Monday, July 13, 2009

'I believe in the promised land'

There's something spectacular, in many ways, about being able to play on a platform from which you can see the Statue of Liberty. It makes me feel good about my adopted city and homeland, and it's a pretty cool backdrop for folks on their morning commute into the city.

I played for about an hour this morning on the uptown platform at Smith and 9th Street in Brooklyn - nice location, plenty of people, but I just mustn't have caught them at a good time, since I wound up with nothing in the case.

That's ok, though, it was a beautiful day and I'm sure people were preoccupied. I tried out a few new songs and decided I'd come back later and try to catch folks in a better mood on their way home.

I played for about another 45 minutes on the downtown platform starting at around 6pm, and sure enough, people were definitely much more mellow. The evening set was fun - lots of smiles and good conversation. Deep down, people are good at heart.

So I ended up with another $2, which makes the running total for the Robin Hood Foundation $55.49 (and they have a one-for-one matching plan at the moment, so whatever I raise will effectively be doubled when I hand it over).

Morning Set:

Walking In Memphis - Marc Cohn
Knockin' On Heaven's Door - Bob Dylan
Stand By Me - Ben E. King
Baby Can I Hold You - Tracy Chapman
Waiting For My Real Life To Begin - Colin Hay
People Get Ready - Curtis Mayfield
The River - Bruce Springsteen
The Further We Stretch - Ezio
The Only Living Boy In New York - Paul Simon
Sweet Life - Catie Curtis
Fall At Your Feet - Crowded House
Rosalita - Bruce Springsteen

Evening Set:

Sultans Of Swing - Dire Straits (see below)
People Get Ready - Curtis Mayfield
Knockin' On Heaven's Door - Bob Dylan
The Promised Land - Bruce Springsteen
Rosalita - Bruce Springsteen
Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison
The Weight - The Band
No Surrender - Bruce Springsteen


At Canal Street this afternoon, I saw a Chinese man playing a Duxianquin or a single-stringed zither-like instrument. At first it sounded and looked like a cross between a lap steel guitar and a theremin. What he was playing also sounded eerily like the intro to Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" but of course it wasn't.

He was selling CDs but unfortunately the title and details were all written in Chinese.

But, like the Er-hu player I'd come across previously, I had never heard anything like it before, and was happy to watch for a while.


Twenty-four years ago today, and the playing is still as great as it was then...

I started watching in the morning in Balham, finished up in West Hampstead hours later. On the way uptown, every house, every pub, was blaring the show out into the street. Where were you?

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