San Francisco, CA - July 9, 2001
(photos submitted by Sperry)
1. She Goes To Bed
2. I Live
5. His Train
6. Very Best Years
7. She's Not the Enemy
8. Wicked Annabella
9. Johnsburg, Illinois
10. Miracle Medicine
11. The Plan
12. Song For Her
13. Beyond Belief (Elvis Costello cover)
14. The Hard Way
15. Miss Understanding
Eileen Murray says: "I was able to go to Amoeba's in SF for the show yesterday. There was between 100 and 150 people. I even took a friend who'd never heard of him and now she's one of the converted! It was all acoutic, and he was taking requests only."
Susan M. says: "My daughter and I made a point to catch his free acoustic set 6-7p, 2 hours before the Air show. As we exited a cab 15 minutes before the set, Jason casually strode into Amoeba right off the sidewalk in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood unrecognized, in his signature, short, worn, rust-colored leather jacket, a black NASA t-shirt and faded black cords....beat-up guitar case in hand. No fanfare...walked up to the info desk and asked politely where he should set up. Our jaws dropped a little because, he (one of our pop heroes!) seemed like just another shop patron walkin' in the door...and wasn't as tall or lanky as we'd imagined. So unimposing.
About 50-60 very attentive fans gathered in the aisles, between the bins and on a staircase, near the elevated, casual, narrow makeshift stage. (He said he was roasting in the heat of the stage...felt like he "was over a sauna"...slipping off his jacket midway through the set.) He was very appreciative of those who turned up to see him...revealed he likes these casual, intimate acoustic things more than the big shows.
In the next hour, he amiably took requests... apologetically, good-humoredly refusing a few because he didn't think he would do some tunes justice with only his acoustic. He thought the sound equipment made him sound like he had a headcold... inquiring for a little reassurance that he was sounding like himself.
He effortlessly and beautifully played a BUNCH of music in that very short time...I didn't write the setlist down (others can fill in where I miss)...but I recall..."I Live", "Eloquence", "Honey", "His Train", "The Plan", "She Goes to Bed", "Miracle Medicine", "Miss Understanding", "Very Best Years", "She's Not the Enemy"; he did the covers "Wicked Annibella" (R. Davies), "Johnsberg, Illinois" (T. Waits), and a track off Costello's _Imperial Bedroom_ (done *just right* with the irregular rhythm and punky cheekiness of the tune...the title of which escapes me right now...and I can't find my copy of IB to tell you.) Wow....he sounded as wonderful as his studio versions...singing, making those little additional vocal or percussive noises that color the songs...bantering quietly, friendly between the tunes..a bit self-deprecating. He charmed the socks off all of us, with his mastery, vocal range, ease, niceness and boyish smiles. Seemed like an old friend up there playin' some tunes for us.
He played one more tune than he thought he should time-permitting and then unhurriedly signed autographs and shook folks' hands....while we scooted on our way to find a good spot in the GA at the Warfield...
I'd only heard bits and pieces of Air's music... so I didn't know what to really expect of the band live. What I didn't expect was that Jason would be front and center and be such a *featured* member of the band. In my opinion, his capable, quick handling of the bass during the whole show and his fabulous voice lending itself to the harmonies tied the whole show together. Another musician with as much talent but a bigger ego would have probably showboated more....but, as it was, Jason was a predominant, electrifying force in the show, captivating the sold-out audience (I didn't realize that Air was so popular....especially with the male population...) In addition to his repetitive throbbing, urgent bass tones on the tracks and ethereal harmonizing, he was the only member of the band to solo in the short 80 minute set...stepping into the spotlight with an acoustic to cover "High School Lover" from the _Virgin Suicides_ soundtrack. He was pretty amazing and blew the audience away with this less electronic treatment of the tune...showcasing his flexible instrumental and vocal abilities even more. (Quite a few were scratching their heads..." OMG... woah...Who IS this guy??") As much as it's been implied that he isn't really in his element playing with Air...he did give 100 percent in the performance, hopped around, smiling broadly, seeming to enjoy the time spent on stage....looking more like a larger than life rock star than in his acoustic set. He looked genuinely overwhelmed by the audience appreciation to his playing. We thought he stole the show... :-) "
Sperry says: "Jason told some really cute between song stories. One, was not so
much a 'story' per se as just commenting on how annoyed he was with a big mosquito bite he'd gotten
the night before when they (AIR et al) camped out coming back from Oregon into CA. (My boyfriend and I
are originally from Texas where mosquitoes the size of pigeons regularly feasted on us; so it wasn't that I
didn't have sympathy but I thought it was really cute that he was very disturbed by this one little bite on
"Later in the set, he told of an episode some time ago which involved him getting his arm tangled in the cord
of some window blinds and winding up with a really unpleasant rope burn right in on the inside of his
elbow. Later that day he got a massage and the person giving the massage made note of the strange marks on
the inside of his arm there. I think he said he started to explain but realized that the truth sounded
far less believable than what this person must have been imagining. Then he looked up at the crowd with a
confused expression on his face and said something like, 'I don't know why I just told you guys that.'
Very endearing! :o) "
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