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Cracker Van Beethoven
I’m still staggering in disbelief that Camper Van Beethoven reuinited to play a 3 1/2 hour set just for me. If you have any kind of chance to see this band on tour, do so. I’ll explain why.

Willie and I (and Willie’s friend Lorenzo) got to the Vic at 6, just as doors opened. No merchandise table, no crowds. We moved easily to the front of the stage and waited for the band to set up. And then we waited some more. The Vic techies were almost record-breakingly incompent, and when Dave Lowery et al took the stage as Cracker, they struggled through through four songs before begging them to fix the sound again. Lowery’s vocals were too low – the show improved tenfold when he fixed them. He was set to lead the two bands for another 1/8 of a day.

I felt a little bad for not recognizing the genius of Cracker’s Johnny Hickman before tonight. When he got the opening to play a solo, he took it and churned out 60 seconds of country-fried up-the-neck noodling. He even took the mic on two songs – one I didn’t recognize and a cover of The Kinks’ “Victoria.

Around the 50th minute, Kenny Margolis started going nuts with the accordian. He continued doing so.

But for me, the Cracker set dragged on a little too long. The crowd was on my side – by the 15th song, we started clamoring for Camper to come on. And lo and behold, Jonathan Segel entered and started kicking ass on “All Her Favorite Fruit.”

Greg Lisher contributed some spot-on lead guitar – better than I expected. He was pretty clearly enjoying himself, and sang like a madman on “Take the Skinheads Bowling.”

After Camper concluded with “Pictures of Matchstick Men,” the members of both bands came on to jam over “Intersteller Overdrive.” Total perfection. I’m going to sleep now before something can taint the memory.

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