Jimmie Dale Gilmore doesn't meet every expectation, but still proves pleasing
The Roxy, Boston, Mass., July 13, 2000
CAMBRIDGE, MA - Jimmie Dale Gilmorešs stage presence was noticeably absent for the second of two sets at Cambridgešs House of Blues. The band was enthusiastic, however, as was the roughly 100-person crowd, and Gilmorešs choice of rootsy, introspective numbers did not disappoint. The concert, due to unfortunate low ticket sales, had been moved to the Harvard Square venue from the Somerville Theater and split into an early and a late show.
After a brief but animated set by witty folk-rocker John Wesley Harding, Gilmorešs band members Christine Albert and Chris Gage entertained the crowd with about half an hour's worth of songs. They proved a pleasant and talented duo to listen to, but their set seemed too much like a stall for Gilmore.
When Gilmore finally did come on stage after midnight, the distinctive, appealing twang of his voice was half-hidden behind a wall of guitar. In addition to Gage and Albert, Rob Gjersoe, Gilmore, and, for a few songs, Gilmorešs son Colin, all played guitar. Bassist Glenn Kawamoto provided a variation on the instrument theme, and Gage played mandolin on a few tunes.
The majority of songs came straight from Gilmore's recent "One Endless Night," which contains some of the atmospheric qualities of "Braver Newer World" as well as the straight-ahead acoustic feel of "Spinning Around the Sun."
While the new songs were well chosen for their appealing lyrics and melodies, their delivery in quick succession added a clinical quality to the performance. Gilmore seemed more a man out to get a job done than a perceptive singer and songwriter engaging with an audience.
Gilmorešs dry, Zen-like banter, so prominent and enjoyable when he visited the House of Blues last fall, was disappointingly infrequent during the show (he told the earlier show's audience that he would keep talk to a minimum, due to the time constraints of having to perform twice). One of the few jokes he made was, "Išm telling the exact same jokes I told earlier so it wonšt make any difference from this show to the last."
Some songs from "Spinning Around the Sun," like "Reunion" and "Another Colorado," were included in the set as well as a downright sizzling version of "Mobile Line." The band also encored with Butch Hancockšs "If You Were a Bluebird," but overall, Gilmorešs early work was eschewed in favor of songs from the album being plugged.
Gjersoe and Gage traded some great solos toward the end of the set, which got the crowd riled up and responsive, and Colin Gilmore was given the spotlight for several numbers. Although these were enjoyable additions to the set, they served to draw attention away from the man the people came to see. Oh, well. A Jimmie Dale Gilmore show that doesnšt meet every expectation still beats most shows that do.