Philadelphia “Summer’s Gone” Tour Report

I’m sitting in my mother’s kitchen eating a bowl of tuna fish and a fistful of tortilla chips. So rocknroll. Jut in from The Point show afterparty, which was at the Wayne Pub (where half the patrons were alumni of my high school). Weird.

Anyway, tonight’s show was, as Bono would say, some sort of a homecoming. My junior high school music teacher, Mrs. Culp, was there. She tought me how to harmonize in seventh grade. My high school choir director, Mr. Vanderslice, was there. He put up with all sorts of punkish behavior. My 10th grade English teacher, Mrs. Barry, was there. She encouraged me to write poetry. Plus all sort of friends from high school and college and neighbors and family. It was really remarkable. Really gratifying.

The Point is a listening room, not a bar or rock venue per se. There are pictures of previous performers — Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Jackson Browne — on the walls, which was humbling and terrfiyng and exciting concurrently.

I performed for about an hour and a half, which is, of course, about three times what I normally do in NYC. And I am, of course, solo acoustic on this tour. So the amount of things that could have gone wrong was staggering. But I think I held it together quite nicely. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever had such a good time on stage. I was able to stretch out, tell stories, talk about growing up in the area, inspiration behind songs, stuff like that. Which was really fun and unusual. And I pulled some old stuff outa’ the hat, like “Used” and “Way” from 1996’s “Out of Your Head.” And “Waiting At Graceland (First In Line),” which has never been recorded. Plus the new stuff that I love: “Shiver,” “Hollywood Arms” (which my brother thinks should be my next single) and “California” (which I think should be).

Probably my favorite moment was playing “Anywhere Mine,” a random middle-of-the-album song from “Out of Your Head.” It breathes. It has space. It’s pretty. That and telling the story about watching the sun set in Santa Monica on Sunday night, boarding the red eye, then watching it rise in NYC Monday morning and thinking (per Aimee Mann), “It’s a wonderful life, if your don’t weaken” before launching into “California” (“A song about love and earthquakes”). So, my homecoming was rewarding, meaningful, fun, kinda’ rockin’, kinda’ deep and some sorta’ kharmic payback to all the people who make it all possible: the friends, the family, the teachers.

I realized today (Doogie Howser moment of the show) that these gigs — no gig — aren’t just about the guy on stage. They’re about everyone involved, everyone invested. We all want to believe that it’s possible, that “Maybe, Maggie it’ll come true / For you and me and all that we do.”

The time is right, for all that we know. Next, though, five hours of sleep, wake, run, eat, and drive to Raleigh (as hurricane Isadore bears down on the South).

Meetcha’ on the other side.