We played the good old Penny Road Pub in Barrington last Friday night and had a blast. We don’t do too many bar gigs these days, but every once in awhile it’s good to crank up the Marshall, play loud and have a few beers. My ears are still ringing (wear protection kids!).
Shows like this one present unique problems for us, especially since we were without our trusty sound man, Ron Willhoff (get well soon Ron!). Luckily for us Luke, the house sound guy, was able to get our IEMs working without too much trouble. We dragged out some songs we haven’t played in a long time and plowed through them without rehearsal, always a dicey proposition. But it’s good to get out of the comfort zone and off of autopilot, which can happen when you’ve been playing the same material for a decade.
How Long, Sunset Grill, Old 55, Walk Away, James Dean and Life’s Been Good all got the cobwebs blown off. I especially loved playing Tom Petty’s Listen To Her Heart for our encore. That song is killer and the boys play it great. I don’t think I fully realized how many great songs Petty wrote until his recent death. What a tragic loss that is.
A hundred years ago or so, when Poplar Creek was still the best place in the Midwest to see a summertime concert, I had a big group of friends who would hire a school bus and driver to take us to the annual Jimmy Buffett show. (I know, I know, everyone does that now. We were first. Plus, the pre-corporate Jimmy was cool back then). We would have a party all afternoon, then put a keg on the bus for the short ride from Palatine to the concert, passing Penny Road on the way. Sadly, one particularly thirsty year we drained the keg well before arriving at the parking lot for tailgating. Somebody in our group (don’t look at me!) had the brilliant idea of stopping at the bar and swapping out the empty keg for a full one. We pulled up, paid the bartender, swapped kegs and were on our way in ten minutes. I think of that and smile every time we play there.
You gotta love the Penny Road Pub.