Saturday, October 25, 2003
Vance Gilbert and Ellis Paul at Cellar Stage in Baltimore October 11, 2003
Today, October 11th is Vance Gilbert's birthday, and he is spending it with his best friend Ellis Paul and all of us giving us the present of his music!
The woman in front of me, in the line at the door, is carrying 2 pretty gift bags. She tells me her name is Yetta. Since this is Vance's birthday and she heard Ellis Paul recently got married, she brought a present for each. She saw them both earlier this fall in Princeton New Jersey. She lives in the DC area, and has already seen them in Philadelphia. She became a fan because Nils Lofgren started touring again with the E Street Band (you know, Bruce Springsteen's tour). She had been seeing Nils Lofgren on a regular basis locally and when he started touring she wanted to find out someone else to see. I believe she said she found out about Ellis Paul on Nils web site (though I don't see a reference there now.) Anyway, she saw Ellis Paul and became a huge fan of his, and through him of Vance. She sits in the first row with the gift bags under her chair.
So there are some "real" fans here tonight. The woman in the couple sitting behind Yetta speaks up too. She and her partner went to see Ellis Paul with Don Conoscenti at Club Passim.
When Vance and Ellis take the stage, jokes and music are intermingled.
Everyone knows that Vance and Ellis are two straight guys (married to women, not that there is anything wrong with another preference), and they are best friends. They have written songs about each other. Vance jokes - it's my birthday and tonight for my birthday I am going to be gay - I can be whatever I want to be on my birthday. But Ellis retorts - well that has no effect on me. A few minutes later he comments - and I have 3 months of this left (on this tour)… and - we refer to ourselves as the Indigo Boys.
Vance calls Cellar Stage the "bowels of the church coffeehouse".
Ellis - Get Ready for Life
Tony Sica, DJ of the show Detour on WTMD and spouse of the event coordinator walks by with 2 Yankee hats on (a 2000 world series hat, with a regular Yankee's hat on top of it.) Ellis comments, Tony we really don't like the Yankees here. (Well let's forgive Tony a little, especially if the Yankees lose. He can't help himself, he grew up in New York - actually did Joyce say Brooklyn?)
Vance - Why Are We So Cruel
Ellis - Sweet Mistakes - about living your life, and gratitude…
Vance - Unfamiliar Moon
Ellis - The Speed of Trees
Presented with a birthday cake before the break, Vance waves the candles out by fanning them with his guitar.
After the break, before re-introducing the performers, Joyce Sica tells us that there is guy in the audience from California. He waves and she impulsively asks him, so whom did you vote for (for Governor). His reply, the Green Party candidate.
Ellis - The World Ain't Slowin Down
Vance - 10,000 Skies - all of them blue
Ellis - She Was
Vance - Unforgettable You
At the end Ellis jokes - I'd like to thank Vance Gilbert and all of his multiple personalities (for appearing with me tonight)
Ellis - Wilbur the Rat - as Ellis sings this Vance dances like a ballerina on the stage, well not exactly like a ballerina…
The transition is backwards - they go from the Wilbur the Rat, to the sublime. Stepping away from the mikes, they walk down the steps to the front of the audience to sing the moving "Citizen of the World" - "I am an American born of …. " - and then bringing before us the faces and characteristics of so many nationalities and finally…. Citizen of the world.
A huge poster sized birthday card for Vance has been circulating through the overflow crowd tonight. When presented to Vance he calls it "adorable" and pretends to read from it. Surely no one wrote "ditch the white guy". Ellis takes it saying "I want to sign this now."
Conversation with a Ghost - "how have you been, have you been to the races…"
I saw Ellis Paul several years ago (at the Panzer House Concerts actually). His CD's are great, however I am reminded tonight how very very rich his live performance are. And he and Vance Gilbert together are priceless. I envy these folks I talked to who have seen several of their joint shows. Please guys, come together to this area more often.