Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ellis Paul at Club Passim, 6-25-16 Concert Review

Ellis Paul performing "I Ain't No Jesus"
You can count on experiencing something special whenever you go to an Ellis Paul concert. At his show on June 25th at Club Passim, there were a couple of surprises. John Davidson, one of the hosts of That's Incredible, introduced Ellis.  Ellis learned this was to happen just a few minutes before the show, and when he took the stage, he said "Wow, that was cool." And it was. (By the way, John himself will be performing at Club Passim in July.)

Ellis opened the show with "I Ain't No Jesus." There is a timeline on one of the walls of the venue, and patrons are encouraged to share their memories of the place. After "I Ain't No Jesus," Ellis mentioned that he put the first time he played there on the timeline, and also said he thinks he's the artist who has played at the venue the most (in fact, this was his second show there that day - he had done a family show in the afternoon). He then started the song that he has likely played the most, "3,000 Miles," and we were treated to a surprise guest. Vance Gilbert entered through the stage left door and sat down at Ellis' keyboard. For a moment, he pretended to play keys, leading Ellis to say, "Don't do it." He didn't, at least not for that song. He provided some nice backing vocals. Oddly, Vance had come up in our conversation just before the show, and I had mentioned that it had been way too long since I'd last seen him. Vance joked around about meeting Ellis: "We was toddlers in Maine. And he toddled up to me and said, 'Hey, when we grow up, let's do folk music.'" Vance also provided backing vocals on a very cool version of "Rose Tattoo" and on an energetic "Kick Out The Lights." This crowd needed no instructions on its part for that song. And it was on "Kick Out The Lights" that Vance played a bit on keys. After Vance left the stage, Ellis commented, "I didn't know he could play piano." He then added, "Still don't know."

Ellis came out into the audience to perform "You Ain't From These Parts," a fairly new (and incredibly funny) song. As he did at the show in Milford in March, he read some of the lyrics from his journal. The lyrics seemed to be different from those he performed at that earlier show. At the Passim show, he did a verse about Pennsylvania; the Massachusetts verse also seemed somewhat different (but it could just be my faulty memory here). After that one, he returned to the stage and mentioned the recent events in Orlando. That led to "Nine Months To Fix The World," one I haven't seen him perform in quite some time. It required a pair of reading glasses borrowed from an audience member, as well as another audience member volunteering to hold the CD liner notes with the lyrics for him to read. The line "love your fellow man" received a cheer from the audience, as did "I'm going to clear the world of bullets/I'm going to confiscate the guns."

Ellis told the McCabe's guitar story, with Vance sort of heckling him a bit from the back of the room. Ellis also told the story of Guinness (one of his guitars) and of its being damaged by an airline. I've heard him tell this tale several times, but this time some details were added that I hadn't heard before. He then introduced "Alice's Champagne Palace" by saying, "Alice's Champagne Palace is the Club Passim of Homer, Alaska." The audience sang along for the entire song.

Ellis wrapped up the set by coming back out into the audience to play a couple of tunes unmiked. He mentioned the lawsuit against Led Zeppelin, and then played "Snow In Austin," demonstrating that his song has some similarities to other songs. He played a bit of those other songs, including "The City Of New Orleans," "Dust In The Wind," "Landslide" and "Mr. Bojangles." Vance Gilbert joined him for "The World Ain't Slowin' Down," the final song of the set. The encore was "Home," which was requested by someone in the audience. It was a really good show, and - as always - I left feeling pretty damn good about the world.

Set List
  1. I Ain't No Jesus
  2. 3,000 Miles
  3. Rose Tattoo
  4. Kick Out The Lights
  5. Maria's Beautiful Mess
  6. Thomas Edison
  7. Hurricane Angel
  8. You Ain't From These Parts
  9. Nine Months To Fix The World
  10. Drive-In Movie
  11. Wasted
  12. Alice's Champagne Palace
  13. Snow In Austin
  14. The World Ain't Slowin' Down
  1. Home
The show ended at 9:50 p.m.

Here are a few photos from the show:

"3,000 Miles"
"3,000 Miles"
Ellis talks about one of his books
"The World Ain't Slowin' Down"
Club Passim is located at 47 Palmer Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Ellis Paul will be returning there in December for his annual New Year's Eve shows.

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