Two great countries, four terrific John Stewart shows, and at least a dozen wonderful close friends (Bloodliners) to share it all with. My thanks to the previous posters for their kind remarks. I can say for sure that Olivia certainly deserves them. She is truly my "All Time Woman" in every way and, as was pointed out, is "sport" enough to indulge me my unconventional fantasies such as this trip. No, I will not be discussing any additional fantasies – so please don’t ask.
I think Mark probably summed it up best when he
said: "Whilst John may not be attracting the numbers of fans he surely
deserves, the ones he has got are surely of the highest quality, both as
people and fans." I could not agree more. From the moment I
walked into the Dalry Inn and was greeted by Bob Elliot (the great
"backside" photographer), I knew I was among real friends, or as Julie
said " I’m with people who have got ‘IT’". The way I see it,
‘IT’ is a love and appreciation of John’s music and much more. It
was a fantastic feeling to travel that far from home and strike instant
people that we had never seen before – that’s the power of Bloodlines.
Julie, Bob, Ray, Tony, Mike, Eric, Ian, Rod and Mark have done a great job of chronicling the events and reviewing the shows in Dalry and York. I will add only a few personal experiences and observations:
Before the Friday night show a local, I don’t think it was "Bairt" from the 1994 finger article, asked me if it was true that I had traveled from the US to Dalry just to see John. I answered in the affirmative and he asked me if I was on medication.
In spite of what Dave "Dave" told me to expect, Andy Fergus is a true gentleman and he was a great host for the "events". It’s hard to express in words the feeling of walking the hallowed boards of The Turf and not only meeting Peter O’Brien and Andy but having my picture taken with them and The Man (thanks, photographer Bob).
I was surprised that no one mentioned the overuse of the drum machine, the strange mention of the Saint of San Joaquin or questioned the multiple uses of the "Capo" on the "Nancy the Dancing Goat" performance.
Bob does not know it, but I have a photo of him taking the photo of the waitress’ backside when she was reaching for the Guinness on the bottom shelf. I will hold on to that for future blackmail use, if it becomes necessary.
As reviewers have documented, the York shows were outstanding and Eric and his wife Joan, Mike and Ian were great Bloodlines hosts there. Olivia and I also enjoyed very much meeting and talking with Terry Tillman at The Winning Post.
Two song performances really stood out to me:
1. Saturday at the Turf – "Miracle Girl" – I think the arrangement was a little slower and leaner than the Havana tape version – in any case I thought it was outstanding.
2. "Runaway Train" at Fibbers on Sunday – again a slower and more emotional rendering of the song that make a strong impact on me. Bob, please consider making this song available at your site when you get the York tapes. I would like to hear other’s opinions of this version.
The Finger article from 1994 that was posted a
few days ago was probably the beginning point of my planning for this trip.
I can only say that the trip lived up to all I hoped for and expected,
and delivered much more. If you ever have the opportunity -
go for it! The UK Bloodliners - what a great bunch! - will make sure
you have a wonderful time.
Dan Hodges, Roseland, NJ, USA
Photos : Bob Elliot