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John Doe at Vacation Vinyl: Monday, August 29th, 2011

A rare humanity transpires from John Doe, he also appears quite humble as he is still amazed that people come to see him play a free in-store on a Monday night,… ‘It's weird to play during daylight’, he said after having thanked everybody to be there, ‘Otherwise it would have been just me, Cindy and George (the store employee), and we would have gone home’.

Cindy is Cindy Wasserman from the band Dead Rock West, who sings on a couple of songs on Doe's new album; she was helping on vocals during the whole performance, harmonizing with him as he used to do with X‘s Excene Cervenka, and you could definitively recognize the peculiar tonality in the harmonies that made X signature.

They were performing an acoustic show at Vacation Vinyl for the release of Doe’s new album, 'Keeper', on August 30th, and during his set of old and new songs, he talked a lot, but not too much, but just enough to engage the public into his life, just enough to make a connection with us.

He told us stories about his horrible neighbor he had in San Francisco, who was only dating offenders, married a couple of them and was also an air traffic controller! He told us how country life and vegetable canning is good and totally recommendable! In a few minutes you got a picture of the man who has just released ‘his positive record’ as he said it himself.

His new record and eighth solo album is indeed full of love songs for his wife, his sweetheart as one of his songs is called, and for his daughters,… songs we could use for the same usage as he suggested. He introduced the folk and serene ballad ‘Little Tiger’ as a song about a kid (his), or his sweetheart, or an animal, ‘Sweetheart’ as a song for people who are in prison in their heads and are getting out of it, and before singing  ‘Never enough’, he talked about his adventures into reality TV, saying how pathetic ‘Storage wars’ was, and how depressing ‘Boarders’ was (he should talk with Aimee Mann who was also ‘obsessing’ about this show last time I saw her), but the lyrics of the song say it all: ‘You got a closet full of junk. You got a room fill of junk. You got a house full of junk, and a room full of junk, and a closet full of junk, but it's never enough. No it's never enough’

He played an X song, ‘Burning the House of Love’, took a few requests ‘Twin Brother’, which ‘was a bummer’, and ‘Case of You’ for which he switched to electric guitar, pumping up the folk ballads, and always finding the right place between loud rock 'n' roll and country music.

John Doe didn’t seem to struggle anymore to be a happy man, and nothing could be more straightforward than his song entitled ‘Don’t forget how much I love you’, in which he seemed to paint pictures of a happy life filled with summer memories. But this does not mean the music was quiet and dull, there still were lots of rhythms and passion in the riffs of the X’s frontman.

Setlist
The Golden State
Burning the House of Love
Don’t forget how much I love you
Little Tiger
Twin Brother
It changes everything (?)
Sweetheart
Case of You
Never enough
Giant Step Backward

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