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6/2/05, Parade/State Theater, Ithaca, NY

Setlist (courtesy donnabase.com)
Movin' On, Blue Sky, Rocking Horse I Don't Need A Riddle,* Killing A Man, Family Picture, 40 Days & 40 Nights, Love and Gasoline, Seems to Want to Hurt This Time,* Give Me Just a Little Time, Me & Depression, No Place Like The Right Time, Tomorrow Still Knows, Hey Trudy,* Conscious Evolution
Encore: You Take Your Last Step Away (Jeb Only), I Wish You Love, Ring Of Fire

* w/Ward Puryear on rubboard

Photos of this show

By Jeff Bauer

I got into town around 5:30, parked, and immediately headed over to the box office at the State Theater to see if I could pick up my Will Call ticket. No one was there, so I sat and listened to the band soundchecking "I Wish You Love" until someone came into the office and told me to come back in an hour.

I headed over to Cascadilla gorge and hung out for a while, then back to the box office and got my ticket. Met up with some friends and headed over to the parade, securing a spot on Cayuga St. Had I thought it through, I would have gone to the start of the parade and followed the band's Grassroots float from the start.

Instead, I waited until it came along. The float consisted of a vintage truck towing two flatbed trailers that served as stages. The first was jammed to the edges with dancers and the second held the band, performing electric. They were doing Part-Time Lover right as they got to me, and Bill was in full rock star mode. The energy level was really high and I started snapping as many photos as I could. I couldn't really get good shots from the side so I hopped into the street and joined a group of fans, dancers, photographers and others that trailed the float for the rest of the parade.

After Part-Time Lover, they went into Big Parade, which seems like a good choice based on the title, but is pretty hysterical if you think about the lyrics. Jeb played while seated. Kathy Z had her keyboard in her lap and Tom played a stripped down version of his usual kit. Tara played her accordion only.

At the end of the parade, the band continued to play as the floats left the route, and people continued to hang out and dance. Finally a police officer spoke with someone on the float, the band stopped playing, and the scene kind of fizzled out.

Hung out for a couple of hours and then into the State Theater. I unfortunately did not make it in time for Kievan Rus, but did hear the official Ithaca Festival poet read the Ithaca Festival sonnet, which is included on Tim Anderson's most excellent soundboard recording of this show, downloadable from the Live Music Archive. I squeezed on up to my "assigned" seat in the sixth row. Then, at about 10:15 the band came on and people moved to wherever they wanted.

After a typical Movin' On opener, they went into Blue Sky and proved than they'd maintained the energy they'd established while playing the parade. I've heard them play this song A LOT, but Jeb's tasty guitar licks taking turns with Tara's heartfelt vocals still hit the spot.

Next came the first of several highlights for me: Rockin' Horse. I had seen them play this only once before, they nailed it. This song proves that in addition to being a rock star, Jeb is also a poet, and I just love Kathy Z's organ blends with Tara's fiddle on this tune.

I Don't Need A Riddle, which they played next, has been in heavy rotation for a little while, and Tara's organ and singing on this song are nothing short of hypnotic, whether or not you read anything into the lyrics. Ward Puryear joined in on rubboard for this song, and would come back out for several songs throughout the night.

Then came Killing A Man, which has come quite a long way since the band introduced it in 2003. When I heard the band start into Family Picture, I decided to abandon my spot up front in search of somewhere where they sound would be better.

After poking around a while, I settled in on a spot in the mostly empty balcony. This worked out well, as the band launched into 40 Days & 40 Nights and I had plenty of room to freak freely. I needed a breather after that, so I moved up to the first row of the balcony and sat through an absolutely beautiful rendition of Love and Gasoline, which before Life's A Ride came out I liked to refer to as Livin' On Love and Vasoline.

I stayed there for the Seems To Want To Hurt This Time that came next. Ward came back out for this, and at times he scrubbed that board so hard sparks flew off it. The best version of this song I've ever seen was at the post-election show at Touch of Texas in Binghamton last November, but this version, which clocked in at a little under 15 minutes, was an absolute delight.

With Give Me Just A Little Time, it was back to accordion and a party atmosphere. I just love the new deal where Kathy and Tara sing "So give me just a little time" together in response to Jeb's "I like the way you walk, girl."

The jam during Me & Depression has been going to different places lately, and if you had the patience to listen closely, you were rewarded. I liked this version much better than the last time I'd heard it, as part of the encore at the Bowery in New York a few weeks earlier.

I decided to head back to the front of the floor during No Place Like the Right Time, and had just found some room in the second row when the band start Tomorrow Still Knows. I hadn't felt strong about this song one way or another on the recordings I heard, and hadn't seen it live. This was a really beautiful version of a really beautiful song, with a long, moody, almost spacey jam at the end.

Then Tara picked up her accordion and Ward came back out for Hey Trudy, and the Theater once again became a zydeco dance hall. I thought that was going to end the set, but at Bill's suggestion the band played Conscious Evolution.

Jeb came back out by himself to play You Take Your Last Step Away as the first song of the encore. The I Wish You Love they'd soundchecked came next. Everyone pretty much figured the night was over after that, but Jeb called for one more, and started into Ring of Fire to end the night at about 12:20.

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