Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

29Aug/0919

Setlist: Cracker – Beachland Ballroom – 8/28/09

crackerlowerylive

Cracker can still bring it.

You can consider this less of a review, and more of a collection of some thoughts, with the occasional memory flashback that you've come to expect here on ATV.

The last time I saw Cracker 14 years ago was damn close to a religious experience. Going into the Beachland show, I knew they weren't going to top it. But damn if they didn't prove me wrong, coming very close to lapping that 90s date at the Odeon.

Thanks to the band's pro-taping stance, with scads of shows available on the Live Music Archive in soundboard quality, I've kept up with Messrs. Lowery and Hickman, tracking setlists, watching the mix of common tracks and impressive rarities that pop up from show to show. I've downloaded a number of those shows that were pretty good, but I hadn't heard anything in the ballpark of that Odeon show.

But Cracker is a great live band, from potentially the last generation of musical history well populated with bands that could actually play live, so I've kept the faith.

And last night, Cracker delivered that show that I've been patiently waiting for. Luckily for me, it was in Cleveland, with me in attendance. A show that I almost didn't go to, and with each passing song, I was more and more glad that I did.

Opening with "Mr. Wrong."

Oh Cracker, you're teasing me, aren't you?

"Teen Angst." Third song. A song that I've heard a bazillion times, but it always is welcome.

"Euro-Trash Girl." Six songs in.

"Around The World," two songs later.

Mixed with plenty of cuts from the new album Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey, an album that I liked, I expressed to my good pal CB how well the songs from the new album come off live. He agrees, and this is one of only a couple of moments during the night that he will not be a dick.

I'm tracking the setlist with my Blackberry, and CB sends me a txt from across the room telling me "if you look up, you can actually see the band."

Ha ha, very funny.

Meanwhile, CB is playing the part of Mr. Newspaper Reporter, scrawling his setlist on a piece of paper, like we're at a show in 1978, despite having an Iphone. Late in the evening, the two nerds pose for a picture together, as we both make setlist notes.

I tell CB that if the band pulls out "Big Dipper," "you're going to see a grown man cry." And I forget, that CB really likes "Big Dipper" as well - I knew that there was a reason that we still talk.

A few songs later, I hear David Lowery strum a couple of slightly disconnected chords that I quickly string together as sounding a helluva lot like "Big Dipper." The song begins. HOLY CRAP, it is "Big Dipper." It is 1996 all over again, and while I might have been exaggerating about the tears, it is a definite moment, and I'm singing every word, every sentence, and every syllable.

The main setlist finishes with "Low," and as the band leaves the stage, @jukebox65 wonders what they might encore with? I've got a few tracks in mind, but instead, I get a surprise with the beginning of the next track.

I'm standing in your corridor
I wonder what i'm waiting for
The leaves are drifting out to sea
I'm waiting for you desperately

"I Want Everything." I don't know this one, but I know that I own it. Don't cry for me over this next part, but understand this: In a biz where people like us get an average of at least 10 new albums per week, you're bound to miss a song here and there. I don't know that I ever went cover to cover with the Kerosene Hat album - The Golden Age was as you might say, my jam. I spent virtually all of 1996 listening to The Golden Age, bought everything Cracker had released prior, and subsequently purchased everything that Cracker have put out since.

As a guy that grew up listening to one album purchased with hard earned allowance for months, I love moments like this.

All things beautiful
All things beautiful
I want everything
I want everything

The songs that hit me out of nowhere like "I Want Everything" come at unexpected points, an always welcome moment that I greet as a gift. I spend the moments that follow marveling at the timing, whether times are good or bad, just marveling at the wonder of it all, feeling suddenly good, or in this case, feeling so much better.

Pardon me for the sudden zen-out, but if you've heard "I Want Everything," you might have similar thoughts/memories of the first time that you heard it. And if you haven't heard it, click!

Shows like a Cracker show can be like a musical family reunion for guys like us - I spent the night catching up with friends, both old and new, and left the Beachland floating, and perhaps even levitating a bit from the show that I'd just seen.

Nights like this, are what music is supposed to be all about, and are the reason that I am still a hardcore music nerd at heart, and I'm hoping/thinking that's never going to change.

Cracker. Go see 'em live, go pick up the new album, and grab yourself some back catalog too. This is what the world needs now, trust me on that.

complete setlist:

Mr Wrong
Hey Bret (You Know What Time It Is)
Teen Angst
Show Me How This Thing Works
Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out With Me
Euro-Trash Girl
Waiting For You Girl
Around The World
Gimme One More Change
Happy Birthday to Me
Friends
Yalla Yalla (Let's Go)
100 Flower Power Maximum
Pictures of Matchstick Men
Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey
Sweet Thistle Pie
Lonesome Johnny Blues
I Could Be Wrong, I Could Be Right
Get Off This
Big Dipper
Low

1st encore:

I Want Everything
Hand Me My Inhaler

2nd encore

Shake Some Action (Johnny Hickman lead vocal)

David Lowery image courtesy of Cracker

  • http://www.clevelandbachelor.blogspot.com/ CB

    “He agrees, and this is one of only a couple of moments during the night that he will not be a dick.”

    God DAMN I love you, MW.

    Seriously, though, this was an absolutely wonderful write-up of an incredible show. I know I can't top it when I post my own thoughts later this afternoon. Great job. And (surprisingly) great to see you last night, too!

  • anniezaleski

    what a wonderful show review. i like this a lot.

  • Stacy aka Jukebox65

    Such a great show! I'm so glad I went and glad there's a place in Cleveland like The Beachland. Thanks for the the post. Good thing you got that Blackberry. Wondered what you were doing…

  • Stacy aka Jukebox65

    BTW yes please buy the album everyone… I bought it at the show and listened on the way home. It is a full album. No clunkers. All Cracker

  • Matt

    Thanks CB – we don't get nearly enough chances to hang out. Glad we could do this – it was good to be with you, Angie, and the whole dang gang!

  • Matt

    Hell yeah!

    Yay for the Beachland. P.S. – I have no idea what I was doing. I was rocking. I know that much.

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  • zandria1

    I'm sensing that you had a great time :)

    Thanks for sharing the evening with those of us that couldn't be there!

  • Matt

    Thanks Annie – this is a show you shoulda been in attendance for!

  • Matt

    I mighta had some fun – thanks for the comment!

  • Kevin V.

    Thanks for posting the set list! It was a great show. Cracker seemed appreciative of the crowd after the second encore.

  • zandria1

    I'm sensing that you had a great time :)

    Thanks for sharing the evening with those of us that couldn't be there!

  • Matt

    Thanks Annie – this is a show you shoulda been in attendance for!

  • Matt

    I mighta had some fun – thanks for the comment!

  • Kevin V.

    Thanks for posting the set list! It was a great show. Cracker seemed appreciative of the crowd after the second encore.

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