The Neighborhood Theater
Charlotte, NC

This was the second gig after the short European trip. The first was at the Handlebar the night before. The opening act this night was Mel Melton & the Wicked Mojos, a great combination with Sonny's music, of course, and all this made for a three hour show. The setlist was identical to that from the Handlebar, although in a slightly different sequence. Mel sat in for a few tunes, a nice surprise that was kept by not having a change in equipment set-up, since he used Dave's microphone

Z Rider
South of I-10
Native Stepson
Promise Land
Wind in Denver
Gemini Blues
Port of Calling (aka Ioana)
Blues Attack (Mel Melton on harmonica)
USS Zydecoldsmobile (Mel Melton on rub board)
All About You (Mel Melton on harmonica)
Broken Hearted Road
Back to Bayou Teche
Gone Pecan
Pedal to the Metal
Congo Square (Mel Melton on harmonica)

There was an exciting incident when Sonny's microphone failed totally for a couple verses of Zydecoldsmobile. We turned around to see the sound board guy in back twiddling knobs for an anxious moment to no avail. On stage nobody skipped a beat, and Sonny sang two verses that nobody heard into a dead mike. Then the equipment guy made a mad dash on stage, as Sonny stepped out of the way in stride, and changed out the mike before the song ended, so there was a vocal part at the beginning, and again at the end. But in the middle, this time a rare opportunity to hear the rhythm guitar part of that song without the vocal. Applause for everyone at the conclusion. (BTW, the equipment guy this time was none other than Chris Pappalardo from Waterline on whose new CD "Long Goners" Sonny, Dave and Kenneth add some solid support.)

Who else could play the same setlist night after night and we wouldn't mind? And the more I hear it, the more I think it a well crafted setlist, and changes to it are not made casually, I suspect, especially when you consider the different guitar tunings. Z Rider is a classic instrumental opener that demands attention. An anthem like South of I-10 or upbeat rocker like Gone Pecan always goes well 2nd or 3rd. A nice mix of uptempo boogies, instrumentals, slow blues and the very occasional surprise or two in the middle. Bayou Teche near the end of the middle portion, just in case people are not dancing yet. And then when they are, Pedal to the Metal keeps it up and fits perfectly as the penultimate. And then finally Congo Square, always a great encore. I didn't even miss that friendly stranger Spider Gris this time. Great stuff. I never tire of it.

Jim Krizek
Charlotte, NC

all Neighborhood Theater photos this page © 2005 Jim Krizek

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