Spigot's Viper Room Recap

First I need to cop to my deep discomfort with going at all. I am *not comfortable* with this fan thing. I've never gotten an autograph from anyone (well, the Ramones, but I was 12). I've never written a fan letter. And before this season of AI, I've never visited a fan site.

So, deeply uncomfortable, I went by myself. And I was highly curious about what kind of people would show up. Turned out the crowd was 95% women. Someone (Dana?) upthread said she was surprised to see a fair amount of men - I was surprised the opposite. I saw a few who were clearly husbands, and then some who -as referenced above- were probably hoping to get lucky with the Soul Patrol

And the Viper Room stinks, by the way. (I find all clubs stink now they don't allow smoking: the smoke used to cover up the stale beer and people smell. Now it's just sitting out there all by itself.)

There was one guy standing beside me who I fell in love with, because he seemed as deeply alienated from the crowd as I was. He was by himself, and just waiting for the music. I liked him a lot, based solely on demeanour and his kind of very neutral appearance: I tried to figure out if it was possible he was Gray Charles (God, I'm lame), but now GC is here. So it was not GC.

The opening act was dreadful.

Then LiMBO came on. I was standing about four people back from the front on the left side, and that's where LiMBO -and later Taylor and Elliott and Bucky- came through the audience. The Viper Room is a dive, so the band just walks in and out through the crowd.

LiMBO played two songs, then introduced Taylor.

He was wearing a nubby silk jacket (we've seen it before lots, the dark grey one), black shirt and I think black trousers. Gel  He is *extremely* tall and has a perfectly normal build, not actually stocky. His eyes are ridiculously, almost laughably, intense - I think it's actually the eyebrows, which make him seem broody.

There was some patter--who was from where, something about the kind of album he would make ("compared to WHAT"). He did a lovely version of Hell of a Day, and then another song whose name I can't recall, with a good thirty seconds of rap in the middle. That was fun. The crowd was pretty excited, but in a "I haven't been to a concert in a decade" kinda way IMO - there was lots of screaming, dancing, and some slightly lackadaisical arm-waving/fist-pumping. There were some rock hands 

I must confess I didn't find Taylor sexy. Which surprised me. There's something opaque to me about him. He didn't strike me as fake or rehearsed or disingenuous - just veiled. He seemed -on the basis of watching him perform for like, an hour, so you know, FWIW- like a very private person. I didn't feel like I got even a glimpse of the "real" Taylor. Which is interesting, because I did think the other guys were more readable.

Elliott was the big shocker for me. I posted before that Elliott bored me silly on the show - I swear to God, he would start to sing and I would zonk out completely, no matter how hard I tried to stay focused. But live, he is riveting. His voice cuts through everything else. And he was super-fun to watch; I know he was mocked for his hip-hop and Snoopy moves on AI, but I think he's got a great groovy sense of rhythm. He was very, very cool.

I've always thought that for all his politeness and Mom-loving and all that, that Elliott had a deeply snarky streak, and I think I saw it tonight. There was some herky-jerky stage frenzy happening, and Elliott briefly slid into a kind of accelerated version of it - it was, I thought, just gently taking the piss. Made me laugh.

Then Taylor left the stage, brushing kind of heavily against me - he seemed in a hurry and zoned out. That left Elliott to finish the song, which seemed to freak him out a bit - he took a crack at it, and then the band seemed to rescue him by seguing back into Use Me. I *think* that's what happened - it was a bit blurry (and unlike Taylor, I was not drinking

(Best song of the night for me - Use Me. That was FUN. Also Move.)

Then Elliott left the stage. As reported earlier, here's the whole of our conversation:

Me: Hey are you signed yet?
Elliott: Oh yeah, totally.
Me: Good. Congratulations.

I should've asked with who -sorry!- but I felt weird holding him up. I am from out of town but that does not make me any less proud a human being.

I think there were another two songs with just LiMBO, then a break. Which is when I Blackberried in my breaking Elliott news!

Then LiMBO came back on with another 1-2 songs, then called up Elliott and Bucky(!). Bucky is *also* adorable - lanky and fluid and kind of fey. Someone somewhere (VFTW?) once posted a photo of him dancing with his arms out, mocking him for effeminacy - and although I don't see anything remotely gay about him, he is -literally- limp-wristed and kind of floaty. He was lovely - stood towards the back of the stage and danced with a huge smile on his face. He was up for only one song and to be honest, I don't think he sang a single word. If he did, it washed over me without registering.

Couple more songs. I'm sorry I didn't write down titles, but Boulder Soul posted a set list in the other thread that seemed totally accurate. No JHR (which someone posted they thought they'd heard on the cellcert), no original Taylor compositions apart from HOAD. On the last song (whose name escapes me), Taylor played harmonica, which was pretty exciting.

And then it was over: it seemed awfully short, although in retrospect it had to have been a couple of hours, because it was I think nearly two by then.

Couple final things:

- I loved loved loved the guy playing sax (and flute): he was spectacular. A real showman, and hugely talented.

- As always, Taylor was very gracious with the band - naming them each to the audience several times, pointing and clapping when they had little solo moments.

- He also said The Firm was at the Viper, and that he is "very very happy with his management." He said that twice, with a lot of emphasis.

- And he pointed to The Firm's table. There was a guy sitting there who looked an awful lot like John Mayer. Is it possible John Mayer is in LA right now?

- That smallish older black man we see in some of the AI tour bus photos with Taylor? He was there, helping Taylor get back onstage after the break. A very nice-seeming man.

- I did not witness any arm-licking. Boo. Or depravity of any kind. Booooo.

- I didn't get the sense Taylor was trashed. Drinking, yes, but drunk, not to my eyes.

- And, I really really hope Taylor can keep LiMBO. It was a surprise to me how good they were.

- And I did not see JT. Or Constantine.

And I had forgotten my favourite moment of the night! Just as Taylor came on, I'd been standing by the exit door, next to two guys. I'd say early-thirties, and they didn't look particularly out of place, but nor did they look like Viper regulars or staff. When Taylor came onstage, the one guy turned to his friend and asked who Taylor was. His friend said "I think he's the guy who was on that show, that contest show." Then they talked for a couple of minutes trying to remember the name of the program, and whether "that guy" had actually won or not.

I was LMAO. Couldn't figure out WHAT they were doing there, how they got tickets, why they showed up. Hilarious.

ETA: the set list--

Hell of a Day
Brown Eyed Handsome Man
Doncha Lie to Me
Use Me
Whipping Post
Dance to the Music
Gimme Some Lovin'
Ride Sally Ride
Take you Higher