Cracker with Camper Van Beethoven Highline Ballroom Concert Review 1/15/10
By: Andrew Bilach
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The Traveling Apothecary Tour, headlined by Cracker with direct support from Camper Van Beethoven (CVB) played Highline Ballroom on Friday, January 15th, 2010. And before any of you ask, no, I’m not making any of this stuff up. You’ll see what I mean as you continue reading. By the way, if any of you were at the show, please go to our contact page and shoot me an email.
– The show was completely sold out. There were approximately 115 tickets available twenty-four hours before doors and the show sold out on the walk-up. Ticket prices were $22.00 in advance and $25.00 the day of the show.
– This was Cracker’s second show at Highline Ballroom in seven months. The last show was on June 25th, 2009. Johnny Hickman, the band’s guitarist and co-founder said the quick return to Highline was due to the financial offer made by the venue, coupled with scheduling. He also put over the room in an interview he conducted with our site.
– Highline Ballroom has a main floor and an upper level with tables. I arrived ten minutes before the end of CVB’s set. The venue was not letting anyone onto the main floor, saying it was at capacity. There were people that had left the main floor earlier that were trying to get back in, but were turned away. Needless to say, people started flipping out. So, you’d assume there was a monster at the door to enforce this, right? 6’4″? A solid 300? Looks like he’s straight out of a maximum security prison? Nope. They put a 5’10” white guy, wearing a trendy top hat complete with feather (no, I’m not making this up) to enforce the policy. Comical. After CVB’s set, the Winnie the Pooh-esque guy (he looked like a human Pooh) at the door permitted people on the line to enter as those on the main floor filtered out to smoke. So, if you’re headed to Highline and you know the show is sold out, make plans to never leave the main floor.
– The Cracker merchandise table was non-existent. I’m not saying bands should become hardcore salesmen, but at the end of the show, no one was at their merch table. And when I say that, I mean no one was working it. They had a couple of shirts for sale, a bunch of CD’s, and no one there to facilitate any of the sales. Very strange. Ten people were there looking to spend. No one to sell.
– I’m not a CVB fan, despite being a huge David Lowery fan. Go figure.
– In comparing this show to the one in June, I have to say the latter was better. I enjoyed the song selection a lot more. The band sounded great at both shows.
– Cracker has a following that most bands would die for, whether you believe it or not. They don’t have fans. They have fanatics. There was one guy who had to be in his late 40’s screaming Johnny’s name throughout the set. “Johnny! Johnny!” The guy looked like he could do my taxes and he’s jumping up and down like a complete moron. Let’s be honest, good for him for showing enthusiasm and not caring. But, he looked ridiculous. There were several middle-aged guys going absolutely bananas. You had to see it. There are no words.
– Also, the fans of this band travel. I’m a New Yorker. I’m an animal. I hate everyone. I know my kind. Half the people at the show were not from the City. Trust me. Again, this is another testament to their strong following.
– I’m coming to grips with the fact that I will never hear the band play “Useless Stuff” live. Instead, they played “Merry Christmas Emily” which should be retired and never played again.
– All the hits were played with the exceptions of “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out and “Get Off This.” By the way, Timothy Leary is the man and you should all do your research on him. Quality stuff.
– I hated the end of the show. The ten minute instrumental was a huge waste of time. Sure, it probably made some of the fans happy, but Cracker could have played three more songs.
Let’s call a spade a spade. Cracker is an awesome band. Johnny’s melodies and David’s knack for songwriting are impeccable. All Knowing Force will ALWAYS promote Cracker. I will ALWAYS go see Cracker when they’re in town. Oh, they’re back in, I believe, May, as direct support to Reverend Horton Heat. Johnny Hickman was a true gentleman while doing our show (check it out here), and I have nothing but respect for him. After all, his music has been in my ears since I was 13 years old, and if Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey is their best album – nearly 20 years into their recording career. Amazing.