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Gonzo Report: Cake cites Rick James at the Rady Shell

Nodding is the new dancing

Short skirts, long jackets: Zoe, Jessica, Olive, Jessie
Short skirts, long jackets: Zoe, Jessica, Olive, Jessie

A writer must take care in this, the golden age of branding. Mention any particular subject more than once, and you risk becoming That Guy, the one who writes about X. After that, should you ever be so brazen as to write about Y, you will either be told to stay in your lane and get back to writing about X, or worse, simply ignored. And heaven help you if X is a bit odd — say, conversations held while standing in line for the men’s room at area concerts. So it is with not a little trepidation that in this, only my second Gonzo, I once again open with someone expressing surprise that we dudes should have to wait our turn for relief like a bunch of ladyfolk. This time, it was at the Rady Shell, during the intermission of An Evening with Cake on June 20.

Place

Rady Shell at Jacobs Park

200 Marina Park Way, San Diego

I tried to sympathize: “I know, right? It’s offensive. What’s the point of even being a man?”

My fellow linestander smiled. “There’s a Cake song in there somewhere.”

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“’Urinal Cake’!”

“Sounds like the opening act!”

We’d been drinking; it seemed funny at the time.

As it happened, there was no opening act, though Ka the python’s “Trust in Me” from The Jungle Book did slither from the splendid speakers as people found their particular tables. Hundreds of tables, the better to bear your $20 pizza and $17 drink from the facility’s fancy food court. Very much the right speed for the rightly named “Evening With” — this was to be a more mellow sort of affair. Now and then, some ambitious soul in snakeskin pants would rise and shake it to an old favorite — Cake has had its share of high-energy hits over the years — but that was the exception. At one point, I jotted, “Nodding is the new dancing.”

Talking of women of a certain age: as I arrived at the venue, I heard young fellow inquire, “Mom, would you put these mushrooms in your purse?” Mom declined.

Talking of hits: during my short walk to my table, I encountered four, count ‘em, four, girls dressed in a short skirt and a long jacket. (Well, three, plus one — Jessica — who decided it was too warm for a long jacket and perhaps too casual for a short skirt, and so opted for short shorts and a long kimono.) The sartorial combo, so memorably pined for by lead singer John McCrea over 20 years ago, was the first thing that attendee Olive thought of when she heard about the show — though her favorite song is “Sheep Go to Heaven.” (The night was definitely too warm for a shearling jacket, but a halo fitted with lamb ears might have worked.) Attendee Jessie said simply, “Gotta be in costume.” Amen: who wouldn’t want to be That Girl, with her mind like a diamond, her eyes that burn like cigarettes, a girl with uninterrupted prosperity, who is fast, and thorough, and sharp as a tack? So empowered! I bet That Girl doesn’t even have to wait in line for the rest room.

Before the band took the stage, the loudspeaker spoke up and said that no photography or video was allowed during the performance. Goodness, this really was “An Evening With.” I figured most bands had just accepted fan video, and were willing to see YouTube as free advertising — or at least brand management. But no: you could not have your Cake and tape it too. At one point, McCrea actually (politely) singled someone out: “Seriously, don’t video me, please. It just makes me edit myself. Plus, I don’t really like the idea of some big tech company making money off my work for free.”

Even when the personal cameras weren’t on, McCrea seemed a bit anxious. Early on, he got the crowd going back and forth with the chant “Sheep go to heaven/Goats go to hell.” Afterwards, he said, “We do it for you — those of you who sang along. Those of you were weren’t afraid to engage in a group activity that was compromising of your individuality. Who had the feeling that we could get something done together. Thank you for listening to our entertainment product. So just relax, there’s nothing to worry about. Unless you’re an entertainer who has to think of all the things you’re going to say.”

One thing he did think to say was that Rick James had in fact confronted him over the song “Meanwhile, Rick James.” But he declined to give details about the encounter.

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San Diego Classical Music for October

Short skirts, long jackets: Zoe, Jessica, Olive, Jessie
Short skirts, long jackets: Zoe, Jessica, Olive, Jessie

A writer must take care in this, the golden age of branding. Mention any particular subject more than once, and you risk becoming That Guy, the one who writes about X. After that, should you ever be so brazen as to write about Y, you will either be told to stay in your lane and get back to writing about X, or worse, simply ignored. And heaven help you if X is a bit odd — say, conversations held while standing in line for the men’s room at area concerts. So it is with not a little trepidation that in this, only my second Gonzo, I once again open with someone expressing surprise that we dudes should have to wait our turn for relief like a bunch of ladyfolk. This time, it was at the Rady Shell, during the intermission of An Evening with Cake on June 20.

Place

Rady Shell at Jacobs Park

200 Marina Park Way, San Diego

I tried to sympathize: “I know, right? It’s offensive. What’s the point of even being a man?”

My fellow linestander smiled. “There’s a Cake song in there somewhere.”

Sponsored
Sponsored

“’Urinal Cake’!”

“Sounds like the opening act!”

We’d been drinking; it seemed funny at the time.

As it happened, there was no opening act, though Ka the python’s “Trust in Me” from The Jungle Book did slither from the splendid speakers as people found their particular tables. Hundreds of tables, the better to bear your $20 pizza and $17 drink from the facility’s fancy food court. Very much the right speed for the rightly named “Evening With” — this was to be a more mellow sort of affair. Now and then, some ambitious soul in snakeskin pants would rise and shake it to an old favorite — Cake has had its share of high-energy hits over the years — but that was the exception. At one point, I jotted, “Nodding is the new dancing.”

Talking of women of a certain age: as I arrived at the venue, I heard young fellow inquire, “Mom, would you put these mushrooms in your purse?” Mom declined.

Talking of hits: during my short walk to my table, I encountered four, count ‘em, four, girls dressed in a short skirt and a long jacket. (Well, three, plus one — Jessica — who decided it was too warm for a long jacket and perhaps too casual for a short skirt, and so opted for short shorts and a long kimono.) The sartorial combo, so memorably pined for by lead singer John McCrea over 20 years ago, was the first thing that attendee Olive thought of when she heard about the show — though her favorite song is “Sheep Go to Heaven.” (The night was definitely too warm for a shearling jacket, but a halo fitted with lamb ears might have worked.) Attendee Jessie said simply, “Gotta be in costume.” Amen: who wouldn’t want to be That Girl, with her mind like a diamond, her eyes that burn like cigarettes, a girl with uninterrupted prosperity, who is fast, and thorough, and sharp as a tack? So empowered! I bet That Girl doesn’t even have to wait in line for the rest room.

Before the band took the stage, the loudspeaker spoke up and said that no photography or video was allowed during the performance. Goodness, this really was “An Evening With.” I figured most bands had just accepted fan video, and were willing to see YouTube as free advertising — or at least brand management. But no: you could not have your Cake and tape it too. At one point, McCrea actually (politely) singled someone out: “Seriously, don’t video me, please. It just makes me edit myself. Plus, I don’t really like the idea of some big tech company making money off my work for free.”

Even when the personal cameras weren’t on, McCrea seemed a bit anxious. Early on, he got the crowd going back and forth with the chant “Sheep go to heaven/Goats go to hell.” Afterwards, he said, “We do it for you — those of you who sang along. Those of you were weren’t afraid to engage in a group activity that was compromising of your individuality. Who had the feeling that we could get something done together. Thank you for listening to our entertainment product. So just relax, there’s nothing to worry about. Unless you’re an entertainer who has to think of all the things you’re going to say.”

One thing he did think to say was that Rick James had in fact confronted him over the song “Meanwhile, Rick James.” But he declined to give details about the encounter.

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