Joe Mo in Kokomo
May 31, 2002
Story & photos by Rick Kellogg - Additional photos by Brian Kellogg & Barb Atkinson
|Joe Molland - guitars, vocals|
Mark Healey - bass, vocals
John Richardson - drums
Billy Davis - guitars, vocals
Steve Wozny - keyboards, vocals
My son, Brian and I made the two and one half hour trip from Ohio to Kokomo, Indiana Friday afternoon, (May 31). We had planned to meet up with Sir Barb Atkinson, have dinner and then see the show. The club where the show was scheduled is called the 'Ultimate Place 2B' night club/sports bar. It looked to be a fairly new place with a curious-looking house and chain-link fence on the perimeter of the roof! Come to find out, the roof area contained several outdoor sports courts; basketball, volleyball and tennis...
Brian and I arrived in plenty of time because the show wasn't to start until 11:30 PM. We pulled into the parking lot and saw Barb waiting for us by his car. We decided to grab a bite to eat and we cruised down Route 31 for a look-see. We chose a great steak house called 'Ruby Tuesday.' Unfortunately, our waiter was shaping up to have a really bad night... Drink orders taken; he leaves three plates for the salad bar and one silverware setting. He was back in a few minutes with our three drinks and two straws - hummm.... dropped one somewhere... Silverware - oh, right... Ten minutes later, he comes back to tell us that our food was delivered to the wrong table, but they seemed to be enjoying it nonetheless! Okay, the drinks and salad bar will be taken off our bill... Ummmmm.... Wait! We still do not have the missing silverware and the lost straw. A few minutes later, dinner arrives, finally! Silverware and that wayward straw too! I hope the rest of his evening went smoother...
We drove back to the club and by this time, Joe, Mark, John and Steve are there setting up and doing a sound check. Billy will be arriving shortly. During the sound check, Joe is doodling around with different guitar riffs and launches into his obscure song "Merry Christmas, Follow Your Star." Mark Healey, sitting by the drum set, looks up quizzically and smiles. Barb comments; "I asked Joe about playing that song the following morning. He said, "If you never play them, they die." I liked that."
Based on the sound check, it's going to be quite loud tonight. We say 'hello' to everyone and Joe and Mark stop by for a few moments to chat. Mark asks if we know of a nearby drugstore - we all shrug - out-of-towners, all! Mark asks a waitress, and after listening to a bit of a convoluted explanation, Barb and Mark head off to find it because Mark needs his smoke-quitting nicotine patch - NOW!!!
We next head over to get Barb checked in to a motel, as he was staying the night - and coincidentally, it turns out to be the same motel where the band was to stay - the motel clerk assumed that Barb was traveling with the band because he had earlier asked if Badfinger had arrived yet. She gave him a 10% discount for the room and put him adjacent to Billy Davis. Cool!
We head over to the club at 10:00 to get the best seats, but that doesn't appear to be a problem tonight. Hello Kokomo! Where is everyone? The bar opens at 9:00 PM and there are at 10:00 PM, still very few people in the club - on a Friday night! Didn't they advertise this? Apparently not too well... The waitress tells us that last week's concert featuring Head East also did not draw a large crowd. Hummm....
Again Barb comments; "I got a bit more background on the club. It was originally supposed to be a strip club. The owner has two other strip clubs in town. Unfortunately, the city wouldn't give him a license to make the new place a strip club, so he did a little renovating and opened up a couple of months ago as a sports/dance/rock club. The previous bookings before Joe were Jimmy Vaughn and then Head East. The Vaughn show had the bigger audience with a whopping 20 people. I'm not entirely sure, but Joe may have broke that attendance record last night with 21 or 22!!! I counted 24 at one point, but I accidentally counted the sound and light guy. The owner was telling Joe when he first got there that he thinks the community is ostracizing his club because he runs a couple of strip bars..."
