Presenting the denouement of "More Ways to Run Yourself Ragged in SoCal, The Continuing Series"--for now!
Paul F. Tompkins, Largo, May 3, 2008: The list is long and a mountain of evidence has accumulated, but here's another example of how you know you've found your people: Although your weekend plans already include a major gig, you hatch a plot to drive to San Diego for an early concert, then book it back to Los Angeles for a later show. And no one bats an eye. This is where I belong.
I don't really have time for people bemoaning they never made it to Largo, but I'm guilty of a similar offense, having never attended any of Paul F. Tompkins's shows at the club. You know, they used to be on a Monday, then they didn't happen for a while, and I got to see him with other artists, and I live in San Francisco, and I have a job ... blah blah blah. Good thing, then, that we got in under the wire for his last show at Largo on Fairfax.
Actually, "under the wire" might be debatable as he had already revved up the revue for a packed house by the time we arrived, but we slipped in regardless to plant ourselves at his feet. Of all the vantages I've taken in a show at Largo, it was my first time in this particular spot. It wasn't particularly cozy, but aside from one small joke Paul made at our expense, we escaped otherwise unscathed--a triumph at any comedy show!
This is a concert blog, so I'll cover the music portion of the evening. Though Paul was accompanied by a three-piece band, we didn't see much of them at first because Sean and Sara Watkins hit the boards instead. They played a Dylan song, per Flanny's suggestion. Soon after, the whole gang (Jon, Benmont, Fiona, the Watkins, PFT's band) crashed the stage for Paul's rendition of an old tune from Sesame Street, "Inchworm," that apparently went down in flames, because/in spite of the crowd's attempt to sing along.
The collective, in fact, didn't have to do too much, as they settled on a composition that Fiona had written just for Largo. I'm not a fan of Fiona, but the work was, by all measures, a delight, namechecking several staffers, as well as the musicians gathered beside her, though Paul alerted us to the one glaring omission: himself! He recovered long enough to belt out the Old 97s "Niteclub" with Sean and Sara.
He closed the show with a long list of all the great things awaiting us at Largo at the Coronet, including the promise of gelato (!), but mainly the fact that all the artists were incredibly excited about the space and that enthusiasm could only make for better shows. The final song of the night was "Danny Boy," featuring Paul on vocals and Eban Schletter on piano.
Paul had called Jon Brion's gig the night before the "wake" for Largo, which made his show the "baby shower." But the finality of the night (no doubt combined with the exhaustion and hunger hitting us) felt more acute, as I realized this would be the last time I walked through those doors. Though I fall somewhat shy of the dozen-year mark of some Largo regulars, I've enjoyed an incomparable decade of shows at the old club.
See you on LaCienega.
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