October 21st at the Saxon Pub

That's the date and place that I finally got to see Tom Cochrane in person. I've been a fan of his for more years than I can remember, and this one set at the Saxon Pub in Austin has made all the years melt away. ready to go dig out the albums again and give them all a listen.

The bar was full, probably 30 people. Tiny little place. Nice music venue, as small clubs go. When I asked if Tom was in the house, the doorman waved me over toward the stage, where Tom was in a conversation with another fan. Tom was warm and friendly, wanted to know what I would like to hear. I know, Life is a Highway is the song you get if you ask for Tom Cochrane at a radio station (it's his Stairway to Heaven equivalent) but, Life is a Highway has a special place in my heart because my children demanded I play it over and over again in the car, when it was a new song. I asked for something off of Neruda too, because Neruda remains my favorite album of his. He left the table after that, and we sat down to enjoy some front row seats for the set. I started reflecting on "what I wanted to hear" at that point. Then it hit me, and I had to wander over to his manager's table where he was waiting to take the stage, and ask if he could play Beautiful Day, the last new song of his that really spoke to me. He actually laughed and said something to the effect “that was four years ago, my memory doesn’t go back that far” although he said he liked Stonecutter’s Arms from the same album X-ray Sierra (another one of my favorites) I discovered he has some new material out, an album called No Stranger (same name as a local band that I used to follow, oddly enough, No Strangers) I look forward to giving it a listen soon.

When they took the stage...
[Tom, obviously as lead singer/guitar, Ken Greer on steel guitar, Shawn Pander played rhythm guitar and sang back up vocals on the last three songs. Didn’t catch the drummer’s name. The Wife played percussion for years, so she probably knows. They talked for a good 10 minutes about the wooden drum that he was playing. (This looks like him, but surely not..?) Two horn players too. All part of Shawn’s band, from what I understood]
...they played Lunatic Fringe, White Hot, Northern Star, White Horse and finished up with Life is a Highway.

Shawn started his set with a unique take on Lonely People, and a quip about Tom being harder to follow than a Beatlemania band. I was there to see Tom, but Shawn’s music warrants a listen to. Hard to say what I thought of his act, since I was so psyched about getting to see Tom for the first time.

We talked for awhile between Shawn’s set and the next band’s start time. Complimented Ken on his guitar work. I never realized just what an impact his presence in the band was, until he sat in for one of Shawn’s songs. Completely changed the feel of the music. The man can make a guitar speak, in ways that very few people can come close to mastering. A true artist.

Then it was over. All too soon. Got a hug from Tom. The Wife did too. I hope to see them all again sometime, including Shawn. It was an interesting evening. One for the long term memory files, if only I can find the key to those...

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