My wife Barb and I were lucky enough to be Dave and Jenâs next-door neighbors while we were on sabbatical leave at UC Davis. When I heard that Dave was traveling back east, I invited him to stay with us if he found himself in Central PA. Not only did he take us up on our offer, but he suggested a House Concert!
Barb and I agreed (with some trepidation since house concerts are pretty much unheard of our here in the boonies) and the next thing we new, we were planning a double-bill with the ãdel Gattosä, a local folk duo.
Dave rolled into town (via Boston, NY and Milesburg, PA) at about 5:00 PM, had enough time to shower, check out the preparations and grab a quick meal before guests started arriving. We had advertised with flyers, e-mail and personal invitations. In all we had about 30 people at the concert and it felt like a packed house.
The concert was fabulous! Starting with Paul Berkobin and David McCormick (aka del Gattos), they set the tone with great acoustic guitar/bass guitar and original songs with thoughtful and moving lyrics. Dave met the del Gattos at a folk festival in Colorado a few years ago so having them play the opening act was a natural.
I should also point out that Dave had the very first copies of ãSnapshotä shipped to our address in anticipation of the concert. It arrived about a week before and he tells me that I was the first person to hear the disc (!) Iâve got to tell you, it is awesome! I played it front-to-back while I was driving down to Baltimore early one morning and I found it incredibly moving and entertaining.
His show in our living room started out with the same piece that opened the Palms concert, Square Peg. This rousing, foot-stomping blues number set the tone which carried through the entire evening. Dave had us singing along with The Cowboy Cat and el Nino. On the other hand, you could have heard a pin drop during Thing of Beauty (a personal favorite of mine). Dave also introduced our friends to Fender and Gulliver (aka, The Firewomanâs Daughter). His Îvirtual balladâ, RL was extremely well received (the room was packed with mostly university people) and he treated us with a new song (not yet recorded), A Certain Distance.
I must admit that Iâm no music critic, but Daveâs guitar work is simply breathtaking. Those who were lucky enough to see him at the Palms, can attest that he does some really amazing stuff with harmonics during some of his pieces, particularly Thing of Beauty. What you missed if you werenât in my living room that night was that the trusty Martin developed a problem with a tuning peg in the middle of the show (a carry-over from earlier problems) and he picked up Paul Berkobinâs guitar for the first time, and the first song he did on it was Thing of Beauty. It left us all speechless.
Iâll just close by saying what an honor it was to host Dave in our own home. By the way, heâs a great house guest he had us entertained with stories of the road throughout breakfast. Our friends have been coming up to us, telling us how much they loved the evening and that we should be doing more of this (house concerts) in our little town of State College. If youâve every thought of hosting a house concert, you canât go wrong with Dave!
Finally, thanks to the Acoustic Brew Coffee House, particularly Linda Littleton and Paul Rito who helped us with publicity and lent us the chairs for the evening.