June 12, 2002
Life Long #1 Dan Fan
Twenty-one years has past since the Innocent-Age tour which I attended in Tennessee. For me the anticipation was more than I could bare. The chance to see Dan for the first time in two decades. The place was the intimate setting of the 800 person capacity Turning Stone Casino, in upstate New York. Accompanied by my 15 year old son (who in my opinion is the only 15 year old who knows ever word on every one of Dan's albums!!), we set out on our two hour trek north to the small town of Verona, New York where Dan was set to go on stage at 8pm. We (of course) were the first one's to arrive in the "Showroom" where the concert was going to take place. Since I purchased tickets two and a half months prior to the concert, we had undoubtedly the BEST seats in the building right in the front next to the stage.
Nothing but smiles and applause greeted Dan and his band as he walked calmly on the stage, remaining with his back to the audience literally till the first note was played. He began with "Magic Every Moment". This song, as with many he played was taken from his list of "top-shelf" name-brand music that he was known for. The song was loud, his voice was awesome, and his playing was brilliant. Following that song, he greeting the fans by saying how happy he was to be back to upstate New York. Without a moments notice he darted to the piano and seemingly before he even sat down he began "Hearts Hotel". Again, the song was done with excellence! His voice during the entire concert was MUCH better than the 50-year-old voice that I was anticipating. He was able reach many of the higher notes (with a little help from his long-time band member and friend Robert McEntee, and bass player Mark Andes).
One very obvious negative feeling I and many others took away from this concert was two things: First, Dan appeared on many occasions
disenchanted with his sound people for allowing MANY untimely loud reverb squeaks. His facial expressions confirmed his displeasure and on two occasions motioned to them to come over and I assume to fix the reverb problem! In addition, prior to the song "The Reach", he yelled over to the sound people: "TURN THIS DOWN!", which meant that the beautiful "Guild" guitar he was playing was too loud for his liking.
Secondly, with his battery of songs to choose from, he really sold the
audience short and didn't play NEARLY enough of his vintage music. I
counted 7 albums than I didn't hear one song from! In addition, he
allow his bass player Mark Andes to play a tune from his old band
"FireFall" which was good, but not what the audience wanted to hear. He only played two guitar solos: "Leader of the Band", and "Make Love Stay", which in my opinion was the highlight of the concert. His voice during these two songs was slow, methodical, and rich! However, he (like most of the concert), had NO dialog with the audience as to the upcoming song/songs. I felt that he could have spent more time warming up to the audience. Probably the most noticeable thing that I saw was that he NEVER SMILED! He almost appeared "pissed" about something the entire time. He never let it affect his singing, but it was very evident.
Lastly, his encore which was greatly anticipated turned out to be a George Harrison tune, and I feel that everybody wanted to hear ONE OF HIS SONGS! "A Place In The World For A Gambler" was everybody's hope, but it didn't happen.
I hope to see him again, and all-in-all it was a an unforgettable evening.
Enjoy - Ever-On
Tom Yelverton in Upstate New York