Friday, 03 November 2006

It turns out the Days Inn was more of a shit-hole than expected, but at midnight we weren’t going to quibble. My room turned out better than Todd’s did. His had 40+ cigarette burns on the bathroom counter, another 40+ on the nightstand, at least one on the toilet seat, and one on the lampshade. The Continental Breakfast was a couple sad bagels, bad coffee and nothing else. If you ever have the opportunity to stay at the Days Inn in Downtown Cleveland…don’t.

Obviously we decided against a second night there and went looking for food and a different place to stay. We ended up at The Erie Lodge which, although less than what I want in a hotel room, it was only $46 including taxes. For that price you get a bed, a bathroom, and a door that locks. No amenities, just a cheap room. Perfect for a one-night stay where you won’t spend much time in the room.

Once we settled on the new hotel, we headed for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There are six floors, the first two are set up like museum exhibit space with multiple galleries set out in different themes.

The first two floors had tons of cool stuff. Tons of costumes, guitars, studio equipment, and other memorabilia. Throughout there were tons of notebooks that the various artists had used to write out lyrics. Todd and I both noticed that throughout them most were written in ink and there were very few cross-outs. Kind of like any other creative endeavor, songwriters would get into the zone and just write. They didn’t go back and correct anything, they just wrote to get the words down.

In my mind there were too many costumes focusing on current musicians and could have been more from a wider range of artists. I guess it’s part of curating a museum, you have to try to appeal to a broad range of people and kids will be drawn in by a grouping of several Britney Spears (2), Christina Aguilera (2), Backstreet Boys (3), N’Sync (5), and J-Lo (1) costumes. Although they did have one spot with 5 David Bowie costumes from over the years.

Third floor is the cafe and the entrance to a three-screen multimedia display that touches on all of the inductees over the years. It’s about 20 minutes long and worth sitting through. It’s packed up with some great songs, many short interview segments with the honorees, and video footage of them performing throughout their careers.

The theater are empties onto a ramp that takes you to the fourth floor gallery space. Up there was a very cool Les Paul exhibit that covers his lifetime so far (the guy is 91 and still plays!) and has several of his early guitars and design experiments.

The sixth floor special gallery was closed to install a new exhibit, but fifth was open and had a thing about The Clash covering their entire career. One thing I noticed was that most of the items on display were Mick Joneses. Maybe a dozen stage outfits, several guitars, notebooks used for developing lyrics, and a video running an interview with the band.

There were several points where the whole thing was almost overwhelming. The two lower galleries are just packed with stuff. Huge cases with 50-60 items each all numbered with short descriptions below. It only takes a few hours to go through everything, but it would almost be better to split your visit across a couple days and only do half each day, taking a break mid-way through each time.

From there we went pretty much directly to the venue for the Roger Clyne show. This one was at the Beachland Ballroom and there was pretty much nothing around it. Fortunately there was a Chinese place called Jackie Chen’s, so we could grab some dinner and kill some time before the doors opened.

I’m still working on a show review, and will probably just do one for the 4 shows to contrast and compare. The short version for right now is that it was great. We stood up front, the band recognized Todd during the show and when I talked to Nick afterward he recognized me right off. We weren’t the only familiar faces to them. There are a couple dozen people that regularly travel to his shows and see them several nights in a row.

The opening act was called As Fast As and they were pretty cool. Rock with a 70’s vibe to it. Very good stuff. They’ll be opening the next few nights, so more on them later.

The Beachland is a decent concert venue. Looks like it could hold between 500 and 700 people. The stage was up so the people in the back could see and had plenty of space for the guys to move around.

The set list for the night was: Nada, Wanted, Blue Collar Suicide, I Don’t Need Another Thrill, Bury My Heart at the Trailer Park, Mexico, Beautiful Disaster, Little Hung Over You, Sonoran Hope and Madness, Love Come Lighten My Load, Switchblade, Leaky Little Boat Boat, Banditos, Feeling, Americano, Tell Yer Momma, Green and Dumb, Andale (a new song!), and Girly flowing into Yahoos and Triangles (the King of the Hill Theme); with Counterclockwise and Mekong* for the encore.

After the show, we hung around for a while and talked to P.H. and Nick for a bit. Then we found Steve in the bar and he invited several of us to join him at the tavern next door where they were allowing free crossover from the ballroom. Todd and I were there, several other Roger fans, and I think the entire opening act. A rockabilly group called The Luster Kings was playing and Steve got up and did Folsom Prison Blues with them.

The Luster Kings were great too. A perfect cap to the evening. I picked up a couple of their CDs and talked with the guys in the band for a few minutes. Very cool stuff indeed. Three bands in one night isn’t too shabby.

Tomorrow we make our way to Detroit.

(* These were originally recorded as Refreshments tracks.)

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