A Perfect DaySo, a couple Saturdays ago, I had what I consider to be the perfect day... intellectual plus visceral stimulation in the form of a matinee performance by David Sedaris followed by a post-NAMM private party hosted by Dusenberg Guitars and featuring musical performances by Brian Ray and Black Unicorn opening for the Dirty Knobs (the side project of Tom Petty guitarist Mike Campbell).
You're probably sick of me blogging about Sedaris every year, but as long as he swings through Southern California on his reading tours, I will continue to attend his shows and love him madly. This time around was probably my favorite performance. First off, I saw him at this tiny venue on campus at UCLA called the Macgowan Theater. It was very intimate, and the fact that it was general admission meant that I sat in the 3rd row. Because it was sold out at probably no more than 250 people, I was quite bemused when, while waiting in line, David himself came out of the side door of the theater to take his place at the front door to act as one of two ticket-takers for his own performance. He warmly greeted his worshippers, directing them to the restrooms and pointing out that no food or beverages were permitted in the theater itself. Hysterically, I'd say 50 percent of the folks didn't realize it was him. (Actually, that's a sad statement on the general public... are ticket-takers so menial that we don't look them in the eye? Apparently about half of us don't.) Anyway, the intimate setting afforded a likewise rapport between Sedaris and the audience, and the smile on his face throughout bespoke my theory that he enjoyed himself as much as the audience. His new book is being released this summer, and based on the preview of the material, it promises to be another winner.
Anyway, then I came home from Westwood, had some dinner, watched an episode of Six Feet Under (my WGA-strike addiction/passion), and it was time to leave for the Knobs gig.
Since the party was hosted by Dusenberg, you can see that they provided the three matching guitars (the Mike Campbell signature model) in this photo. The first band was Brian Ray and Black Unicorn. I wasn't familiar with Brian Ray, but apparently, he's a touring player with Paul McCartney (and shame on me for not knowing him). He played a lot of original material, but about two-thirds through his set, he told a story about when he was young guy in the Bay Area. He had an older sister who was a singer and was dating this musician. He remembered watching this guy pulling up to pick up his sister, getting out of his Mini with his guitar and big sideburns, and Brian thought to himself that this was the coolest guy he'd ever seen. Then said he was going to play a song that this guy had written for his sister, and I turned to the people I was with and said, "we're going to know this song." Sure enough, he launched into Cinnamon Girl.
The place was packed with musicians, and my groupie antennae were working full throttle. (It's a gift, I promise you.) The Knobs played a great set, Mike Campbell smiling throughout. They played a lot of Beatles, but mostly, they played songs that showed off Campbell's amazing guitar chops. Picture here is the encore where both Brian Ray and Peter Stroud (Sheryl Crow, etc.) came out to join the Knobs on Guitar Boogie Shuffle. You might also notice that Mike Campbell was back to playing his trusty Rickenbacker by then.
Today, is the Super Bowl, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are playing the halftime show. I'll be curious to see if Mike Campbell's smile is as broad today as it was the other night.
(In this last photo, it's left-to-right, Stroud, Campbell, Ray.)