Weblog of Leland Rucker
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Age Like Wine

August 20, 2004

It had rained all the way down to south Denver from Boulder. But there I was standing in the pinkish glow of the Gothic Theatre bar. Will Kimbrough’s set was just ending, and I was admiring the clouds painted on the ceiling.

I have been to the Gothic a few times, notably a magical mystery tour of the outer solar system courtesy the Sun Ra Orchestra back when Sun had a physical presence on earth. And I saw a good Pixies set, too, both of those back in the days when the Gothic’s ambience more than lived up to its name.

The changes are completely cosmetic – the building itself still looks pretty decrepit around the edges. But it’s eerie; at the bar, the place actually seems nice.

A guy who must have recognized me from my first appearance onstage to announce upcoming shows and remind people that we weren’t Clear Channel, strolled over. He had one of those strapped carriers over his shoulders that parents use to lug infants around on their chest, and he said that he loved the station and especially Meredith and me.

And, he says, his recent family addition was named Townes — after Mr. Van Zandt — and sure enough, young Townes is on his back, though he can’t be more than two months old. The baby carriage’s beverage rack has a baby bottle and a can of Dale’s Old Chubb side-by-side. I’m reminded that I was 18 when I went to my first concert.

I went back to my reverie with the ceiling. Suddenly, a thunderstorm passes behind me and bellies up to the bar. It’s KCUV’s first music director, no longer with the company, ordering a bourbon and water.

The ex-MD, who I think still harbors a grudge about his tenure with the company, turns and says, “I didn’t know that KCUV DJs went to concerts these days?”

Yeah, nice to see you, too.

We make a little small talk about Los Lobos coming to Boulder. At one point, he says, “Am I the only one here that did two concerts tonight?” He had come from Guy Clark’s Swallow Hill set earlier. Matt from the Reals appears and asks if he could buy me a drink. I politely pass. “I’ll take his,” says the ex-MD.

The bartender mixed up another bourbon and water as I graciously excuse myself to head backstage to announce Todd.

Ten minutes later, Snider and his manager appear at the top of the stairs from the dressing room just before I went onstage and did my best “give-it-up for Todd” impression. Todd, who was a bit older than I might have imagined from his CD cover, ambled onstage as I walked off.

The bouncer was out in the alley talking to somebody, so I sat down on his stool at the door.

Snider’s first song was cute, something about an old-timer from his new CD called “Age Like Wine.”

His manager, a goofy, show-business guy in his late forties sporting a John Prine cap worn backwards so it said johnprine.com across his forehead, had been trying to hit up everybody at the bar for some pot earlier. He looked back at me, grinning, and said, “this song is about you.”

He chuckled and turned to watch Todd.

The old-timer, his task completed, spun off his seat and was out the stage door in a flash, back in the rain, aging like wine.


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