God Street Wednesday: Luke’s Take

They pretty much stuck to things they knew well – chicks, gambling and getting wasted – and as a college student in the Northeast, those were three of the most important things in my life at the time. Songs like Molly, Wendy, Hammer & Spike and Drive West spoke to successes and frustrations with women. Songs like Borderline, Nightengale and Thirsty certainly embraced the good times while staples like Mile by Mile and Snake Eyes referenced games of chance and taking risks in general. Soldiers and war is another topic that seemed to show up a lot in their music. Into the Sea, Run to You and The Ballroom all fall into that category.

[Photo by Charlie Watts]

Whatever GSW was singing about, they were putting their all into it and demonstrated as much in concert. Always energetic, especially when Tomo was behind the drum kit and feeling it.

One of my favorite GSW memories was May 20, 1995. I spent the day in Pimlico, Maryland – outside of Baltimore – taking in the running of the Preakness Stakes horse race. After Timber Country had smoked the field to win the last race of the day, we headed back to Newark, Delaware for a little GSW style entertainment. We paid a paltry $4 (which was cheap as hell even then) and walked into the Stone Balloon – the local dive concert venue – to cap a great day.

Little did I know at the time, but it was Lo Faber’s bithday and the band was about to rip it for over two hours without stopping. They also did some experimenting that night with each member of the band starting a jam coming out of one song that would eventually just slip into the next song. The Stone Balloon was as dingy as it came with its concrete walls, ill-placed poles and disgraceful bathrooms but the one thing it did over was the chance to be right on top of the action. The band stood no further than five feet away from me as they ripped through most of my favorites that night. I remembering hearing When She Go for the first time that evening and it haunted me for days until I finally tracked it down on that great 1994 Penn State show that ciruclated (and continues to circulate).

While Phish may have been the band that eventually captured my heart and soul, God Street brought nothing but fun to the table for me. After some digging, I was able to find a setlist for that night back in 1995 at the seedy Stone Balloon. It brings back so many great memories, just like any time I hear God Street Wine mentioned.

May 20, 1995
Stone Balloon
Newark, DE

Hellfire> Better Than You> When She Go> Imogene> Cheap Utah Blues>
Epiphany> Mile by Mile> 6:15> Snake Eyes> Westchester Women>
Twitchin’> Bring Back the News> The Ballroom> Crossroads tease> Get on
the Train Encore: Girl From Imponema, I Walk the Line, Princess

This week’s featured download is from the legendary Fort Ram in Ft. Collins, Colorado. GSW played a number of classics during this two-hour set from April 2, 1994 including a majestic Bring Back The News opener…

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6 Responses

  1. I went to pick up my friend to go see GSW at The Bayou in DC. He came out of his house yelling “They’ve got OJ on the run!”

  2. I saw a ton of shows at The Bayou back in the mid ’90’s. Too bad that place was leveled and turned into a movie theater. I caught Gibb Droll Band, Agents of Good Roots, Foxtrot Zulu, Guster, moe…the list goes on. Never caught God Street there…but saw GSW many, many times. They were my favorites after Phish for a time there, no doubt.

    By the way, keep up the great work Scotty and Jeff!!

    TheWeight (which is slow due to recession!)

  3. Gotta love GSW as a fledgling college student at Univ of Delaware in 89-94 I enjoyed many a nite watching GSW tear it up at ther Deer Park. Lo and the boys were the best and are truly a seminal group in the history of 90’s jamband mania

  4. I live in Newark and saw many a GSW show at the Balloon. That place was a dump but we always saw great shows there (also saw The Band, Warren Zevon and P-Funk there). Alas, they tore it down and there are some ugly condos there now. I guarantee the black muck from the dance floor is still there, eating away at the foundations of the new building.

    Before GSW got big, I remember going down to W.T. Smithers in Dover to see them, around ’91 or so…that’s where I bought my cassette copy of “Live at the 712 Club”…good times…

  5. We were watching that chase from someplace upstairs near the sound or light booth at the Bayou. I’ll get more shows up eventually. Just backlogged.

  6. yup…we were up on the balcony near the light console…i was trying to watch some of the knicks / rockets…game 5 of the finals…..then came oj.

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