The concert in Ridgefield the other night was a very hot night as I mentioned in my previous entry. Temperatures had hit 104 at one point in the day and there was little cover from that as I hit the stage at 7 15pm. It was a great gig, about 700 people with a good sound system though some of it blew up with the heat as the evening progressed.
However, there was one tangible moment of tension for me and I’m sure for the audience felt it too. I was advised before the gig that certain songs might not go down too well. Ridgefield, Connecticut is a beautiful place and you have to be fairly, well, comfortable on the money side of things to live here. Most of the houses are huge by UK standards and many of the folk who live in them vote for Mr Bush. I played ‘How did we end up here’ about five songs into the set and with some points to make one way or another. I guess its one thing to say ‘stuff’ when you know the choir Is primarily in front of you, but a little different when the ground is more neutral. In those situations I don’t think you get anywhere by yelling out your views at the world, so I tend to appeal to a humanitarian view before stating the obvious. When the obvious was stated I noticed Chris inching towards the side of the stage in case someone decided to take acceptation to my views in a robust way. I do think that this tension at this sort of event is kind of unique to the USA where these things are taken very personally. Anyhow, I was able to stand my ground, as it would have been cowardly to back down when one really suspected that you might be ruffling feathers. At the end of the concert half of the field stood to clap whilst the other sat but still heartily approving. So, who knows? Next day we went down to New York. Love this city and have so many great memories here especially of recording here with Sony for a few months in 91. Hit the ususal sights and met up with the concierge at the hotel I used to stay in. Maria had been very kind to myself and the family back then, and she is still there after 15 years (actually working there 18). I only called by on the off chance but there she was. Also hooked up for dinner with Ben Wisch who produced ‘Being There’ all those years ago, and is still making great records, along with Eugene Ruffolo, a fine singer songwriter I met in Canada few weeks ago. As I said, great memories in this great city. It kind of brings a mood of melancholy to me as I look back on very exciting times. It seems, in some ways, like I haven’t got that far since then but that’s a lie. I’m still here doing it I guess and that’s something in it’s self. The heat in the city was brutal, but like an enormous ‘blade runner’ set this place lives and breathes with everything you might want and don’t need. Central Park remains beautiful amidst it’s protective metal surround, and the palatable sense of community in one of the busiest cities in the world is testimony enough to the good and great that can be America. I play the Newport Folk Festival, Rhode Island tomorrow afternoon and will then fly home in the evening.