Feb. 25-27: Tempe/Anaheim/San Diego
Feb 25, 2005 @ Marquee Theatre, Tempe, AZ
“The venue went dark and the band took the stage, and no lights came on. Paul’s voice shot out “We could use a couple of lights at least.” Suddenly, lights came on and the band were all in place. Paul approached the microphone and said “Do you know how long it’s been since we’ve been here?” and before we could answer he gave the answer all of us were thinking, “Too fucking long.” They then launched into Merry Go Round with an insane energy level and differing amounts of success.
For those wondering about going to a show with a non-Paul fan, I brought my wife who barely knows anything about him and wanted to go strictly because of how excited I was that he was coming. After the first few tunes (Merry Go Round, Someone Take the Wheel) she whispered to me that he was terrible and kind of laughed about it. Of course, by the end of the show she was raving about how great he was. So I guess they have the kind of reaction you’d expect…
I felt like the band was disjointed for the first few songs and didn’t really hit their stride until Kiss Me on the Bus (“Anybody interested in hearing some old Replacements tunes?”) which sounded like heaven. I was also amazed at how well his new stuff translates live. Folk Star and Psychopharmacology were both blistering pieces that were pulled off beautifully.
By far the high point of the evening was Paul’s acoustic set in the middle of the show featuring Here Comes a Regular and then Skyway. The Marquee is a small venue, and everybody in there was singing Regular with him and it sounded great and he looked well pleased with the reaction.
Paul moments throughout the show: Paul yanking one of the strings out of his guitar during the first couple of songs, he seemed to be having issues with it and just eliminated the problem. The strap coming off of Paul’s guitar and Paul hurling himself onto the ground to allow himself to keep playing, then realizing he didn’t have a microphone with him so he kicked the mic stand down to the ground with him so he could keep singing. When the roadie came out to try and fix it in the middle of the song, Paul seemed to writhe around making it as hard on him as possible. Paul tightening a mic stand a little too high, then commenting that he was too weak to get it any lower and that he’d “just crouch” while singing, then pointing the mic down. A roadie crawled up the front of the stage to adjust it and Paul started chatting with him, mid song, while he tried to fix it “So how are you? Come to fix that problem I was talking about?”. When the roadie thought it was fixed he left, Paul decided he still didn’t like the height and threw it at the ground bending the stand and then went and sang at one of the other mics. At one point, Paul got his foot tangled in the mic cord briefly and ended up spinning the mic around so it was facing the wrong way. He continued to sing into the back of the mic, forcing a roadie to come rushing out to spin the mic back around. As soon as it was fixed, Paul spun around the other way and stopped singing.
Absolute highlights: Kiss Me on the Bus, Here Comes a Regular (acoustic), Skyway (acoustic), Alex Chilton (encore), Knockin’ on Mine, I’ll Be You, Can’t Hardly Wait, the Mott the Hoople cover (One of the Boys?), Folk Star, Psychopharmacology, Left of the Dial (final song, encore).
Paul seemed to have a genuinely good time, and it seemed heartfelt when he told us he’d been nervous about the show since he hadn’t played Arizona in so long but that we’d made them feel very welcome. It was a shame there weren’t more people at the show, but those that came obviously loved Paul and were all very knowledgeable fans.”
— Brian Murphy
Photos by Dal Hodges
Feb 26, 2005 @ House of Blues, Anaheim
“Everyone I talked to there agreed on the same conclusion that has been posted elsewhere here: That this was the best of the three LA area concerts.
Merry Go Round | Someone Take The Wheel | Live Forever | Makin’ Me Go | Let the Bad Times Roll | As Far as I Know | Battleship Chains (unfortunately, he got through only a verse and a half before stopping…but it was fun while it lasted) | Kiss Me on the Bus | Final Hurrah | AAA | Rebel, Rebel | Swingin’ Party | Knockin’ On Mine | Folk Star | Mr. Rabbit | Psychopharmacology | Born For Me | High Time | Little Mascara | Valentine | Crackle and Drag | If Only You Were Lonely | Lookin’ Up in Heaven | What a Day for Night | Love Untold | I Think I Love You | I Will Dare | I.O.U.
MPLS | Alex Chilton
Not as much between- and in-song banter as I’ve read about from the other shows nor as much as the perceived on-stage friction (though Paul once turned to his guitarist and playfully said “Do something, fucker!” during “Love Untold”). For “Crackle and Drag” and “If Only…”, band departed the stage and left just Paul and an acoustic guitar that was very reminiscent of when I saw him in North Carolina in 2002. Some surprises: “No Left of the Dial”, no “Can’t Hardly Wait”. But the way he was flubbing lyrics to ‘Mats songs that night — he started “Little Mascara” with the second verse and remembered about three lines from both “Kiss Me on The Bus” and “Valentine” — that probably was a good thing. Overall, a fun show.”
— Nate Ryan
Feb 27, 2005 @ Belly Up Tavern, Solana Beach, CA
I don’t have any reader-submitted reviews for this show but from what I remember reading about the show, it was pretty raucous. Paul appeared on FM 94.9 in San Diego a couple of hours before the show, he brought some old blues stuff to play and also played what he called his “Desert Island Song” which was: “Like A Rolling Stone”. I do have some good pictures from this show, but unfortunately have lost the photo credit for them.