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This video is taken from a concert presented by the Acoustic Music San Diego Concert Series at the Normal Heights United Methodist Church where I opened for Dave Alvin. Kurt Mahoney was there to capture Dave’s show and was kind enough to tape and share my set as well, thanks Kurt!
There are two DIY DVD versions offered here. This one is a three song cherry pick from the opening set ($7). Included is the video-capture photo inset artwork. The other is the whole set (seven songs) warts and all, with a single, printed insert ($9).
I first saw Dave Alvin in the early 1980's when the Blasters opened up for Eric Clapton on his "Money and Cigarettes" tour at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I remember being very disappointed because Clapton was mostly playing rhythm while the other guitar player was taking all the leads. I was too young and ignorant to know that the “other” guitar player was the great Albert Lee. Clapton was coming to terms with the great challenge of becoming sober from alcohol at that time and wasn't too concerned with guitar hero heroics I reckon. Many years later I was on the road with Ramblin' Jack and we opened a show for the Everly Brothers where Albert Lee was the band leader and guitar player. Albert was very gentlemanly and approachable and I laid that little story on him and he got a chuckle hearing a midwestern teenager's take on that gig!
The next time I saw Dave Alvin was at McCabe's in Santa Monica, California where I went to go see Ramblin' Jack as he was on a West coast barnstorming tour with his then Hightone label mates Alvin, Tom Russell and Chris Smither. This night changed my life, it was very similar to when I was a teenager and discovered the deep cuts from The Who, Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, The Stones, etc. on trips to Chicago listening to all night FM radio after only knowing AM radio hits in rural Michigan. I had no idea that there was such magnificent song craft going on in the indy roots seen, it was a revelation to sit there and hear these guys perform their wonderful songs on acoustic guitar, it was a revelation that continues to this day. It was that day that gave me the courage to start singing my own songs and start following this path. I got to talk to Dave about that Clapton gig, to my surprise, he really remembered it; “Kalamazoo” he said, “I remember that gig…”. He had some stories man, earlier in the tour, might have been Detroit, he told me Clapton’s touring drummer couldn’t do it and The Blaster’s drummer, Bill Bateman stepped in and saved the day, it was one of those kind of tours. It was not at all lost on me, the honor of opening for Dave Alvin.