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

10Nov/0912

A Date With A Smithereen…

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As a master writer of songs about shattered, broken and irreparable relationships whose favorite key is E minor, Pat DiNizio could be seen as a melancholy kind of guy.  That may be, but the version of his “Living Room Concert” series which he presented Saturday night at the Beachland Ballroom brought happiness to all in attendance.

Spotlighting 18 songs over two-plus hours interspersed with stories about his childhood, his parents, the circus, and plenty of life-as-a-rock-star tales, the concert gave longtime fans insight into DiNizio and his career that they could not have acquired through 25 years of listening to his music.

Alone on stage with only his mic stand, a guitar, and a very un-rock-star-like beverage assortment of coffee and water, DiNizio did an outstanding job of channeling the lyrical energy of the opener, “Only a Memory,” into his passionate vocal delivery.

That same energy and emotion was present throughout the show.  It was as if the storytelling and recollections brought DiNizio back, or at least closer, to the original spirit which inspired his songs.

The show relied heavily on the Smithereens golden period, pulling primarily from Especially For You, Green Thoughts, 11, and Blow Up. Unexpected surprises included “Blue Period,” the band’s 1989 collaboration with Belinda Carlisle, “She’s Got a Way,” DiNizio’s lovely tribute to his daughter from God Save the Smithereens, and “Evening Dress” from the underrated Blow Up.

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A well-known Buddy Holly fan, DiNizio played his tribute to Holly’s wife, “Maria Elena,” and told the story of meeting her unexpectedly in his dressing room. Wondering aloud why no other band or artist released an album in honor of the 50th anniversary of Holly’s death, DiNizio broke into “Well Alright” from the Koch Records album Pat Dinizio/Buddy Holly and started an audience sing-along.

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Among the second half highlights was “House We Used to Live In,” another sing-along preceded by a great story about DiNizio’s childhood home being the gathering place for the neighborhood kids.  The five song return to Especially For You was especially entertaining, particularly “In a Lonely Place Without You,” a haunting admission of acceptance and guilt-laden desperation wrung dry by DiNizio’s emotive vocals.

What was apparent after spending a night with Pat DiNizio is that his songs have great substance and are still impactful, he’s really good on guitar, he has a genuine passion for his profession, and he still has more to say after 30 years in the business.  Good for him and good for us.

To catch up with Pat and peruse his vast assortment of musical wares, head to patdinizio.com.

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Opener Freedy Johnston was warmly received in his first trip to Cleveland in many years.  Johnston is a respected writer and veteran performer who jarred some memories when he played his 1994 hit “Bad Reputation” from his major-label debut, This Perfect World.  His set included two great covers, the 1968 Jimmy Webb classic “Wichita Lineman,” first popularized by Glen Campbell, and the 1970 smash from one-hit wonder Edison Lighthouse, “Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes.”  Check out his release, My Favorite Waste of Time, an eclectic and well-chosen collection of ten cover songs, and also stay tuned for a new album from Johnston, which will be released in January.

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P.S.

Some friends came in from New York/New Jersey to see the show and they were blown away both by the performances and the club. Each one fell in love with the pure Cleveland vibe exuded by the Beachland, promising to come back for another show in the near future.  They couldn’t get over being able to sit 30 feet from the stage for a Pat DiNizio show which cost only $23 on a Saturday night.  Hats off to the Beachland staff for another in a seemingly never-ending run of great shows.  Thanks also for the nice seating arrangements.  It was much appreciated.

Pat DiNizio's Setlist:

Only A Memory
Somewhere Down The Line
Blue Period
She's Got A Way
Yesterday Girl
Behind The Wall of Sleep
Since You Went Away
Something New
Especially For You
Maria Elena
Well Alright
House That We Used To Live In
Top of the Pops
Evening Dress
Cigarette
In A Lonely Place
Strangers When We Meet
Blood & Roses

  • Matt

    Evening Dress was a reaaaallly nice pick – one of my favorite songs of the later Smithereens albums. It was also cool to hear Something New as well – I don't know that I would have guessed the story behind it, so that was one interesting thing about Pat's solo shows – getting to hear stories that are new, even to the largest Smithereens fan. Honorable mention has to be given to Pat's story about touring with the Ramones as well. Classic.

  • brianpriestly

    Pat did a show for us last March and I could not describe it more perfectly as you have. Pat was like having a relative over. He is also very kid friendly as he's a dad also.
    Pat even played in his socks and slept on our sofa..(he chose the sofa because it was in front of the TV. He could have had a bed). I was going to title my story,”Honey, there is a Rock Star on our Sofa”. Then the follow up was “A Rock Star Drove My Car” But I won't get into that one.

  • Matt

    Brian,

    That's a great story…..it sounds like a wonderful experience. I know that Kevin has always talked about having Pat do a living room show. The show this past weekend was our initiation into the “living room” experience, even though it was in a venue. I can't help but think that I'll probably get a call one of these days from Kev to let me know that he's got Pat booked for a living room gig. We had a blast!

    Do you have a blog with the story that you mention, or is it hypothetical?

  • brianpriestly

    Pat did a show for us last March and I could not describe it more perfectly as you have. Pat was like having a relative over. He is also very kid friendly as he's a dad also.
    Pat even played in his socks and slept on our sofa..(he chose the sofa because it was in front of the TV. He could have had a bed). I was going to title my story,”Honey, there is a Rock Star on our Sofa”. Then the follow up was “A Rock Star Drove My Car” But I won't get into that one.

  • Matt

    Brian,

    That's a great story…..it sounds like a wonderful experience. I know that Kevin has always talked about having Pat do a living room show. The show this past weekend was our initiation into the “living room” experience, even though it was in a venue. I can't help but think that I'll probably get a call one of these days from Kev to let me know that he's got Pat booked for a living room gig. We had a blast!

    Do you have a blog with the story that you mention, or is it hypothetical?

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