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Story and Photos by Joe HargreavesColin stepped out and took the stage, set with only three acoustic guitars, his usual table of artifacts with bottle of wine, and a lone chair back and to his right, atop which lay a phonograph that spun the gentle sounds of Emmylou Harris voicing C'est la vie, now silenced by the applause from his entry. Wasting little time he dug right in to the evening's material, consisting mainly of The Decemberists' cuts, a few unrecorded numbers, and his rendition of the Sam Cooke standard "Cupid." In classic Meloyvian style, he juxtaposed the sweet message of Cooke, with - in his own words - "songs about killing people."
Admitting his reason for soloing being selfish in nature, chiefly the sole consumer of hummus, he continued to point out, that if honesty were at the root of any artist's solo outing, they'd find this their motive as well. On stage, Colin wasn't entirely without company. Strewn about his table sat Consuela, the naked mermaid figurine housed in an armoire box. At her side lay a length of rope, which Colin spent time trying to "glean" as to its meaning. Also among the artifacts was Cordon Wallace, the electromagnetic quartz crystal, who Colin proclaimed responsible for curing his rheumatism, only to then ask what rheumatism was. Cordon, purchased in Atlanta's commercial district - known as "little five points" - had a strong reek of Nag Champa. Whether it was the magnetism or the Nag that aided Colin's cure, he wasn't entirely convinced. Henchly von Gussington, aka, Alex the sock puppet, wasn't able to be there in person, but was present in wallet-sized frame.
Meloy's between song banter was both entertaining and enlightening as he introduced - in humorous detail - the origin of a few songs. One being, that no precursor exists for The Crane Wife track "The Perfect Crime #2." In summary, one should lay off of the Absinth when recording initial ideas. Wanting a song with "perfect crime" in its title, and not willing to yield to defeat, Colin rewrote and the band rerecorded in Absinth-free condition, "#2" as we know it. Meloy concluded his show for the fans at the Pabst Theatre by treating them with two encore performances. Opening with "Red Right Ankle," and followed it with a Native American song taught to him by a Navaho Indian. In a remote New Mexican dessert, and in keeping with ancient tradition, he was handed a song that incidentally resembled both melodically and lyrically a song made famous - in the 70's - by a band named Cheap Trick. The songs title, "Southern Girls."
As to Meloy's conviction in this yarn, or just another display of his dry charming wit - in which he endeared us so - no one was willing to step in and break him the news.
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