* April 15, 1999 in Fort Collins, Colorado at Aggie Theatre...great show. Crowd started out on the low-energy side but picked up quickly. Set started with Eurotrash Girl. Obviously a fan-heavy audience. People went apeshit for "Pictures of Matchstick Men," establishing the presence of an over-21 crowd. Highlight for me was Johnny's 2nd solo song [can look up title later] which was simply haunting. Band seemed a little tired or something by the end but did remarkably well. If I'm not mistaken, of the 3 nights I saw, this set was most focused on older music, other than the required hits and GB tracks.
* April 16, 1999 in Vail, Colorado at Garton's...i am too overwhelmed by my personal triumphs to comment properly. in all, everyone there had a great time. Garton's has a bouncing dance floor--the crowd got to dancing and bouncing so hard, the crew spent tons of time picking up falling amps and taping mikes to the stage. tons of energy in that place that night. possibly lots of vail partiers and not die-hard fans though, since irreverence prevailed during "Big Dipper" and David didn't let the crowd's chatter go unmentioned! They played a long and amazing set.
* April 17, 1999 in Denver, Colorado at the Ogden. I arrived heartbreakingly late to discover I'd missed Lonesome Johnny Blues. I soon forgot my pain as the band did an amazing remainder of the set. This show, people listened in more apparent rapture to "Big Dipper" and other not-for-moshing greats. This was the only time in 3 nights I heard "I Want Everything." The sound was fantastic. The accordian sound was crisp and really pretty this night, for some reason. The staff of the Ogden was neurotic though. No drinks down front, no cameras (even David's was a problem for them) and get the hell out the second the show is over.
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- First and foremost were the shows. Each show was two hours of high-spirited energy. I didn't write down set lists, but we heard How Can I Live Without You, Cracker Soul, Loser, I Want Everything, Dr. Bernice and killer versions of the usuals like Teen Angst and the supremely beautiful Big Dipper, which suffered chatty audiences in both Aspen and Vail (as Soraya mentioned). David likened the town of Aspen to that of Santa Cruz and said something like "That's one reason I moved away," (seeming to mean the rudeness of the audiences in both places). The Double Diamond in Aspen (April 14, 1999) on was full of end of ski season partiers, including the ass-biting man in the wheelchair (how's your bruise, Nancy?)
Next night, at the Aggie Theatre in Ft. Collins, David chucked his acoustic guitar in frustration at something I can't remember at the moment and I don't remember during which song either! (and I was sober that night too.)
Next day we drove back into the mountains again, through the snow and ice, trying to get back to Vail in time for the show that night. We got to know I-70 between Denver and Vail really well. I wish Aspen and Vail had been on consecutive nights - it would have cut out a lot of the driving and allowed more time for play (and shopping!) in the mountains rather than driving in and out and then in and out again. But no complaints here - the scenery is spectacular and we tried to get off I-70 and onto side roads when we could.
About an hour after we got to Garton's, Mango Mark showed up, relieving our fear for his safety driving in the bad weather from Denver. As Mark and Soraya described, the floor there bounces when enough people are jumping, and indeed the amps tumbled and the mics jitterbugged. It was like being on a trampoline, or as Bob (who nearly got creamed when his amps fell) said, like f***ing on a waterbed.
It was cool to finally see Cracker at the Ogden Theater in Denver - a city that David said has always been good to Cracker. I just wish they would have played St. Cajetan there (they did a couple of the other nights), especially since we had a chance to visit the former church the song is named for.
The Shiner Song was the final song of the encoreat the Vail show, and before starting it, David indicated they would play this Czechoslovakian polka as "punishment" of the audience for talking during Big Dipper - "And that'll be the end of the show" (so there!) Anyway, what was cool was that Kenny stood on the corner of the drum riser as he played accordion instead of staying down behind the keyboards, which usually obstruct the view of his playing.
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Here I am, burnt to a crisp, listening to Cracker in a small club. Stoked, I mean it. I get right up front as usual.
Once the music starts, everyone realizes that something is wrong with the stage. Cracker is rocking very hard and the club floor and stage is rolling like a SouthWesterly, winter Santa Cruz swell.
The amplifiers are rocking back and forth, keeping rhythm to the motion of the crowd. The bass amp is swaying like a rubber tombstone in an earthquake.
David Lowrey's small amp stack is also on the verge of falling on its face and the roadie is watching nervously from the corner of the stage.
Everybody was looking at everbody else wondering if the worst would happen.
The band rocked on with "Sweet Thistle Pie" and the four foot tall bass amp fell right on its face. The band played on while roadies swarmed the stage.
The bass speaker box was placed on its side and the band played on. But what about Lowrey's amp? During the next song or two, the roadees watched as Lowrey's small guitar stack swayed and tumbled.
Like the Rock Star that he is, Lowrey glared at the roadee, threw his guitar down, kicked it out of the way and kept on rockin. I couldn't believe it. Nothing was going to stop this show.
Finally, the roadee decides to get on the stage and hold the gear down with tape and later with his hands! Gear still moving!
I'm not so sure about the band, but the audience was loving it. Nowdays, shows are so planned that it is a rare treat to see someone perform under pressure.
Even though the circumstances weren't the greatest, Cracker came through like the pros that they are. I love everything about this band.
All the best, David
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