"I chatted a bit with two Boogie club members, Mark from Indiana and Johnny from Kentucky. Both were there because of a notice that I posted through my Badfinger Boogie email service. Hell, for all I know, that might have been true for just about everyone in there... Who knows! I talked to Joe about updating the web site with the latest concert info... I flirted a little with Jen the bartender, but only a little. I also took a few photos. I'll try to have them up in the next week or so. I had a great time, to say the least." - Barb
As 11:00 PM rolled around, Joe and the rest of the band enter the club. Joey yells some encouragement to the fans before disappearing to the dressing room. Billy walks by our table and Barb calls his name. He turns around and says, "Barb!" We spend the next few minutes talking with Billy and catching up on some future dates and what has been going on lately. At about 11:30, Billy says, "Time to go to work" and heads for the stage. Mark, John and Steve are already there and Billy joins them. Five minutes passes, ten minutes, Billy hops off stage and back over to our table and shrugs. "Joe is watching the Lakers' basketball game in the dressing room..." Another five minutes goes by, Joe runs out with a huge grin on his face, looks our way as Barb asks, "Who won." "The Lakers'! Yeah!!!" shouts Joe as pumps his fist and he leans towards us and adds "Go Lakers!" Joe is fired up for the evening!
Joe takes the stage, dons his cherry sunburst Les Paul and strums a bit. He turns to the audience, all thirty-four of us, (Brian's count) and asks, "Why didn't you bring your friends? (laughs)" "Okay, here we go..."
The set list for the Kokomo show was as follows: (sung by:)
This was only the second time the band has played together this year, so some parts were a bit free-flowing. That made for some great impromptu guitar work from Joe during several songs, which was great to hear him stretch out. This set list is very close to what Joe played for last year's shows and we were a bit surprised when he skipped over "Meanwhile Back At The Ranch/Should I Smoke." We could't have that! So during "Midnight Sun," Barb grabs a piece of paper from me and scribbles down "Meanwhile Back/Should I Smoke - Please!" During the break between songs, Barb walks to the stage and hands Joe the note. With the stage lighting being a bit dark and Joe without his glasses on, Joe tilts the note to the light and states, "We have a request from.... Paul!" ""Should I Smoke" by Peter Ham." Back at our table, I look at Barb and we both say, "Paul?!?" Barb comments; "I wrote "please" at the bottom of the page and when I handed him the note I said it was a request from the audience. I guess without his glasses he assumed it was the requester's name..."
From the beginning of the concert, a local, older gentleman and his m-u-c-h shorter girlfriend would come out for most songs and dance with each other, barefoot for the entire song. It was obvious that he was quite sloshed and kept giving Joey the 'thumbs up' while dancing to the music. At one point about three quarters through the set, he hands Joe his new baseball style cap. Joe grabs the hat and pops it on his head for the rest of the show! It looked a bit funny but it worked quite well as it kept the spotlight out of his eyes.
It was also about this time that Joe spent a few minutes talking with the fans from the stage; thanking everyone for coming to the show. He asked how everyone was doing and if everyone was having a good time. We all yelled back that we were. Then Joey said, "Well then, drink up. This round is on me!" One of the waitresses walked up to our table and asked, "Is he serious?" "I'm sure he is" she was told! So for the next few minutes, the waitresses took everyone's order and delivered them all! What can I say! What an incredible way to thank all the fans that made it to this show. A few songs later, Joe even asked if everyone got their drinks okay. My hat is off to Joey, and I owe ya one next time. Thank you!
After the "Come And Get It" reprise, Joey thanks the audience again as the band leaves the stage. After a few minutes of whooping and clapping, Badfinger returns and Joe launches into a fantastic solo rendition of "Sweet Tuesday Morning." Just Joe and his guitar... He even changes the words a bit for this show.
I've been to places like... Kokomo, Indiana
I've seen the breaking of the souvenir
I'm in a brightness I can feel surround me
And I'm really glad that you all made it here
Arguably, "Sweet Tuesday Morning" is my favorite Joey Molland song and this night's rendition was really great to hear. Especially since Joe was having fun with the lyrics. Joey's Badfinger did one more encore song which was "Moolah Rey." Steve Wozny, (keyboards) had been sitting pretty much in a dark part of the stage, but his playing was evident in all the songs. On "Moolah Rey," midway through the song, Joe walks over to Steve and points... And Steve launches into a great improvisational organ solo. What a great way and a great song to close the show.
