Woodstock, NY July 7, 1994 review

by Michael Curry

Hi all!

Here it is at last... the story of my trip to see Milla this past Thursday in Woodstock. I'm posting this to both rft and ecto, but the ecto version has more to say about my meeting Happy before the show. :)

This is probably going to end up being rather long, and I know that I'm still not going to be able to convey just how great my whole Milla concert experience was!

I drove about 3 1/2 hours to get to Woodstock, and when I got there I drove by the venue once without even seeing it. :) The location for the concert was the Tinker Street Cafe, and I'll try to describe it a little so you can get a better idea of what it was like. The Tinker Street Cafe takes up the lower floor of a small building on Main St., and it's below street level so you have to walk down a few stairs from the sidewalk to get to the porch area. The porch area held about 15 small tables, and inside there were 9 more tables and a bar. Yes... this place was *very* small! I would say that maybe 80 people could fit inside, either sitting or standing. The small stage was over at one end of the room, and there were 3 small tables set up in front of it. The other tables were pushed together in pairs along the front wall, which also had large windows that looked onto the porch. There was no air conditioning, just the open windows and door (and a few ceiling fans). Personally I liked the place... but I was rather surprised that Milla wasn't playing somewhere a bit larger.

When I got there at 8:30 (the show was supposed to start at 9:30) the tables outside were crowded with people enjoying the warm night air, and there were a few people inside. I was surprised to see that two of the three small tables right in front of the stage were empty! Amazed at my luck at sat at the center table.

I had a beer and looked around, and slowly the place began to fill. Things were still empty enough that no one had reached the stage of asking to share my table (I went alone), and it was then that Happy Rhodes and Kevin walked in. If you're reading this on rfn I'll just say that I did get to meet Happy and Kevin! :)

As the place continued to fill I finally ended up sharing my table... with a friend of one of the band members. When Chris asked if I would mind her sitting at my table I said "No problem", and it was only later that I learned Chris was in Milla's band. :)

Anyway, Milla came in the front door and made her way back to the dressing room. The amazing thing is that most people didn't notice! This was both a good and a bad thing, as I will explain later.

At about 10:00 the band and Milla got up on stage, and Milla sat on the floor while a local radio DJ announced her. Let me make it clear right now that this stage was *small*, and there was barely enough room for everyone. By this point the room was pretty much filled, and Milla said hi and launched into "Ruby Lane."

Her band consisted of one guy playing an acoustic guitar (he sat on a chair during the performance), another playing an electric bass guitar, a third playing a... a... I don't know what it was! :) His instrument was sort of like a violin, with an oddly shaped body, too many strings, and rows of wooden keys that came out of one side. He played this instrument with a bow in his right hand, while his left manipulated the keys. When someone asked him later what he called it he said, "I call it a fiddle." :) The final band member was Chris, who played the mandolin, melodica (with a hose to extend the mouthpiece), and keyboard (which was only used as a piano). Chris was the main backing vocalist, and the fiddle player helped on a few songs as well.

Milla wore black Converse sneakers, loose black jeans, and a black t-shirt with the poster for the B-movie "Marijuana Girl" on the front. :) Her hair was just held back from her face by a few bobby-pins. She didn't look like a model or an actress, she just looked like a normal person! :)

Here's a list of the songs she played... but it's not a "set" list because they aren't in the order she played them. :)

The Alien Song
Gentleman Who Fell
It's Your Life Charlie
Ruby Lane
Bang Your Head
You Did It All Before
In A Glade
Strange Behaviour (new!)
Precious Time (new!)
Miles Away (new!)
Falling (new!)
Close To You (new!)
[Please note that the titles of the new songs are just working titles.]

The show was *great*! The band was good, and Milla's voice was in good shape (though it broke once or twice). She's a very dynamic performer and really puts a lot into her show. I was right in front of her and she just blew me away! :) The new songs were great, and I hope at least some of them make it onto her next album. She played the guitar on a couple of them, and managed to break a string. Oh, if you go to see them request "The Blue Goat". It's a Swedish folk song that some of the band learned, and you'll probably get a laugh even if they don't play it (they didn't play it for us). :)

One problem that arose was that it soon became obvious that there were a lot of people there who weren't Milla fans, and were instead just locals out for a good time. Remember when I said that there was a bad reason for people not recognizing her when she walked through? There was a core of people up near the stage who had obviously come to see Milla, but there were plenty of people who were just drinking and talking. Milla was clearly annoyed by their behavior, but her attempts at hints to be quiet were mostly ignored. For example, when she introduced The Alien Song she emphasized the subtitle "For those who listen." After the show she told someone that she hadn't seen a "good" crowd yet this tour, and in my opinion that's because of the venues she's performing in.

Milla performed for about 1.5 hours, and after she was done I stuck around hoping to get a chance to talk to her. At first I didn't even notice that she had come outside and was talking to people... she just sort of blended in with the crowd, many of who had stayed. She talked to a few people who approached her, and even had her palm read. :) I walked up to her and said hi, and told her that her I thought the show had been great, and she thanked me. While she signed the back of my cd booklet (To Mike: Thank you _so_ much! You're very sweet. Enjoy! Love Milla [then she drew a little smiley face]) I mentioned that I had driven more than three hours to get to the concert, and explained that I would have liked to have seen her in Providence but that I was going to see Sarah that day. She didn't ask "Sarah who?" :) She mentioned that she had opened for Sarah in Boston, and seemed surprised when I told her that Sarah had only done four songs there (since that was how many Milla did as well if I remember Meredith's comments).

Then she told me that she was going to play a short set over at a coffeehouse across the street (because her younger fans hadn't been able to get into the bar to see her) and asked if I was going to go. I of course said yes. :)

She talked to a few more people, and then her and the band went over to the coffeehouse, and performed a short set for about 25 people. :) The band played the guitar, bass, "fiddle", and melodica. She did three songs, a new untitled one, Charlie, and You Did It All Before. It was a great set, the crowd was perfect. :)

By the time all of this was over it was a little after 1:00AM, and since I was facing a 3.5 hour drive I headed home. It was *easily* the greatest concert experience I've ever had!