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9/17/08 Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh, NC

Movin' On, Living in Babylon, Positive Friction, I Don't Need a Riddle, Hit the Groove, Blue Sky, Tomorrow Still Knows, Beauty Within, Voice in My Head, Sailing, Ring of Fire, You're Breaking My Heart, Temporary Misery, These Are Better Days, Ancient Arms, It's Just Me, Broken Record, Garden of Eden, Seems to Want to Hurt This Time, No Place Like the Right Time
Encore: Locket and Key, Conscious Evolution

* No Tom Gilbert; Vic Stafford played drums

By Paul Roberge

I'm too tired to write a full-dress review; I have a full day of teaching tomorrow, after which I am to pick up Maggie and head to Charlotte. Just some random notes:

This was a very sweet show. The band was/is in a very nice space. Good turnout, but not at all close down at the rail, nice crowd for the most part. Many familiar faces, both from the list and from Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill-Greensboro-High Point-Charlotte Herd.

Jeb graciously introduced the "North Carolina rhythm section."

"These Are Better Days" was dedicated to the Obama campaign. Tara asked where we would all want to live if McCain/Palin were to prevail in November.

Tara broke two guitar strings during "Ancient Arms," in an Avett Brothers moment. A call went out for a person in the crowd who knew how to replace guitar srings, and it yielded one Jeff Hart, who effected the necessary repairs to Tara's satisfaction and public encomium.

Jeb announced the birth of Tom Gilbert's daughter, Dorothy Rose Gilbert, after "It's Just Me."

"Seems to Want to Hurt This Time" was dedicated to a person named Ransom, né Billy Hobbs (sp.?), apparently a friend of David McCracken's who was murdered last week. This song was in efffect a requiem and was movingly performed. During a particulary tender part of the jam, a hush fell over the crowd--a few conversations to be heard, here and there, but the not the usual din that is the norm for a club. A tear rolled off my cheek.

At the start of the encore, Tara told an anecdote about an aunt and uncle-in-law (I hope I recall this accurately) who are supporters of McCain/Palin. The images we were invited to ponder were of a moose head hung on White House wall, along with a portrait of Charlton Heston with a rifle, and a bear-skin rug. From the knucklehead gallery (which was actually pretty negligible overall) came a shout: "Just play music!" Both Tara and Jeb took exception to this, and rightly so.

"Conscious Evolution" went into free form during the jam--with Jay playing chords on the bass and Tara playing what sounded like a familiar old-time fiddle tune, the name of which I cannot summon. It was most extraordinary, all the more so when Jeb addressed a few choice, deeply felt remarks in the direction of the aforementioned knucklehead. I sincerely hope that Jeb would not mind my paraphrasing his words here, because what he said is important and expresses what so many of us feel viscerally: We, too, are weary of the lies and the bullshit; we love our children deeply and we shall do what we must to protect them from harm; we must not be told that we may not speak; and we must turn to the beauty in our own hearts.

In spite of myself, I have just written a review of this show.

And I bid you good night..

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