Trump Plaza Hotel
Atlanta City, NJ
Saturday, May 31, 2003
First. let me say that I was delighted merely to have arrived in Atlantic City in one piece, as we drove through NJ in bouts of torrential rain. Some folks on the road were driving as if they had neither driven, nor seen rain, in their lives previously. This was not helping me to get into my normal pre-show state of bliss, as my husband was almost unable to join me, as he had been in an accident earlier in the week, having been stuck at a stop sign by one of NJ's finest.
Nevertheless, when he saw our seats, he was thrilled. Due to the weather, perhaps, the two pairs of seats in front of us, were empty for most of the show, leaving us with a totally unobstructed view. Though, I have often wondered if this affects a performer's energy level, to have those vacancies right up front. So, my apologies to Dan, if instead of two more happy couples enjoying the music in front of us, he saw my husband looking pained- it most definitely was not the performance; just the Aleve wearing off, and the back and neck pain kicking back in again.
The set list seems to match that of the Keswick show, for the most part. Dan sounded great- I think his voice sounded stronger and less strained than it did at some points during last year. He looked relaxed, and fended off the usual barrage of song requests with good humor, which started quite early in the evening. When someone requested "Looking for a Lady", he replied "I'm Not!". I am happy to see that the third time truly seems to be the charm, as I think it was reflected by his performance.
There seem to have been no lengthy deficiencies (to me, at least), in the sound system workings.
I do have to admit that if Dan is accompanied by a band, my preference would be to have a band set first, the solo, quiet songs in the middle, and a few more with the band at the end. Of course, I also have no problem listening to a solo show!
I did particularly enjoy hearing "Reach Haven Postcard" live, and was rather surprised that he did not play any more from "Full Circle" than that and the title cut. What would we have liked to have heard in addition to what was played? I am always up for a bluegrass selection, and my husband really would have enjoyed hearing "The Wild Places".
Oh, yes- about that encore- we got Muddy Watered again!
Blow Wind, Blow. (Not to cast any aspersions on Muddy Waters, as I DO like the blues, but we want to hear original Dan, even for the encore.) OK, so here is my theory on the encore situation. I now firmly believe that someone, or something has banned the playing of "TAPITWFAG" north of the Mason-Dixon line, and east of the Appalachians. Alternatively, maybe Dan has heard us sing here in the northeast before, and doesn't ever want to again? I must admit, "Gambler" is NOT in my key, but I can still hum along without disturbing my neighbors too much, or making dogs bark. I shall have to wait until next week, to see if my theory can be disproven at Westbury.
Now, about that new disc...
I did not want to voice any opinion until I had had the opportunity to listen to it uninterrupted by man, beast, telephone, etc. Though I am a tiny bit disappointed that all of the songs are not by Dan, I cannot fault him for the ones by others he chose to include. I would have to say that after my first (distracted) listening of the disc, that "When You're Not Near Me", the title cut, and "This Heart" are catchy to the point that they stuck in my memory immediately. Does that mean that they will be my preferred tunes from "Full Circle"? Probably not. I can see that distinction going more likely to "Reach Haven Postcard", " Drawing Pictures", or "Icarus Ascending".
Now, this morning- that listening was much better. As I cruised off to work in the darkness of the wee hours, I cranked up the CD player in the van, and enjoyed my traffic free commute.
Sometimes we are waiting for the new music for so long, and we so love and think so highly of so much of what we already have by Dan, that it is difficult to keep our expectations of the new music realistic. I am always happy to add a new CD to the great body of work that he has already created, and I am always sure that I will like some of it immediately, most of it later, though a rare few songs, perhaps never. To those of you who have been waffling on purchasing "Circle"- go ahead. You know you are going to buy it sooner or later anyway, unless you have a birthday coming up, and your loved ones will get it for you. (I had to buy my own). I am sure that after hearing these songs as often as I hear some of the previous works, that they, too, to quote one of my former teachers, will "Etch themselves on the fleshy tablets of my mind", as well as my heart.
My husband & I are just back in Maine after seeing Dan in Atlantic City—another great performance! It was well worth the 10-hour drive, but I do wish he would play more New England shows. I’m always amazed at how fast the two hours fly by and how it never even scratches the surface of his great repertoire. I could easily have listened to two more hours. There were no real surprises in the set list if you have seen Dan in recent years--only two songs from the new album!
Although a casino seems an odd venue for Dan, the Trump Plaza had the advantage of being small and intimate—850 seats. There wasn’t a bad seat in the house! The show was sold out, but there were some empty seats (ticket holders distracted by the slot machines?). I can’t imagine letting ANYTHING getting in the way of seeing Dan live. The audience was mellow, but very appreciative. The show opened with Dan playing solo and then the band joined him after six songs.
The only disappointment was that the venue required the show to end by midnight AND start time was supposed to be 10 PM and it started a bit late. Dan was friendly, but didn’t tell any stories at all, probably due to the time crunch. I have seen him enough times to know his usual commentary and he skipped it all! He came out for only one encore and said “they told me I couldn’t do an encore, but we’re doing it anyway”—but, it was the short “Blow Wind Blow” and was not followed by the usual extended “There’s a Place in the World for a Gambler” (which would have been very appropriate given the setting!).
Anyhow, here’s the set list (solo part was different from 1st show at Wolf Trap):
(Solo, on guitar):
- Hard To Say
- Make Love Stay
- Lazy Susan (instrumental from Twin Sons)
- Leader of the Band
(Solo, on piano):
- Same Old Lang Syne
(With the band—after they came on stage Dan introduced the band and said: “We now go by “Danny and the Seniors”. Dan back on acoustic guitar at this point.)
- Part of the Plan (tight!)
- Heart Hotels (smooth & bluesy)
- Crow (extended ending—“no I didn’t do it, no I didn’t do it, no, no, no….”)
- Full Circle (written by Gene Clark of the Byrds)
- Reach Haven Postcard (a new classic? Another Maine tribute!)
- Run for the Roses (Dan on piano)
- The Reach (ditto)
(Last 3 songs were an extended rock & roll jam with Dan on electric lead guitar—great fun!):
- Missing You
- As the Raven Flies
- Power of Gold (food for thought especially for the Atlantic City gambling crowd?)
- Blow Wind Blow
I have two articles from Atlantic City entertainment writers that ran the week of his appearance—there are some interesting quotes from Dan. If anyone is interested I’ll post the text.
Enjoy the show!! Don’t miss this year’s tour—who knows when Dan will decide he’s had enough of touring? As a songwriter, guitarist and especially as a singer he really is one of a kind.