Taylor Tribute Worth It

Visions Of Gray
June 1994, Volume 3, Number 10
© 1994 M3 Mission Music Ministries
Page 17

Steve Taylor Depreciation Night
April 26, 1994
328 Performance Hall, Nashville, TN

In order to attend this concert I had to make numerous long distance phone calls, take a day off work, drive 4½ hours each way, and rent a cheap hotel room. By the time I arrived at the 328 Performance Hall in Nashville, I was beginning to wonder if it was all worth it. Silly me.

Taylor was in top form this evening, performing with basically the same band that recorded the album; Jerry McPherson and John Painter on guitars, and Chagallians Wade Jaynes on bass and Mike Mead on drums. Although this was one of their first performances, the airtight band sounded like they'd been on the road for months as they roared into "The Moshing Floor," followed immediately by "Curses." Steve, of course, was up to his usual hyperkinetic stage antics. What he reminds me of is a marionette puppet operated by a kid who hasn't quite got the hang of it yet ... definitely a man born for the limelight.

Even though the predominantly industry audience was somewhat reserved at first, Taylor was at his manic best, eventually gaining the upper hand over the crowd. The trademark Taylor acerbic wit was also very much in evidence as he remarked, "This week some people have come up to me and asked where I've been the past six years..." as he smiled knowingly, "...well, I retired, but three months later I discovered that I couldn't collect social security for another thirty-five years! So I joined a band... but that was when I discovered that MCA stands for Musicians Cemetery of America. Nobody tells me anything, y'know what I'm sayin'?"

The show was so well put together that it's hard to pick out any highlights, but worth mentioning is the performance of "Bannerman," accompanied by an appearance of the caped title character and capped by a few bars of The Knack's "My Sharona." Older material was given new life as well, as Steve and the boys pounded through an upbeat, thrashy rendition of "I Want to be a Clone" and a guitar-heavy arrangement of "Jim Morrison's Grave."

The encore kicked off with the introduction of some familiar-looking "runway models" with "hot fashions" for fall--actually, it was the announcement of Steve's "Squinternational" fall tour with Dakoda Motor Co. and Hocus Pick. Steve then thanked those responsible for the tribute album and commented, "They sound great... actually they sound better than I do!" Then a wicked grin slid across his face and he said, "Now it's our turn to do a cover. Are you ready?" The band responded by launching into "Violent Blue," much to the delight of the crowd. Steve's set was then brought to a fitting conclusion to the tune of the audience response classic, "We Don't Need No Colour Code." (True Steve fans always say, "Following the WHAT?!?")

The rest of the evening was entertaining as well, as solid sets were turned in by Sixpence None the Richer, The Wayside, and Circle of Dust, each including a Taylor song in their performance. With Sixpence, I'm reminded of one of those Shaq commercials, "How far will they go? How good will they be? Hey they're only 21 and 17. Stick around." Unfortunately, The Wayside and Circle of Dust performed to a depleted room as they were scheduled after Steve, not beforehand. Still, they performed professionally well. All in all, it was a top-notch evening. As Steve said, "Did I tell you that this is the happiest day of my life?"

Reid Davis