Last week, a friend asked me where he could take his out-of-town niece and her mom on a Friday night. The kid is in her mid-teens, and things like a movie with subtitles, I was told, were not going to fly with this Indiana family. I didn’t have many great suggestions. The Roosevelt Island tram I threw out as an idea, and jokingly suggested they could try and get tickets for the Jeff Beck/Eric Clapton concert at Madison Square Garden that night. In case he was actually considering that, I also told my friend that I was pretty sure it would suck.
However, as I poked around on Time Out, I saw that Steve Wynn was playing at Lakeside Lounge. As the kids of today say, OMG. Even though I had been into the Long Ryders, Bangles, and Rank and File, since the early 80’s, I had somehow missed out on the Dream Syndicate. I am embarrassed to say that I think maybe I had them mixed up with the Dream Academy.
But a couple of years ago, a friend lent me Days of Wine and Roses, and once again, it was “Where have you been all my life?” Lakeside Lounge is tiny. Wynn’s own website said, “the place is small, come early.” I liked the band, but I also didn’t want to hang out for hours. So with no plan except seeing them, I headed over to the rainy Lower East Side.Lakeside Lounge is a storefront, two rooms separated by a door. The bar is in one, and music is in the other. The door is where the bar is, and there are no sight-lines between the two. Even if I squeezed in, there was no way I’d be able to see the band – the stage is about the size of a bathtub.
The stage though, is right against the window – and so that’s where I was. And it was amazing.
His band, the Miracle Three has his wife, Linda Pitmon as a drummer, and she rocks. The guitarist Jason Victor, looks like he just started grad school, was great. It was Wynn’s 50th birthday, and he was in a very good mood.
Drunk or soon-to-be-drunk 20-somethings walked by, would watch for a minute or two, and keep on going. Thank you, Bill Bratton. Seriously, thank you. Better it's a bunch of people I can punch out, than crack crazies.
I was as close as anybody in the place, and along with another person, watched the whole show. The last song they did was Clapton’s ‘Let It Rain’, – I was thinking maybe as a nod to the crap-o-rama that I was sure was going on uptown at that very moment.
It made me wonder too, if Eric Clapton wouldn’t rather be down on Avenue B, nose pressed against the glass. A younger Eric Clapton certainly would. Maybe even a younger Jeff Beck.
A day after the Times had its review of the Clapton/Beck concert (surprise…meh), it printed this correction:
A music review on Saturday about the Eric Clapton-Jeff Beck concert at Madison Square Garden misstated the size of the orchestra that played with Mr. Beck’s group. It had 22 members, not 12.
Semi-Secret Bonus: a conversation that I accidentally recorded with the woman who watched the show with me. Her identity gets revealed in a very funny way.