Concert Report

Last Saturday, my husband, mother-in-law and I saw Roger McGuinn and John Sebastian at Cain Park.

If you’re not from the area (or if you are and haven’t been there), Cain Park is a charming little venue in the middle of Cleveland Heights with recreational facilities and two stages for concerts and plays.  The Evans Amphitheatre (which is where we saw the concert) is an open air facility with pavilion and lawn seating.  It seats about 3,000, I’d guess, if the lawn and colonnade are full (which they were for George Benson, who we saw back a few years).
evans AmphitheatreThe other theatre is the Alma, which can be considered covered (by canvas).  It’s smaller and tends to host the ‘second string’ play and cabaret-sized concerts.

Anyway, the concert was much fun (even with the rain that chased the lawn seaters into the food pavilion).  John Sebastian was never one of the great singers of the ’60s, but his voice is now down to a raspy growl.  It suits the blues and folk he sings, but makes the Spoonful stuff he includes not quite the same.  He’s got a great sense of humor and is still a talented instrumentalist.  After the first song, he looked up at the roof of the pavilion (it was REALLY raining) and said “I’ve always had a gift for the right song at the right time … I feel one coming on now” and segued into “You and Me and Rain on the Roof“, one of my LS faves.  Both he and McGuinn did a lot of folk and blues (they both got their start on the New York (and Chicago, in McGuinn’s case) folk scene) and just enough of the hits most people know them for to keep the average folks happy.  They also did two songs together at the start of McGuinn’s set.

Now, Roger McGuinn:  Frankly, (now granted, I didn’t see him up close), he has hardly changed at all — except maybe to get better.  He had three guitars (two acoustics and the Rickenbacker) and a banjo and he used them all to great effect.  The version of “Eight Miles High” alone was worth the price of admission; as my husband said later: “He sounded like the whole band [Byrds] just by himself”.

So if you see them come to town, or either one on their own (they’re not doing many gigs together — or they’ve finished doing them) they’re worth going to see. 

[This endorsement is not tainted by my finding out that Roger McGuinn is a Christian, too. Yippee!]

On My Sansa:  “Small Town” by John Mellencamp

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