their 'band practice'. Perhaps it was before this that they did Got Me Wrong. It was funny to hear Jerry lead sing this, but he did a good job. They did it in a nicely choppy fashion, if I knew R&R terms better I am sure there is a term for it. Later, I guess it was after My Song (?), they did Them Bones, and people went BERZERK. Again a good job on vocals. I can't remember now whether Jerry did that initial scream/shriek at the beginning like Layne. Major but brief initial hair tossing on this one.
At some point, I couldn't see too well, too short, a woman must have been flashing her breasts at the band, and so Jerry invited her up on stage and she showed off her enormous breasts. He thanked her, and she exited.
They did "Brother", slightly shaky harmony on that one, they didn't nail it like Jerry and Layne did on Unplugged, maybe Chris D. could work on that a little...., then Between, finishing with Cut You In. Introducing it, Jerry said "Here's a song you may have heard on the radio.....I hope..". with a big grin/smirk. A strong finish. They left the stage. Crowd insisted they come back. They did. Jerry introduced the song, something like "We'll finish on a dark note, here's one I didn't write" and they broke into Brain Damage/Eclipse from Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" I kid you not. This was the only encore song. The Boggy Depot Web Page and my account of song order etc. are different, I would cede to the Webpage except that they are incorrect in saying that the encore consisted of Between, Cut You In, and then the Pink Floyd.
The Boggy Depot Web Page set list (--and they have a picture from the gig posted too):
Devil By My Side
Got Me Wrong
Hurt a Long Time
Keep the Light On
--encore-- [wrong-- encore was just the Pink Floyd]
Cut You In
Brain Damage/Eclipse by Pink Floyd
Well there goes my credibility.....guess the first mosh pitting was during Devil By My Side.....
The set lasted about an hour and a half.
Jerry Cantrell et. al. at the Launchpad, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Wednesday, June 10, 1998
Jerry and friends played here in little old Albuquerque, New Mexico, Wednesday, June 10 in a small bar downtown called the Launchpad. The place was sold out, completely packed with mostly very drunk, very high and extremely rowdy young men!! I never saw so many folks get kicked out of a bar before the music even started!! But it was an excellent show!!! woohoo!! The opening band, a local group that went by the name Stoic Frame, got the crowd even rowdier than before. I didn't think that was possible!! They played some great songs and had their own little band of groupies, but the crowd seemed anxious for Jerry.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Jerry came on stage. The crowd had been chanting "Jerry!" "Jerry!" well before the opening act so when he showed up everyone just went bonkers!! Of course, after he hit the stage the chants of "Alice in Chains" and all that started, a very rowdy crowd indeed! Jerry sounded great, his voice was in fine form, he looked fantastic and he really seemed to be having a lot of fun up there! I was to the right of the stage facing it, so I could hardly see Chris DeGarmo or Nick Rhinehart and Sean not at all, except when he stood up and moved around. I had a pretty good view of Jerry and Chris Dowd ~ whenever I could see that is. Between all the tall people and all the slamming around and all the jumping and people falling over and bouncers just ramming folks thru the crowd, I'm lucky I got to see anything at all!!
On to the music. The setlist appears to be the same as the Tucson set, except for the life of me I cannot remember them playing My Song, altho they must have!!! That must have been a particularly rowdy time crowd wise! lol! ok, here goes, but it's not in order, probably, and I may have missed a song or two. No Excuses, Satisfy, Got Me Wrong, Settling Down, Hurt a Long Time, (both of those gave me goosebumps. Jerry's expressions on Hurt a Long Time were just heartwrenching. Kinda. I'm sure my memory is at the exaggerating stage by now! lol! But I do remember clearly being touched by the emotions there), Keep the Light On, ("to get the crowd going," not that they needed any help!) Dickeye (which sounded fantastic!!) Brother, Between ("a little country to mellow out the rowdy folks!" but it didn't work!) Devil By His Side, Them Bones, Cut You In (sounds really different live ~ I liked it a lot more!! It flippin' rocked!) and then it was weird, cuz that was it. They came back out for an encore ~ and did Pink Floyd! And that's it!! Although they pulled off Brain Damage/Eclipse fabulously I must say! Pink Floyd seems to me not an easy band to do well. But they ROCKED!!! Chris Dowd has a phenomenal insane laugh!! lol! Jerry talked a bit between some songs, Chris Dowd was an absolute blast to watch! Whatta guy! Unfortunately, every time the first notes of an Alice in Chains song made themselves heard the crowd went absolutely nuts!! Surged towards the front of the stage, and started bouncing and throwing themselves all over the rest of the crowd. It was virtually impossible to see Jerry at all during these songs! But I didn't notice anything majorly different in the way he sang those few songs, seeing as how he wrote them. Chris Dowd sang backup vocals, and did the screaming parts that Layne would have done on Them Bones. He did very well!! If anyone else sang backup ~ I could not see and did not hear.
