A shaky figure swathed in dingy fabric limps through a crowd of Memorial Day revelers and passionate devotees. Mirroring his disappointing late ’70s experience, the entrance proves premature — turns out Science Fiction has finagled an opening spot. This gives the band and entourage (Wilson's now hiding behind the bar) time to mix disgruntlement with extra cocktails. Original keyboardist Joe Longa, who's flown out from Endicott, NY, is shaking his head. I search for something positive about SF: "It's textbook 'I-can-play-fast' fusion...maybe in time they'll find more direction." "Yeah," laughs Longa, "maybe one of them would make a good lawyer." By SF's last bombastic note, the stage is circled by chollos who will groove along with Wilson's entire set, clusters of young hipsters, hippies of all ages, and women who will scream and dance voraciously.
Blanketed by a crimson robe, his face obscured by black tape, Gary plunges into "NY Surf" with a roll of duct tape in one hand and a beat-up, half-inflated love doll in the other. A liberal sprinkling of baby powder completes the ritual. Tasty guitar and bass, ethereal keyboards, and Gary's muffled vocals construct a sexy, effect-spiked soul tapestry. Songs about love, love and sex, love, sex, and loneliness, and love, sex, loneliness, and love objects are all riveting. We're turned on. We're laughing our asses off. Novices' eyes pop as Gary tackles the bassist, rolls around with the love doll, and moans desperately from the powdered floor after throwing off his robe to reveal a granny nightie. One last gem, maybe "Forgotten Lovers," writs obsession three-dimensional: "The sun is rising warmer/ I need to lie down/ Trees want to hold hands with me." We're shaken awake when Gary says, "That's it — from Endicott." No one's ready for withdrawal.