Submitted by Doug Stacey:
It was at a small
club called Shank Hall (fans of Spinal Tap may appreciate the reference)
that Bruce has played several times in the past. Seating for
about 250 with only 14 rows of seats between the stage on one end and an
open area then bar in the back. Very intimate, not a bad seat there.
Banking on what I’ve read about the tour and not wanting the pay Ticketmaster fees, I went up with my son (21) and bought tickets at the door. Worked out well as someone asked my son on the way in if he needed a ticket and just handed him one. When we showed up the seats were about ¾ full but hand it to Milwaukee on a Wednesday night the place ended up packed with all seats filled and people standing around the sides and the back. Nice full enthusiastic house.
Bruce seemed to respond real well to the full house and energy in the room. He seemed to be having a good time, smiling a lot at the response he was getting to the songs.
He played the whole first set without once picking up an electric guitar, which was a little bit of a disappointment to me. He only used the ‘shiny one’ (sorry, don’t know guitars very well but most will know what I’m talking about…) on two songs in the second set (Wait No More and Dust And Diesel) and the blue/turquoise one on two more ( I want to say Slow Down Fast and If A Tree Falls). On a side note on the way out of the venue my son saw Julie Wolf walking to the bus and started talking with her. I asked her why so little electric and she said she didn’t know but was shocked when during rehearsals for the tour Bruce said he wasn’t bringing any electric guitars. Obviously he’s relented somewhat but I’m not sure what’s up with that.
me song-wise were The End Of All
Rivers in the first set and Wait
No More in the second set as it was the very first one they ‘stretched’ a
little and took some solos. Overall, way too few instances of him doing
extended breaks on the guitar. Dust and Diesel sounded real good. Slow Down Fast, If A Tree Falls and the encore was also great.
Song selection? I guess ‘tired’ is the word that comes to mind. I guess I can see keeping consistent during a tour (easier to remember… he started one song in the second set and on the second line sang the wrong words and even said ‘wait, that’s not right’ and picked right up with the correct verse) but I’ve seen him this tour, solo in the summer, and last year’s short Speechless tour and we are basically getting the same set list every time. I’d hope that he could change it up a little from one tour to the next. Why he gravitates to some songs and completely ignores other whole CDs I don’t know. Easy to play? Good for the flow of guitars he's using? I don’t know.
By the second half of the second set the crowd was applauding enthusiastically for solos or specific lines in various songs and were standing after ever song. Right before he played Mystery he stopped and mentioned that he couldn’t imagine a better reception than what he was getting and that he was happy it was in Milwaukee. He said he’s been here many times but it wasn’t until today that he had a chance to take his bike out and ride along Lake Michigan and it was just beautiful.
Unfortunately we only got one encore.
As I said on the way out we started talking to Julie Wolf as she was walking towards the bus out front. She seems like a great person. I asked her how long the tour was going to go and she said right now all they know is this first 7 weeks, a two and a half week break, then six more.
Anyway, as we were starting
to leave I told Julie I’d see them Saturday
night in Chicago. She looked at my son and said ‘what about you, you
going?’ and he responded that he was afraid not, this was it for him.
chipped in that it was only because I didn’t pop for another ticket for him and she said ‘oh, you need a ticket? Write down your name and I’ll have one at will call for you’. How nice is that? We didn’t have anything to write
with so she made him memorize her email address and send her his name so she could make sure he got one. (As of today they’ve exchanged emails she said‘ you’re in’.)
All in all it was a great night