As far as what they were wearing, I do believe everyone had donned either jeans or shorts and a t-shirt or something similar. I know for sure that Jerry was wearing jeans and a black button down shirt cuz he took it off later!!! WOOHOO!!
Although I did not get sweat on, (wink*wink) Jerry did take a sip of water and then he sprayed the rest of the bottle all over the crowd, so I did get some Jerry backwash on me!! lol!! Yuck! that's purty gross! lol! And Sean musta been sweating all over cuz I did see a spray of something fly around the stage whenever he WHOMPED on those drums!!! YEEHAA!!!
The guitars! wow!! They had a lot of guitars! Jerry must have used a different one for almost every song, I swear! And there was a row on Chris DeGarmos's side of the stage too, although I could not see him really. The band threw the standard guitar picks and drum sticks into the crowd and Chris Dowd even threw a piece of his horn!! lol! That was fun! Jerry had to promise this guy who started to fight over the drumsticks (yeah, just a bit rowdy they were) that he would be sure to get him one and then Jerry says, "It's all about the love isn't it?" He was really cool and friendly and it was a WOOHOO! fabulous show!!
Jerry and Chris DeGarmo changed leads from what I understand. Personally, I have not a clue! I do know that Jerry did do some of his infamous guitar licks, but they didn't get into any real jamming, ya know? No song really lasted very much longer than the studio version. Jerry talked a little between songs, he did refer to Dickeye as the title track... (odd isn't it?) and the t-shirts have "DICKEYE" on the back of them.... It was an EXCELLENT show!! WOOHOO!!!
Jerry Cantrell @ the Middle East, Cambridge, MA -- Saturday, June 20, 1998
I arrived Saturday at 5:30, a full four hours early, which was definitely a little eccentric, as I live only ten minutes away in Brookline and know Central Square like the back of my hand. I was determined, however, to meet Jerry, and had brought my "Boggy Depot" vinyl, as well as every Alice CD, including "Jar of Flies" w/plastic flies, "Dirt" with the tracks in the wrong order, and the original release of "Sap." I parked my car just a block from the club and headed towards a dumpster to discard my Pepsi can. Tossing it towards the trash, I nearly hit Sean Kinney. Not entirely sure that it was Sean - his hair has been cropped to the jaw-bone, making his face appear squarer and his nose-ring more prevalent - so I waved a hello/apology and let him continue on towards a Mexican restaurant. When he returned, I chose to approach him. We discussed the new tour and band, which apparently was supposed to include Fishbone’s keyboardist, who had taken the first two weeks off when his wife came to term. We talked setlists and rumors - every radio station in America is hinting that Layne "might" show up when Jerry comes to their town. He said Layne may possible show up to a few dates, but I would bet these would more likely be on the west coast, so Boston, New York, and Chicago radio stations should give it a rest. Sean was quite nice, and didn’t seem distant at all, but he wasn’t the jokester - the fountain of wit and humor - that others have said. Perhaps he was just tired, having had a light night in New York.
Sean correctly inferred that I was a guitarist, that Jerry was a hero and a great influence of mine, and that I would love to meet him. Unfortunately, he said that Jerry had stayed up even later in the New York, and was skipping out on the soundcheck to nap until the show. He suggested that I enter the club early and get a good spot, and try to find Jerry after the show. Sean signed all 7 of my CDs and my LP and bid me adieu. (Normally, I subscribe to the theory that an artist’s thoughts and words are of more consequence than his or her name on a piece of paper, but Sean being the biggest artist I’d ever met, and I having been an AIC fan for more than six years, since I was 13, I temporarily discarded that logic and broke out the Sharpie.)
Doors opened an hour early, and I went in to secure a spot right against the barrier. Next to me were a couple of very nice people from Medford, with whom I passed the hour and a half before the music started. I was pleasantly surprised with the crowd as a whole. Often, giveaway-only radio shows are filled with people who win solely because the like to win, but this crowd was full of hard-core AIC fans. Perhaps they all put great effort and zeal into trying to win, staying up until 3:00 am, or like myself, winning an easier contest and asking to switch prizes. Also, the fans were much nicer overall than those at the hard-core and "new metal" shows I spend much more of my time at.
The World Is My Fuse (formerly 454 Big Block) have a very skilled booking agent. Otherwise, they were aggressively mediocre rock.
Jerry came on at 10:40 and played over for over 90 minutes, including the encore. Things went well with the exception of some keyboard problems. Chris DeGarmo, the touring guitarist, formerly of Queensryche, and the temporary keyboardist, took care of vocal harmonies and back-up vocals. Both played quite well and added to the energy of the show. The bassist was more or less just there, and played competently.
