Sunday, June 12, 2005

Frogg Café/Proto-Kaw Review

Usually when I set my expectations high, I find that the actual experience is not very satisfying.
Tonight was a huge exception.

The evening started with disappointment as I was unable to unload my extra ticket and realized that it had cost me $70 to see the show.
Ya know what? It was worth it. I'd rather spend $70 to see two great bands than $85-$100 to see one band at a place like the PNC Arts Center.

Anyway, there was a decent merchandise spread in the lobby for both bands.
Frogg Café had two T-shirts (powder blue Noodles and white 2005 Summer Tour) and all their CDs, including Noodles, and various color baseball caps. I might pick one of those up at Nearfest.
Proto-Kaw had three T-shirts (four, if you count that one was in either black or white), buttons, both CDs, as well as the "Best of" Kerry Livgren CD, and there might have been another piece of paraphernalia that I'm forgetting...something near the buttons.

All I picked up tonight was the best of Kerry Livgren CD (I have all the others available by both bands), and that was on the way out. On the way in all I bought was a $2 bottle of Poland Spring water (I believe it was a 10 oz bottle).
While buying the water, I heard a pretty cool acoustic solo cover of Jethro Tull's Wond'ring Aloud. I walked in to find that it was Karl Eisenhart from Pinnacle. It seemed to be an impromptu "solo spotlight". Pretty neat way to be seated.

On with the show...
FC opened with my favorite track from Fortunate Observer of Time, Abyss of Dissension (and they closed the show with a track from my favorite artist....more later). I was surprised they opened with this one, but it was a good kick in the ass start for a show.
Now, I'm terrible with remembering setlists, but suffice to say that they played a phenomenal set which included the aforementioned opener, You're Still Sleeping, Fortunate Observer of Time, Eternal Optimist, Kandy Korn, and All This Time from Creatures, and the closing track that I couldn't possibly forget, a smokin' cover of Zappa's 'Dog Breath'. When Suss asked if we wanted to hear a Zappa tune, I honestly expected Peaches, and was very pleasantly surprised to hear something different.
One of the highlights was seeing Steve Uh wield a violin for a duet with Bill Ayasse. That was fun to witness.
All in all a great show from a great bunch of guys.

Then it was Proto-Kaw's turn.

Now, I'm sure there were some people there mainly to see Frogg Café, and there were probably some there mainly to see Proto-Kaw.
I was one of the ones there to see both.
The one thing I worry about when seeing a great "warm-up" band is that they'll upstage the "headliner".
Let me first be very clear that I love Frogg Café, love their CDs, and loved the set they played.
That being said, as soon as Proto-Kaw came out, they immediately commanded the respect of a headliner as they broke into Alt. More Worlds Than Known. Maybe it was the louder sound mix contributing, but they just exuded professionalism and experience. I can't remember all the tracks they played, but it was a nice mix of older songs and newer material. Among the highlights (for me anyway) was my favorite track from Before Became After, Heavenly Man (which is a new recording of an old song), Gloriana, Totus Nemesis, Skont, Belexes (show closer), and an absolutely killer version of Death of Mother Nature Suite. I must say that their performance of these last two songs I mentioned left no doubt that it was the "famous" Kansas that did the "cover" versions of them.
The only change in song selection I would have liked if I had my way would be to lose the "Lawyer Song" and play Theophany (my other favorite from BBA).
Otherwise it was a nice choice of songs for a set.
Most importantly, I finally got to see Kerry Livgren perform.
I was not the least bit disappointed.

NP - Kerry Livgren - The Best of Kerry Livgren

One month, four weeks, 22 hours, 11 minutes
2356 cigarettes not smoked, saving $530.32
Life saved: 1 week, 1 day, 4 hours

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