WATSON - PRINCE OF WALES HOTEL ST KILDA
28 FEBRUARY 2007
was clear from the entrée this was not a meeting of the Temperance
More reminiscent in some pockets of the audience of the extras from
movies by the Kens - Russell and Kesey - in the basement scene of
The Music Lovers or One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.
Or maybe just parodic panels from the every day dreams of singer-satirist
Fred Negro who held up the bar before it turned the tables.
Yes, this was Dale Watson's Seven Year Itch tour and scratchings
included previous tour promoters and the recently deceased.
Texan trucking troubadour kicked off with Whiskey Or God
(title track of his 13th album) released in Europe under the name
of the evening's finale song Heeah.
little hand was on 10 and big hand on 12 as Watson and his four piece
Lone Stars cleared the stage of Detonators - his hard riding and rocking
Then the drinking anthems flowed - Tequila & Teardrops, Tequila,
Whiskey & Beer replete with beer drenched floor redneck choir)
and Hair Of The Dog.
The pause that refreshed and punctuated was Cowboy Lloyd Cross from
his 1996 disc Blessed Or Damned but not That Man In The Lloyd
Crease altered for legal reasons for 1999 album People I've Known,
Places I've Been.
And in a pre-emptive strike Watson showcased social comment single Justice
For All at song 10 although both the album and video (featuring Desperate
Housewives star and guitarist James Denton) is a month away.
He used covers of George Jones classic A Man Can Be A Drunk (But A
Drunk Can't Be A Man) and Merle Haggard's Tonight The Bottle Let
Me Down as apt chasers for A Couple More Beers Ago and Honkiest
Tonkiest Beer Joint.
The latter was enriched by an open invite of free hot dogs for all fans
who visited the Austin scene of the rhyme - Ginny's tip jar temple.
For an extra nip fans were treated to Honky Tonk Wizard Of The Bar,
Honky Tonkers Don't Cry, She Must Have Come Back, Leave Me Alone and
Have You Got It On.
GLASSES AT 20 PACES
precious peers with a disdain for paying fans this was inter-active
audience participation with a stream of full shot glasses delivered
to Dale and his Lone Stars.
In appreciation and stark contrast to Steve Earle and cloth eared
decibel droogs at the same venue the sound crew ensured the pedal
steel of Don Pawlak and Don Raby's fiddle weren't lost in the mix.
Watson covered all bases with road tested semi staples Truckin'
Man, Flat Tyre and Truck Stop In La Grange and resurrected
album title tracks Cheatin' Heart Attack, I Hate These Songs
and Blessed Or Damned.
It may be trite to say Watson is a populist but his longevity owes
so much to his adept reading of audiences.
songs Nashville Rash and That's Country, My Arse were delivered
with humorous verve and a reptilian venom.
It was a generous gesture to invite Sydney blues man Johnny Green to lead
on Leon Payne's Lost Highway and Hank Williams tribute to first
wife Audrey - I Can't Help It If I'm Still In Love With You.
Green, whose live shows are often blues heavy, drove his lap steel fuelled
laments and traded licks with those Lone Star Dons on steel and fiddle.
HANK AND LEFTY
complimented his guest on a matching pair of Hank and Lefty tattoos,
long time Sydney benefactor Karl on his gift of a tattoo to the
singer and Route 66 owner Ross Waddington for four western shirts
to hide it.
It was that sort of show as the midnight hour came and wage slaves
left as Watson proved he was not the Lone Star by giving drummer
Herb Belofsky and fiddler Raby room to roam.
Watson's three hour plus show honoured late peers Presley on Viva
Las Vegas, Cash on Merle Kilgore-June Carter tune Ring Of
Fire and John Hartford on 1968 Grammy winning Gentle On My
his heart into mellow songs that broke the booze bank - Heaven In Baltimore,
England To Texas (probably the only Princess Diana eulogy) and Sweet
his stage to a cowgirl and Indian he used his encore to shine a light
on bassist Gene Kurtz who sang Treat Her Right - his historic 1962
hit for Roy Head.
That encore also featured trucking classic Exit 109, Phillip At The
Fill Up, I Don't Want To Quarrel With My Baby, a laboured Orange
Blossom Special, a Mavericks song and finale Heeah.
Ervin Rouse and Chubby Wise's Orange Blossom Special may be one
of the most performed country staples as a Cash converter.
But Watson seemed to owe a debt of sorts to Raby who was put through his
paces while others two stepped out the door and down the stairs to the
mean streets of St Kilda.
With the long burning flame still attracting neon moths at 2 am it didn't
seem to be a drama as the goal umpires compared song tallies and thanked
Whiskey and God that songs were performed in their entirety not memorabilia
It was but a small radar blip on the lost highway for an artist who will
be welcomed back with open arms and swinging doors on his return.
DAVID DAWSON - PHOTOS
/ back to articles