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Philly RustFest (March 27, 1996)

Your Host - Mark Powderfinger Klus

Pre-Fest Notice

The Fest Call was put out by Jack Shakey Mullins....

Hey PA rusters!

Fellow ruster YOUNGster and I will be in Valley Forge on 3/27 to see Gordon Lightfoot. Powderfinger will join us, so maybe if anyone else wants to get together before the show that afternoon/evening, email me!

In case you may want to go, tix are $25 and there should be plently left...after six weeks on sale, I got row O...


Fest Report

The participants were:

  • Jack Shakey Mullins
  • Mike YOUNGster Young
  • Paul Ram>Rod Spiel
  • Mark Powderfinger Klus
  • Tish Klus

About 4PM yesterday (Wednesday the 27th), Tish (my wife) and I were still clearing up our apartment when we heard a decisive rap on the door. It was Shakey with acoustic guitar in hand and the Youngster! No sooner were they seated and listening to Country Home from the '94 New Orleans Farm Aid show, than we heard another knock and opened the door to welcome RAM>ROD (also known as Johnny Rotten) with 2! acoustic axes in hand and sporting a cool full-length jean coat. In fact, he reminded me of Neil's Western Hero, while Shakey looks an awful lot like that silhouetted figure on the cover of Harvest Moon.

After refreshments, including some Chili beer (probably for the last time :) ), were served (though believe it or not Shakey steadfastly refused to touch a drop of anything--I guess it was a Too Far Gone kind of time for him the night before :) ) we five were seated in the living room: R>R back to the window leading onto the balcony, Youngster on the couch to his left, Shakey on the couch across a low table from R>.R, and Tish and I on the floor across from Youngster and to R>R's right.

Before we knew it R>R launched into a low-key, understated version of Rockin' In The Free World and from then on he and Shakey basically alternated in singing a heapful of songs, with a lot of fine picking (R>R with his fingers and Shakey with his pick) along the way. More than once R>R would be singing and then asked, "Do it up Shakey", who more than willingly obliged with some nice licks. R>R has a fine, rich, mellifluous voice, but Shakey was thankful we weren't recording, as his voice was maybe in kinda rough shape at times. :) But who cared?

The whole set these 2 guys played was great, creating an intimate, often touching atmosphere, proving once again that live music *is* better: Some highlights for me were R>R's Forever Young and Shakey's great acoustic version of I'm The Ocean. I'd love to hear Neil open up some of those Mirror Ball songs like that, all by his lonesome. There was some banter in between songs, but mainly these were two guys who spoke softly and carried big axes, with Youngster and I singing along every now and then.

Here's the setlist, not including a few songs that were aborted:

  • Rockin' In The Free World (lead vocals: RAM>ROD)
  • Old Man (Shakey)
  • Love Is A Rose (R>R)
  • Needle & The Damage Done (R>R)
  • LA (Sh)
  • Long May You Run (R>R)
  • Old Homestead/The Loner (Sh), instrumental lead-in to...
  • ...Cinnamon Girl (Sh)
  • Hey Hey, My My (R>R)
  • 4+20 (Sh): now *that* was a classy surprise considering Shakey's views on Steven Stills, and Tish loved it, this song being a favourite of hers
  • One Of These Days (R>R)
  • I'm The Ocean (Sh)
  • Days That Used To Be (R>R)
  • Lady Wingshot (Sh): nice surprise!
  • Feel Your Love (Sh): great instrumental
  • Forever Young (R>R): another heartbreaking version
  • Ohio (R>R)
  • Bad Fog Of Loneliness (Sh)
  • Knockin' On Heaven's Door (R>R)
  • For The Turnstiles (R>R)
  • Pardon My Heart (Sh): nice ending that came all too soon
Now Vampire Blues is Tish's favourite Neil song, but since the guys didn't play it, later, on the way to see Gord, we did the next best thing and played the cool *SR* version with Richie Hand singing from the OTB/ASB tape.

Before we knew it, 7 PM was fast approaching and to top off the evening R>R pulled out a sneak preview tape of *SR* new Neil tape featuring songs like The Losing End (a killer version) and Love Is A Rose. In the true Neil (and Beatles for that matter) tradition of mystification, details of who sings which tracks will not be forthcoming according to R>R. We are supposed to guess... :) With covers this good, that should just add to the fun.

Unfortunately R>R was unable to come with the three of us to see Gord. Tish has given up on him long ago, saying that R>R himself sings better than good o' Gord! There was a moment when she and Shakey almost came to blows over that statement! :) I hadn't seen Gord for 20 years and basically admired him for sticking it out and overcoming his self-destructive phase. Like Neil, he's a survivor, and he's still one handsome dude, and a consummate musician.

Before Shakey and Youngster returned home in the wee hours, they stopped back in for some soda and pizza and more interesting conversation, mostly centering on what Neil and The Horse are up to these days. I still can't get over the news of those stealth shows Half Moon Bay way. It's great news, if only to show that Neil can't sit around and do nothing, even when those near and dear to him leave for good. Neil and the boys pick up where they left off and bounce *back*. :)

It's always great to meet cool people and put faces to names and handles, and this time was no exception. May there be more Rustfests, and a travelling Rustfest if Neil tours!

Thanks for comin', guys!

& to Rusties everywhere: Long may you run!

. . . . . Mark (Powderfinger) / mklus@netaxs.com

The Photos

These photos are provided by Mark Powderfinger Klus. The size of each is listed below, for consideration by those on slow links.

 --> Powderfinger takes in RAM>ROD's music. (24K)

 --> YOUNGster takes in Shakey's music. (20K)

 --> RAM>ROD and Shakey make more music. (26K)

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