I saw R. Stevie Moore a couple weeks ago at the Vera Project Seattle and it was one of the best shows I’ve seen in the last couple of years. I haven’t listened to his music much but I have a friend who really, really likes him, and who is always so excited when he talks about him, that I decided to go. I imagined that at the very least the show would be weird. Weird not just because RSM seems to be a different kind of dude, but weird in that he has recorded something like 1000 albums himself in his basement and yet, at the age of 59, this would be his first ever tour. Touring almost broke my brain a couple times when I went in my 20s so I can’t imagine going on my first tour as someone who is near my dad’s age.
He was scheduled in town early and so my friend, who really, really likes him threw a welcome BBQ and extended an invite for him and his band. RSM showed up and hung around and was real nice and in the process of enjoying the BBQ he took off one of his layers of shirts. He then took off for a pre main show acoustic show, leaving the shirt behind. Since I knew I was going to the acoustic show. and then the main show later, I had the bright idea that a clever way to meet him would be to wear his shirt around all day, a shirt that was way too large and looked ridiculous on me, and then he’d see me later, notice the guy looking ridiculous in the giant shirt that looks just like his shirt and then I’d get to meet him. I thought this would also be good for laughs.
I headed to the acoustic show in RSM’s giant shirt but arrived late. Already a bunch of folks were crammed into the tiny Wall of Sound record store awaiting to hear RSM quietly strum and sing without a PA so I hung around outside looking like a goof, continuing to wear what was turning into an all day joke to meet someone I wasn’t a huge fan of. I got plenty of weird looks, and plenty of compliments, like when you compliment someone for having shaved off half their hair, cause it’s impossible to not notice and you got to say something, but R. Stevie was too busy to see me wearing his shirt. I headed down the block to check out an accident and then headed home quick to eat before the show.
By the time I arrived at the Vera at 8pm I was really beginning to rethink the shirt idea. I had been wearing it since 2 and during this time had discovered that the shirt possessed a weird tour stench that when you put your nose right to it just smelled like the old spice used to keep the shirt “wearable” but when you moved your nose back a foot or so, like the foot your nose would be from a shirt you are wearing, you could then smell a distinctive and powerful odor. It’s like how you can’t hear certain sounds close cause of the sound wave but you can hear them further away, except this was with stink. Nothing against Mr. Moore as I came to find out he and his band had been on tour for 3 months and anyone would have become quite the road dog in this time. Before the show started, and after finding out I forgot my ID and couldn’t drink away my uncomfortableness, I finally figured out my joke wasn’t funny and that this was way too much effort and gave the shirt to my friend who really, really likes RSM to be in charge of it’s safe return.
The show was great. Three months of touring really showed as the band was ridiculously tight. I heard that Moore was nervous about the tour but he seemed at ease, or at least confident in his weirdness. At one point he stopped playing bass during a song, while the band continued on, to squeeze on a stress ball and then returned to playing with the stress ball still in hand. They played through RSM’s best known songs and after 15 minutes they left for the first their first encore. Moore came back on stage by himself, hiked up his tight pajama pants a foot past his belly button and played a set by himself. Then came the second encore culminating in a cover of The Beatles “She’s So Heavy” complete with the weird Moog noises and nailing the abrupt ending. Definitely a show worth seeing.