Monday, May 17, 2010

Taking A Break From All Your Worries

If this sounds like a love letter to Joe's Pub, then so be it.

I hadn't planned to stop by the Pub Friday night, so I didn't have any pens or paper with me, but Arati and Caro were only in town for the weekend and Bernie and Laura wanted them to see the place. So, finding ourselves in the neighborhood, we slipped in for a quick visit, just to show the folks from out of town where we spend so much time.

And that's where we encountered PJ Morton and the people who love him.

We took our place up in the booth just about the time his first set was ending, so we were there at Last Song and Encore Time--a song called, "I Need You" which echoed the build of Prince's Purple Rain until switching gears seamlessly into a sing-along cover of the Theme from Cheers which in turn became an impromptu gospel workout.

I borrowed a ball point pen from Kevin and started drawing on the back of an equipment-inventory sheet.

A few days earlier I had asked Sara and Alex what was coming up soon on the Pub calendar that was an absolute Do-Not-Miss. They both rolled their eyes, sighed and complained that everyone always wants to know that and that there's so much potential for amazing every night, there's so much that they look forward to booking and sharing, that it all sort of blends together. They didn't mention PJ Morton, but he was exactly the sort of thing they weren't talking about.

Alex and Sara have what we call "Good Problems."

Bernie, Laura, Caro, Arati and I had intended to stay just for the last couple of songs, but we remained where we stood (and Lauren joined us) for Morton's late show. It would have been impossible to leave, to step out on a show that built to that type of finish. The crowd was testifying and texting, singing along and sending pictures to people who were missing it.

"I want you to know my name!" declared PJ Morton as he worked his way from I Need You into the Cheers theme for the second-set crowd.

A choir that had been a crowd responded in song.

I'll tell you what.

PJ Morton played a set so good at Joe's Pub, he made me use a ball point pen.


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