Sunday, April 17, 2011

Jimmy Gnecco - Railroad Playhouse, Newburgh NY 4.9.11

Last Saturday night, I had the innate pleasure of seeing Jimmy in an intimate setting, performing The Heart straight through, from start to finish. And to top it off, it was my birthday. It was one of the most amazing and incredible things, to sit and hear Jimmy give us a taste of the way this album was recorded. But I'll back up and start at the beginning.

I got an email notification about this about a month prior, and as I'd been clamoring for a show on or around my birthday, freaked out at work. I immediately posted the info on my twitter/facebook and bought tickets as soon as they were available. The day of the show, I headed to NY, picking up Melissa in CT and we arrived at the hotel mid-afternoon. We hung out, relaxed and waited for Jess to arrive, and started to get ready as soon as she got there. We headed out for the venue around 6:15 or so, and arrived with plenty of time for 730 door time. The tickets had said the show was at 8, however Jimmy's web site had said the show was at 9. The venue itself is very cool - it's right on the Hudson River and is an old train depot, that shares its space with a pizza place. We had dinner in the restaurant and I said hi to Michelle and Cliff when they arrived, and eventually made our way over to where the theater was.

The first thing that was kind of odd was that there were signs all over the place that said no photos/videos - Jimmy doesn't generally care if we take pics/video, but I found out once we got inside why. The whole show was being recorded - audio/video. It was also a seated show, which was different - but nice because I had heels on.  As it turned out, the show didn't actually start until 9, so we sat around and chatted until they started. It was nice to see people who I did know, and meet some new people - as I had posted on the facebook page for the event that it was my birthday, I had random people wishing me a happy birthday, which was cool. :D It was also fun to see Race, as it was his birthday too - Race is almost my birthday twin, as it was his actual birthday that just and it was my birthday celebration, as my birthday was the next day.

Jimmy came out and said that they were recording but he wanted us to clap along when it called for it but to really just have a sense as to the way he wanted us to hear this album. The whole album is such an emotional journey and roller coaster, so to hear Jimmy sing it - in such good voice (his voice was probably the best I've heard him) was just incredible. I really don't have many words for it. The album is designed in a way that it starts out quietly, builds to a crescendo in the middle, and returns to quiet at the end, almost full circle. Jimmy got really emotional at the end of It's Only Love, and said it was what he's wanted to say to some people but never did. I've never seen him get that emotional before during a show - he wears his heart on his sleeve, but you don't always see it publicly. Static was there and came up at the end to sing Talk to Me, Red Colored Stars, Place in the Sun, and The Bells with Jimmy. It was nice to get the bonus songs, and I always love it when Static comes up to play with him, as he is an insane guitarist - and I really just like watching the two of them interact on stage.

Jimmy also said that he'd be re-releasing The Heart in September with some new mixes of songs on it that the band had recorded with him, plus a couple of new songs. I love the album as it is, but I've loved the last couple of shows that I've been to that the band has played on some of the songs, which adds a whole different dimension to it. He finished playing around 10:45 and we hung around after the show for awhile, just chilling out in the lobby with drinks. I will say that it was really nice of the venue to not be kicking us out so they could close, even when it got close to midnight. We finally said goodbye to Jimmy and co around midnight, as they headed out and we went out for the after party. I am so glad I got to celebrate this way - and it was an absolute honor to hear the album like this. The venue was tiny too, only 100 capacity and there were only maybe 75 people there. Jimmy's playing a few more of these shows - Vienna, VA on 4/21, NYC 4/28, and Chicago 5/16. If you have the opportunity, go. Its absolutely worth it.

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