Wednesday, September 23, 2009

arrogance @ 40 - The Birthday Bash

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I wish I knew how many times I have seen Arrogance play. Fifty? A hundred? I really don't know. I saw them at The Town Hall, The Cat's Cradle (old one), on the campus of both UNC and NC State, Rumors in Atlanta, The Bears Den, places I now can't remember. I probably saw them at The Pier in Raleigh more than any other place. I usually stood in the same place, close to the front of the stage but not right up front, audience right, near the sound and light boards. There were a group of us that went to every show. Arrogance manager Harry Simmons, a friend since elementary school, got us "on the list" at the door nearly every show. His younger brother A.T. "Bud" ran lights, which is one of the reasons we stood to that side... so we could harass him during the show. In the bands final couple of years my friend Cliff Atchison ran sound. That made it even more fun with two people to torture during the show.

There are images in my mind of that place that are so much clearer now. Images I had misplaced in my brain until Saturday Night at The Cat's Cradle (new one). Arrogance was playing a couple of tunes from "Suddenly". They were nailing them too! And for a few minutes I was back at The Pier. It flashed in my brain with such clarity... neat but a bit eerie too. As I was the faithful DD I had not had anything to either enhance or dull my senses. They were playing that good.

This was the arrogance @ 40 Birthday show. All of the different musical styles they covered were represented during the show. They didn't follow in exact chronological order, but close. Dixon was the narrator during the show recounting their surroundings, different venues, setting a mood for what you were about to hear. As has been the case with the Cradle shows in recent years the started with the more acoustic stuff. Joining the band onstage for the first time in many years was percussionist Ogie Shaw. Ogie played on the first arrogance LP "Give Us A Break". He got a warm reception for the crowd on several occasions. It was a real treat to hear these songs live with Ogie. They sounded so much more familiar.. more authentic. He did a fine job too!

Rod then played two songs from his solo LP, "Bossa Nova Baby", and "Eggplant Comes To The Party", the latter I had totally forgotten about. It's an instrumental that used to be a part of his solo set before he joined Arrogance. I have got to dig his solo album out and digitize that one!

Next up was the original arrogance with Mike Greer and Jim Glasgow. Those of you who were at the March show at The Carolina Theatre got a chance to hear this lineup. These guys took us through what was the early days of their new band, with some rousing covers of songs they probably jammed to as they started to find their way. Then they moved to some early arrogance originals... "Black Death", and a song they had never tried to perform on stage, "Nights Of Dreams". This is a song that was supposed to be on an early arrogance album but was later released on Mike Greer's "Between Two Worlds" LP. The Original arrogance can still rock it!

After a quick break electric Arrogance rocked it for a while! Then all 8 Arrogance members in attendance took the stage one more time for a final sendoff. As I eluded to earlier this was a great performance! and a long one too! They started playing just after 8:45p, took 2 short...really!...breaks and finally walked off the stage at 12:25p. What a night!

I have noticed in past shows at The Cradle that many of the "acoustic" fans leave after that portion of the show is over. I don't think quite as many folks left this time. I did hear some rumbling when they were playing some of the covers. A number of folks went outside and said "I'll come back in when they start playing Arrogance songs again". Man! I thought they were great! And in the context of the show they were trying to do they fit. Plus you got to hear comical lyric replacement from Robert such as... during "Sunshine Of Your Love" replacing the words "To give you my dawn surprise" with "and giving my dog some wine". Man was I laughing! Covers were many times a part of an Arrogance show. Barrett Strong's "Money" kicks of "Lively". Have we forgotten about "The Dogbreath Blues Band"? Their old surf medley rocked!!! I enjoyed the "covers" section of the original arrogance set. It reminded me of how nearly every band I have ever been got started, by trying to find some common ground so you can start making some noise.

I really enjoyed the vibe of this show. It's a similar vibe at the other "Cradle" show of recent years. The band is relaxed on stage and enjoying themselves. The audience is full of the bands old friends and that seems to energize them a bit. It is just a fun night, a night you wish you had more of.

A rumor was floating around about this being the "swan song" performance of the band. I found that hard to believe and confirmed with Scott that it wasn't. However he did point out that none of them are getting any younger. There have been some health scares over the years. You just never know. As I mentioned in an earlier blog we should all make an effort to see any of our favorite bands/musicians from back in the day when they decide to play. No one can make all of the shows but go to the ones you can. Those bands from Comboland still make the best music in the world.

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  1. anybody who calls a 40 minute break "really short" is somekindafanboy

  2. They made up for it later with what has to be the shortest set break in Arrogance history. In fact I was joking with someone about not believing the "we'll be back in 15" then they started playing. That one caught a lot of people off guard.

  3. ... and yes. It has been well documented here that I am a fan.

  4. i'll have to check the times on the tapes but i don't think we took a 40 minute break...maybe anonymous was out smoking a joint during one of the sets...there were three, you know...