The setlist included five Alice songs - No Excuses, Got Me Wrong, Brother, What the Hell Have I?, and Them Bones, in that order, interspersed amongst nearly all of "Boggy Depot." The band also threw in a fun, jokey country song ("We have both country and western here for you"), reportedly a Hank Williams cover, and the sole encore was Pink Floyd cover, the title track from "Dark Side of the Moon." Conspicuously absent from the set was "Leave Me Alone," which was somewhat of a minor radio hit way back when. I was also disappointed that he omitted "Cold Piece," which I was particularly looking forward to seeing live. I’m fiarly certain that "Jesus Hands" was also missing. A couple of songs, which Jerry chose to play on Les Pauls, were simplified and made louder. "No Excuses" became a much harder rock song, albeit at an ever-so-slightly slower pace. Jerry chose, to the delight of the crowd, to play guitar hero during solos, leaning over the crowd and pushing his guitar against their faces. Some solos he ad-libbed, loosely based on the progression he used in the original recordings, while the lead in "Them Bones" was played verbatim. Absolutely spiritual.
Jerry was quite pleased with the surprising enthousiasm of a radio-show crowd, and in return, he let them know that he was glad to be there. He cracked jokes and was smiling throughout, and he carried the show well through periods of technical difficulties with the keyboards. He had chemistry with his current array of back-up musicians, and seemed glad to radiate an on-stage aura different than the bleak and depressing one Layne overshadowed Alice In Chains shows with.
The Middle East, for non-Bostonian readers, is the most intimate club in the city capable of attracting notable national acts. Its capacity is, depending on whom you ask, between 475 and 575, but it feels much smaller. It’s a long, skinny basement, formerly a small bowling alley. The ceiling is less than ten feet high and the stage is a mere two feet off the ground. Major shows do have a barrier, but it is placed directly against the stage, allowing those in the front to be mere feet, or should the performer choose, mere inches from the musicians. The show was thus that much more exciting.
Jerry tossed dozens of picks from the stage at the close of the show, and Sean discarded a few drumsticks. Most of the picks were printed with Jerry’s name in stylized writing, but the one Jerry handed to the guy next to me read "Alice In Chains" on one side and "Layne" (!) on the other. I told him he should have Jerry sign it. (Obligatory Simpson’s allusion: "It’s a limited-edition photograph of Sean Connery signed by Roger Moore.")
I headed out to one of the tour-buses, stopping by my car to pick up my vinyl and CDs. Most of the band was hanging outside, engaged in conversation with some of the 20-odd people gathered to encourage Jerry’s emergence from the bus. They were all very nice. Jerry’s manager finally convinced him to come out, and he met-and- greeted for at least 15 minutes, signing people’s memorabilia, including my "Dirt," "Jar of Flies," and "Boggy Depot." I should have brought my Les Paul, too. Unfortunately, the size of the crowd prevented any kind of conversation more than a few pleasantries, compliments, questions and answers, but it was still a fulfillment of a long-time dream, as was the show itself.
The crowd dispersed soon after Jerry retreated into the bus. I got home shortly after 1:00 in the morning, put my signed items away, and fell asleep thoroughly euphoric.
Copyright 1998 by David Porter Miller. All rights reserved.
Metallica w/Jerry Cantrell, Days of the New at Giant Stadium, E. Rutheford, New Jersey, July 17, 1998
Days of the New had a good but rushed performance in which they played 6 or 7 songs including "Touch, Peel and Stand" and "The Downtown." Jerry then stepped onto the stage with a warm welcome. First, Jerry played "Devil By His Side" followed by songs like "Got Me Wrong," "No Excuses," "Breaks my Back," and "My Song." The crowd got into it once Jerry started playing more Metallica-like stuff like "Them Bones" and "Cut You In." The last song Jerry played was Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon," during which most people stood up and raised their lighters. After about 30 minutes of people fucking around with stuff on stage, Metallica began (with a huge ovation from the crowd). They opened with "Master of Puppets" and played something like 12 songs including "Fuel" and "Enter Sandman." Metallica kicked major ass with more special effects than a James Bond movie. Overall great performances by all.
Originally posted to the Alice In Chains Mailing List
Jerry Cantrell et al. at Star Lake Amphitheater, Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, July 22, 1998
Hey, listen to this one! I went to the Metallica concert on July 22 in Burgettstown, PA just to see Jerry open for them. Okay, first of all I sat really close to the stage and Jerry could see me singing all the lyrics with him and not only did he play stuff from Boggy Depot, but he played some Alice in Chains too! Got Me Wrong, Them Bones, No Excuses, Heaven Beside You are some that he played! It rocked!!! And after he played his show and Metallica came on, my friend and I decided to wait by the backstage doors to see if he'd come out and he did! He was such a nice guy! He hugged me, talked to me, and even signed an autograph! And I talked to this awesome guy named Scott who also was there meeting Jerry! He and I are friends now and we'll never stop being AIC fanatics!!!
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