Both Billy Davis and Mark Healey handled their songs with gusto and heartfelt feeling - you could just tell. Mark really took the stage with his singing of the song "Midnight Caller." And Billy, as usual, was all over the stage, dancing and jumping about and really into this gig. We asked him later if a smaller audience made any difference. Billy shook his head and stated that it really didn't, as long as the fans that were there, appreciated the show. Every time I meet Billy, I am always impressed with his professionalism and his devotion to what he is doing. I hope this live band sticks together for quite a while. They are a good unit, all.
Joe was back out on the floor about a half hour later. He had a box full of his CDs, "This Way Up" and quite a few were sold in just a few minutes. Mark, John and Billy milled about and eventually settled at our table. We all commented on the show and talked about future gigs. John mentioned about the promising new management team that was just hired. They may be playing as many as a hundred shows next year! Whoa! At this time, Joe stopped by our table and talked some more about the new agent. This is from Barb; "Joey has signed exclusively with a new agent and is optimistic about having a lot more shows booked for next year. That being the case, he plans to completely overhaul the set list. Songs he mentioned that will probably be added are "Better Days," "Perfection," "Blind Owl," and "I Can't Take It." Joe also mentioned in passing that he is working on a live Joey's Badfinger CD for a future release. Excellent!
|John Richardson||Sir Barb Atkinson||Rick Kellogg||Carrie||Billy Davis|
A few minutes later, Joseph Charles Molland III, (Joe's son) who was the guitar tech for this show, walked by and Barb called him over for a few minutes. While not the spitting image of his dad, he has the Molland look and grin. At one point we were talking about his contribution to the "This Way Up" CD and Joe III told us a funny story... It seems that as he was to lay down his solo guitar break on the song, "What Else (Nothing);" he had his headphones on while playing his solo riff. Then out of the blue, through his headphones he hears... (Joe III switches to a near perfect imitation of his dad's Liverpudlian accent and voice). "What the %#$*! are you doing???" Joe III gets this look on his face and says to us, "What the hell, this is how I play..." So that wasn't the solo that was used. It really irritated Jojo when Joe broke in on him like that. It was his first take and he thought he was playing okay. They started again and Jojo was more than a little pissed at his dad. He basically approached the second take with a 'I don't give a %#$*!' attitude after dad being so short with him. It was the second take that was used. It kind of gave him a kick in the pants... Great story!
I shot a roll of film for this concert, but the stage lighting was on the dark side which meant I had to use a slower shutter speed and I just could not get the clean close-up shots that I wanted. But the combination of photos from my son, Brian; those from Barb and my shots capture the event fairly well. I'm already planning for the next concert...
It was now past 2:00 AM Saturday morning and Brian and I must leave soon in order to arrive back in Ohio because Brian has a meeting at 10:00 AM in Columbus, Ohio. And there is an hour time difference between Ohio and Indiana at this time of year. So it is 3:00 AM for us, plus a two and one half hour drive back. A short one hour rest, then Brian will be back on the road for his trip to Columbus...
We say our 'good-byes and 'have a safe trip' to Barb and everyone in the band and head for the door. With our ears still ringing and a ton of thoughts running through my head, we start our journey back home.
At the Kokomo gig, those who were there saw a fun show had a great time too! It was very unique for its intimacy and our interaction directly with the band members. I was able to meet Joe III and I am planning to go to at least one more show later this year. Keep checking the BWR and on Barb's Badfinger Boogie site for the latest on concert dates.
Barb has also posted quite a few excellent photos of this concert on his web page. Hop on over - Go to 'Photos' - Click on the 'Kokomo' folder. I have also posted a few more of the photos that I took of the concert there too.
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