Shows/John Linnell/1999-11-14

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Fan Recaps and Comments:

Just got back from the first ever performance of 'John Linnell and the Statesmen' and let me tell you, they rocked! Rob Plass, Mike (whose last name I don't know!), my girlfriend Patricia and myself got to Piermont around 4:20.

We waited outside listening to soundcheck during which among other things the band played Mississippi, Arkansas, and New Hampshire. At 5pm we had reservations for dinner so we headed inside to eat with the band soundchecking as our dinner music.

Soon they started playing a song that no one recognized and I distinctly heard the word Alaska. That was followed by another song in which the word Nebraska was heard. We were all pretty surprised to say the least and getting more excited by the minute. We finished dinner around 5:30 and waited until the doors opened downstairs at 6:15 or so. We took our seats at the table which we reserved at dinner and waited for the show to start. Rob noticed that the monitors in front of Linnell's keyboard had the lyrics for Alaska and Nebraska on them.

The show finally started around 7:30. They opened up with The Songs of the Fifty States, followed with South Carolina, New Hampshire, and Idaho. For some reason Mark Lerner's bass was emitting this horrible clicking noise on the louder more bass involved songs. After the show we listened to my recording in Rob's car and everyone said that they couldn't hear it during the show but it sure was on the recording. So basically an otherwise perfect recording was pretty much ruined by a loud clicking noise that no one but me heard!

Anyway at this point Linnell announced that they were going to play a Johnny Horton cover(i think it was Horton, but I don't feel like checking my recording because I haven't put in track marks yet:) called North to Alaska. I'll have to post an mp3 of this tomorrow because it is just way too funny hearing Linnell go "NORTH to Alaska!"in this wacked out voice that sounds faintly reminiscent of a houndbarking (in a good way!) The thought that the new State Songs we heard during soundcheck might be covers never occured to us:)

They continued on with Utah and then Maine after which they had to shuffle around on stage (no small feat, trust me) so Linnell could come up to the front with his accordion and Dan Miller took over keyboard duties. They then broke into a kick a$$ rendition of Mississippi which you'd never believe they could pull off live, but they do... This was followed by Arkansas. The band's previous positions were resumed and Linnell was about to put down his accordion when Mark Lerner reminded him that Oregon (which requires the accordion) was next on the setlist. It sounded really good and Linnell did the loud parts (OOOOOOREGON IS BAD!!!!) excellently and the second one earned him some applause and a grin from Dan Miller:)

Next up was Iowa (the opening keyboard part of which sounds so much like They Got Lost when they play it live it's not even funny...or maybe it is...). It was definitely the most rocking song of the evening and featured a nice solo by Mr. Dan Miller. Pennsylvania was next, which sounded really odd because of the bass line Mark Lerner was playing...Then came the aforementioned Nebraska which turned out to be a Bruce Springsteen cover...They finished up the set with Montana and Michigan...

The band came back for an encore after much cheering and applauding. They started playing a very jazzy tune which apparently was also a cover. It was almost an instrumental but then at the very end there was some mumbling about Ohio which wasn't very understandable...They ended the show with a superb performance of West Virginia which competed with Iowa as the most rocking song of the evening. On the setlist there was a second encore during which they were going to play Nevada and Maryland but it didn't happen. Which isn't a big loss, West Virginia is a much better finale than Maryland...

Afterwards we went outside into the nice cool air (it was stuffy inside!) and Rob went off somewhere and Patricia, Mike and I talked with Karen (MuseKJ) and her husband Barry. Linnell left like 15 minutes later with a goodnight to us all and we all left a few minutes after that. It was an altogether amazing night and Linnell was in an excellent mood. I can't wait for the Bowery Ballroom show but I don't think it'll compare to this one...although they will have the band organ there...

Here's the setlist as it was printed:

  • 50
  • SC
  • NH
  • ID
  • AK (mine has "las" written in between the AK and "a" written after the K)
  • UT
  • ME -START (handwritten in)
  • MS (it was typed MI but the I had been written over with an S)
  • AR (k was written next to it)
  • OR
  • IO
  • PE (PA was written next to it)
  • NB
  • MT
  • MI


  • OH
  • WV


  • NV*
  • MD*

For you non-abbreviates that would be:

  • The Songs of the Fifty States
  • South Carolina
  • New Hampshire
  • Idaho
  • North To Alaska (Johnny Horton)
  • Utah
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Arkansas
  • Oregon
  • Iowa
  • Pennsylvania
  • Nebraska (Springsteen)
  • Montana
  • Michigan


  • Ohio
  • West Virginia


  • Nevada*
  • Maryland*

(*) Not Played

-Kevin Sullivan