Shot Glasses on the Bar of Life

Let’s take a walk down to the Only
And drink until our kidneys fail
And you can tell me that you want me
And I can think about betrayal
You can leave me thinking, drinking all night
‘Cause that’s the sharpest nail

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The lovely Missus and I have a running gag.  Every time that The Lowest of the Low come back to Buffalo she says, “this might be the last time we ever get to see them.  We have to go!” Yesterday was the third time in the last eight months the band has been here and yes, the third time in the last eight months that we’ve seen them.  I’m not complaining though.  They’re always fun and this time, they had Alan Doyle opening the show.

Our night started out when, as we’re parking in the garage near the show, the two men working there notice the Hillary magnet on our car.  The old white guy started in on us about how we should watch the Hillary movie and that would change our minds.  The black guy was for Hillary.  I had a smile on my face the whole time because I thought it was funny.  The conversation went something like this:

Old white guy: Have you seen that movie?  You’ll never vote for her after watching that.

Me: Have you seen the news every night?  You’ll never vote for him after watching that.

Black guy: I’m not voting for that crazy guy.  That’s nuts.

Old white guy: She said she’s going to raise taxes on the working man.  Do you want another 4 years like the last eight?

Me:  Yes I do.  I love our president.

Old white guy:  (Incredulous, like I just told him aliens had landed) Well, god bless you then.

Me: I don’t believe in god but thank you.

So then we walked over to the show.  It was a very warm night but there was a pretty nice breeze.  A bunch of friends met us there and we even got our pictures taken by the Buffalo News, in today’s edition.

The Low have been coming to Buffalo for twenty-five years and have played just about every venue we ever had here: The Tralf, The Star Bar, Nietzsches, Thursday in the Square, that place that used to be out in Clarence, Town Ballroom, the Harbour. I can picture them all in my mind, like shot glasses on the bar of life, as Ron Hawkins would say.

You say it’s all lined up like shot glasses on the bar of life
You’ll sip your way through it
You never once got stiffed
So pick yourself up, pay your tab, and get on with your life
Get on with it!

The band was great, as always.  This isn’t meant to be a concert review, just a snapshot of a fun night out in Buffalo.  It occurred to me during the show that this is everything I love about Buffalo.  The boys were in the middle of rocking out to 4 O’clock Stop and in the middle of it, they turned it into a call and response.  Then Ron starts talking about Gord and how this is the last week of The Hip tour(three days and counting until we go to Hamilton!!!) and he does a touching call and response with the crowd for Gord.  And I’m standing there at Canalside, under the freaking Skyway, with the hockey arena on my left and the lit up grain elevators on my right, thinking to myself that Buffalo just doesn’t get any better than this.  It wasn’t so very long ago that this same area was a barren wasteland, with tumbleweeds rolling down the streets. We’ve taken so much of the bad(abandoned grain elevators) and the absurd(the skyway and an embarrassingly underutilized waterfront) and turned it all into something much better.  Thirty year old me would have never believed it.

The show ended with a great sing-a-long on Bleed a Little While Tonight.  The crowd enthusiastically filled in on the backing, Damn, damn the circumstance lyric.  They left the stage and promptly came right back for the encore because there was a strict curfew.  So Alan Doyle came out with the boys for another sing a long, this time on Rosy and Grey. Of special interest to me, he brought out his mandolin to play on this all-time great, Low song.  Okay, technically, it was a Bouzouki but still, close enough!  I can never get enough nights like  this one. Now if the concert organizers could just get rid of that damn stop sign…

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