Took the Blue Line to Springfield after work, where Gordon picked me up and drove us to Vienna VA. I haven’t lived in VA for a long time, apparently, since I couldn’t think of how one should go to get from Springfield to Vienna. I would have hopped on the Fairfax County Parkway for lack of a better idea.
Gordon wisely took 495 to 66 to Vienna. We would have been to the show in a little better time but for Maple Ave being completely shut down for a stretch of a few blocks. We had to detour and sit in traffic on the side streets for precious minutes. When we finally arrived at Jammin’ Java it was standing room only.
But as we stood there, me feeling sorry for us while Gordon was proactively putting together broken chairs sitting by the soundboard, I saw a man in the aisle gesturing to a woman sitting down. Looked to me like he’d found better seats and was trying to get her to come along with him to them. So when she stood up, I asked her, “Moving on to greener pastures?” She was indeed, so I grabbed the vacant seats. I looked around for Gordon, who seemed to have quite impressively built like a ziggurat of parts into some actual seating, and he abandoned his construction and came and sat down.
Gordon stayed and saved my seat for me while I went to rustle up dinner. The barmaid looked about fourteen. The guy at the register maybe seventeen. But they had turkey sandwiches and Sam Adams. I brought Gordon his beer while waiting for the sandwiches to be made. I finished my beer while waiting for the sandwiches to be made. I got another beer while waiting for the sandwiches to be made. They came out just as the lights were going down.
I had been to Jammin’ Java once before, to see Peter Case. For that show there were tables set up, so there were like thirty or so people there tops. And some young dude opened the show, and seemed like there were a lot of groupie chicks there just to see him, so it even emptied out a bit before Peter Case played. For Marshall Crenshaw there weren’t any tables, just rows of chairs. And Marshall himself came out right away. No opening act, although he did announce a few minutes later that management had asked him to split the show into two parts. So there would be an intermission anyway.
He opened with There She Goes Again, saying it was from way back, “back from day one,” he said. I don’t remember the rest of the setlists, but he also at some point played Something’s Gonna Happen, Fantastic Planet of Love, Mary Anne, Someday Someway, Cynical Girl, and You’re My Favorite Waste of Time. Whenever You’re on My Mind, too, maybe. Some covers as well: Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown, a Buddy Holly song something like Annie is Working the Midnight Shift, two Gene Pitney songs – Love My Life Away (Marshall said that used to close his shows with this, back when he played with his brother at CBGBs) and Twenty-Four Hours from Tulsa (apparently written by Burt Bacharach). Some newer stuff I didn’t know: Sunday Blues and a sweet song, about moving into a new place, called Twenty-Five Forty-One. Maybe Gordon will remember if I’ve missed anything.
The crowd was old, like us, although they started trickling out before the show was over, while we toughed it out. We started worming our way up closer as people bailed on their seats. We had started out in the 8th row, towards the side wall, but ended up like in the 3rd row on the aisle for the last song. We could only see his head from way in back, but up close we could see that he was playing a beautiful old hollow-body Gibson, itself patched into a little Fender amp, which amp had a microphone in front of it. He sang into a mic as well, of course, but there was another one down by his foot, to amplify his foot tapping for percussion I guess. It was his left foot, I noticed, because the shoe on his right foot for some reason didn’t have any laces.