November 19, 1998: Met Café, Providence, RI

Oh my God, what an evening in Providence!!! :) I feel so pulverized, to borrow an adverb from "Old Brown's Daughter"....  Recently, I had *almost* decided that I didn't want to see any more tourdates where GBS was *only* the opener, but since Providence is within 100 km of me, I felt that I really should go.  Had I missed this night, I'd be kicking myself for a loooong time.

The Met Café's website said that doors opened at 8 p.m., and I arrived around 8:05.  As soon as I walked in the door, I got the first indication that this would be an extraordinary night - there was GBS on stage DOING THEIR SOUNDCHECK AND REHEARSING NEW SONGS!!!  Also, Caitlin was sitting on a couch on the opposite side of the room, and she waved and motioned for me to come sit with her and her friend Josh.  I had met her in mid-September at the Mama Kin show, and it was GREAT to see her again. :) We chatted and just acted cool while the guys rehearsed, but between ourselves, we were like,
"Can you believe this?  Is this amazing or what?"  It also turned out that she had been planning a Great Big Roadtrip similar to mine, so we made plans to go to several of the shows together! :)

Then, right after soundcheck, Alan took a stroll around the room and stopped to chat with a few groups of us.  It was surreal, because I had just whipped out my map of Newfoundland and was showing Caitlin the route we had taken on our '96 motorcycle trip, and Alan walked over to say hi!!!  I immediately stood up and my camera went crashing to the floor, but fortunately it wasn't damaged!  I chatted for a bit with him - he recommended that I visit Trinity, and told me that he's never been up the Northern Peninsula (I have!) - then he left and chatted with other people, including Alice (GBSFan), her mom, her friend, and her sister.

The guys left the building a little after that, and came back around 9:30 to begin the concert.  The set list was: PRO, ORD, GOIN, FAST, PADDY, BLACK, GEN, LUKEY, END, MARI, and WHEN.  No new songs and just one non-Rant & Roar song, but the guys played very energetically for us in spite of the small audience and lack of enough voices for a decent sing-a-long.  For Process Man, I was the only person standing, and I was leaning against one of the pillars while I snapped the first of dozens of shots I would take of the performance.  By Ordinary Day, Caitlin and Alice and her friend stood up to dance, and Caitlin "dragged" me away from my pillar to join them.  Within a couple more songs, Alice's mom and sister joined us too, and we were the only people up front dancing.  I really wished I knew how to dance a jig or reel, because there was plenty of room for it!  Maybe I can learn some simple dance steps before Hartford next weekend, in case I have the chance to use them. ;)  At any rate, I'm glad I was wearing my Reebok aerobic shoes!  Though it was a short set, I stood still enough times to snap over 80 photos of the guys, and there were definitely a few good ones in the batch! At one point during the set, they were having some equipment problems, so Alan called over to the bar and had a round of Guinness delivered to the stage.  I even got a photo of them enjoying their pints - think they could be poster boys for Guinness? ;)

By now, I've heard most of the regular jokes for the songs in the set, but there were a few new and spontaneous ones too.  The guys use boom mike stands, and at one point, the top of Seán's mike stand gave way and was pointing towards the floor.  Alan said, "Seán's mike stand needs some Viagra.  I hear he has that problem a lot."  Seán said, "I just need someone to cuddle and watch a video with me."  Danny rushed on stage and fixed the stand with duct tape.  Later, Alan jokingly announced that they were selling inflatable band member dolls, but they only had him, Bob, and Darrell.  The Seán dolls had sold out and were in their second run.  Seán replied, "Just call me Ken!"

There was no encore, but the guys came out fairly quickly to mingle with the audience for a while.  I asked Alan if he'd sign my guitar, then I ran out to my car to bring it inside.  When he saw it, he almost didn't want to sign it!  He recognized that it's an old late-50's Gibson J series, and thought it was worth a lot of money - he even would have bought it from me!  But I said "Pleeeeease?", so he drew the stick figure and signed it on the front, which TOTALLY made my night! :)  Not to mention that he picked it up and strummed a few chords, too!  I also got Seán to sign the promo poster that I had gotten at House of Blues, which Darrell, Alan, and Bob had signed previously, so now I have the full set! I made a point to tell Alan and Seán that I'd be seeing them six more times on this tour beginning with Hartford, and they were impressed because they know I'm covering the tour for you all on the Internet.  I also asked them if they minded the flash on my camera - I had to use it because the guys were back lit and you never would have been able to see their faces if I had shot without it.  They both assured me that it was no problem, and were happy that I had taken pictures of the show.  I could have had meaningful conversations with Bob and Darrell too, but they were chatting with other fans every time I looked over, and I felt I'd have more chances later.

I finally left around 11:15 since I had to get up early for work the next morning, but before I did, Alan came over and patted me on the shoulder, and thanked me for "spreading the word."  He also said we'd have to sit down and have a pint sometime.... ;)

Next stop for me: Hartford!!!

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