Al Stewart and The Empty Pockets at The Double E October 20, 2018   Leave a comment

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Al Stewart with The Empty Pockets pic by Tim Lewis

I had a great time seeing music at The Double E on Saturday. It was a short work day, then I ran a couple of errands and had a little time to settle at home and enjoy the sun streaming through the windows. October can be a fickle month but Saturday was warm and bright and the multicolored leaves were stunning.

I hopped into the car a bit early and took the lovely drive to Essex. I had some delicious food from The Mad Taco then ran into Molly King and Loren and we hung out and chatted for a while. John from The Nancy Druids sat in for a bit, then we headed our separate ways as showtime approached. I found my comfortable seat in the T-Rex Theater and settled in as The Empty Pockets began to play. The quartet from Chicago played smooth pop rock songs with hints of jazz and country. The rhythm section kept a comfortable pace, the keys floated nicely on the songs, the voices were gentle and pure and there was a nice strength in the guitar. They sang about hearing your voice in the distance and not minding being on the road. They sang a song for their niece Hannah then sang about cliches. Their stage banter was endearing and the crowd seemed to enjoy them. They played a couple more, one about traveling on, then wrapped up their set. It was a lovely show.

I chatted with Kevin Joseph Ryan for a bit in the set break then returned to my seat as the lights went down. The Pockets returned to the stage as the backing band and were joined by Al Stewart. They opened with Sirens Of Titan and we were off. Al began telling wonderful stories right away. He talked about explorers not being able to make it to the South Pole and played a song called Antarctica. Apparently, the song needed a flute so Al introduced Marc Macisso, and he gave the song a cool edge. Throughout the night he would go on to play sax, harmonica, and various other instruments. The band followed with Time Passages and the audience was in a happy place. The large room had easy sight lines and the sound was perfect as the band launched into the Year Of The Cat album. All of the songs have held up well and sounded great in 2018. Al told stories of how English folk singers can’t just write about a subject directly. He cited a story of two airplanes taking off together and flying into a cloud bank and getting lost from one another as a conceit for human relationships. He enjoyed bringing awareness of Rhodesia and the Basques while we bopped to On The Border. Many other fun stories, and some trivia, were discussed between songs as the album played out. They ended the set with a powerhouse version of the title song and said thank you goodnight. They returned quickly and rocked out a fun song that I’m pretty sure was Almost Lucy. The band left but Al stayed and played one more song about being In Brooklyn.

I hung out for a bit after the show and said hi to my friends then ran into Eric Koval. Eric told me to hang out for a bit then took me backstage to meet Al. We spoke of writing and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn for a few moments, then I wandered on.

Most everyone had left by then, so I hopped into the car for the trip home. I took a wrong turn off 289 and ended up on a familiar road heading into Colchester. I took a left on 7 and knew what was at the top of the hill. I pulled into the parking lot for the Vermont Respite House and quietly cried for a while as I stared at the building where my mother died. After a few moments, I wiped away the tears and drove into Winooski and headed for home.

 

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Tim and Al Stewart

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Posted October 24, 2018 by tmusicfan in Rock Shows

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