“Never Comes The Day” – Adventures in Cleveland

There’s not a lot to eat in downtown Cleveland on a Sunday night. Good thing I brought a piece of string cheese, a banana, an apple, some almonds and a few Hershey kisses. Coupled with a little white wine, I had a nice little bed picnic after The Moody Blues concert. Img_2000

An annual pilgrimage, Larry and I go to whatever concert venue the guys are playing at in the Rust Belt, and we worship at the feet (quite literally because I always get good tickets) of Justin Hayward, John Lodge, and Graeme Edge. Yes, they were part of the British Invasion in the ‘60s so yes, they are “mature,” but they’re younger than Mick Jagger (who will be 64 on July 26) and the same age as Steven Tyler (59), so they’re not quite ready to be labeled “geriatric” just yet.

The concert was held at the Plain Dealer Pavilion in the area of Cleveland known as The Flats. It’s an area that almost made it as an urban renewal project, but parts of it fell into the hands of gangs and many of the businesses left for the Warehouse District near downtown. The pavilion and a neighboring nightclub building on the river are still in good shape and doing well, although it’s a bitch of an area to drive out of after a concert with only two roads leading in and out. I guess the urban revitalization folks didn’t envelope the entire “infrastructure” concept during their planning.

The nightclub building is a two-story brick structure, probably an old warehouse, and houses three or four restaurants and a comedy club. It reminds me of a smaller version of St. Anthony Main in Minneapolis. A large open deck is attached to the boardwalk that runs along the river, and on that deck that night was a bar and a band. The bar prices were way too expensive for the kinds of liquor they poured, but the band had a groove you just don’t walk away from. Maybe it was the bass line or the lead voice. I don’t know. But whatever drew me to it I’m grateful because I discovered an awesome young (and I mean young) band called Eclyptic. Img_1997

Their combined ages won’t qualify anyone for Medicare, but these four boys, who will be high school seniors in September, are good. I mean, really good. And they’ve got proud mothers to prove it.

Dressed in an array of cargo shorts, flip flops, and the lead singer in a Johnny Cash t-shirt, the foursome did a cover of Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer” that I know David Byrne would love, and a cover of the Everly Brothers’ “Bye Bye Love” that would make someone like Eddie Vedder take notice. In the infamous words of Paula Abdul, they “made it their own.” (clap clap clap)

I found their CD and t-shirt table, manned by the bassist’s mom and the drummer’s mom. They were 50-something women who’d invested the kind of time in their kids’ lives that, after talking to them for awhile, I found wasn’t obsessive – distanced yet involved, the perfect combination for turning out respectful boys who their moms hope will go to college before hitting the big time.

I bought Eclypic’s latest CD because the original music they threaded in between the covers was interesting and reminded me of Jonny Lang. I used to go see “Kid” Jonny Lang in venues all over Minnesota and I was happy reminiscing as I sat there nursing my $8 glass of wine. The music was worth the money, the wine was not.

Hearing The Moody Blues again was like visiting with old friends you only see at Christmas. They added “Never Comes The Day” to their repertoire and their rendition of “Nights In White Satin” and “I’m Just a Singer In A Rock ‘n Roll Band” had everyone (finally) on their feet. Forgive me, but I didn’t give a damn that the people behind me were pissed off that I stood up and danced for most of the concert. They could have, and should have, stood up, too. It was like last week’s Nickelback concert. Are people so used to sitting around in their living rooms with the TV remote in their hands that they forget what it’s like to see a live show? Get up off your asses, people! Be a part of the show! Drink some beer, move your arms, scream a little. I don’t get what’s so hard about that.

The next morning I woke up with bloodshot eyes and I was hungry. The bed picnic was nice, but didn’t provide the sustenance necessary to stave off a hangover. Not that I had too much to drink….

My voice was shot, my knees hurt a little from the bouncing and twisting, but I wouldn’t trade the pain for anything. The blue skies, the seagulls, the crowd, the music and even the expensive cheap wine. It was all worth it. Listening to a young band, talking to their mothers, meeting other Moody Blues fans – it was comfortable and homey. The Rust Belt is homey. This pilgrimage is homey.

I hope you have music in your hearts, the kind that makes you happy, that takes you to other places – physically and in your mind. There’s nothing else like it.

Rock on, my friends.

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