An Article by Johnny Cole
Photos by Stephen Anderson
For many of us, there are few things more enjoyable than a great show performed by one of our favorite bands or music artists. Often, we are fortunate enough to find ourselves at a show that will be remembered for years to come. In my many years of attending thousands of concerts and live music events around the globe, there have been a significant number of unforgettable shows featuring truly defined moments.
In 2020, live music has taken a devastating hit due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Earlier this year, The Southland Music Line’s article “Music Will Find A Way – How Live Music Has Coped with the Corona virus Crisis of 2020” detailed the prevailing situation that the music industry is facing this year. While live music and touring are being considerably cut back or postponed, we do well to reflect on some of our favorite live music highlights from previous years.
Personally, I have spent time remembering a select group of special moments experienced at some unforgettable shows. I didn’t have to look far to find such a moment. On Sunday, February 10, 2019, several friends and I met at one of our favorite music venues, Callaghan’s Irish Social Club in Mobile, Alabama’s Oakleigh Historic District, to enjoy Grayson Capps perform an outstanding show with a spectacular ensemble of top notch musicians. Capps was joined by Corky Hughes on guitar, John Milham on drums, Rufus Ducote on bass and Grayson’s own daughter, Sadie Capps, on bass for a portion of the show.
Like many of Grayson Capp’s shows at Callaghan’s, the place was packed with fans. In 2017, Grayson Capps was recognized as The Southland Music Line’s “Music Artist of the Year”. The year-end article “The Gift of Grayson Capps” was written by one of his most loyal fans, Glenda Campbell.
Top photo: Grayson Capps at Callaghan’s Irish Social Club in Mobile, AL; Above photo: Callaghan’s Irish Social Club in Mobile, AL (photo by Stephen Anderson)
One definition of the word “moment” is “a particular point in time that will be remembered forever.” There is definitely no denying that a Grayson Capps’ show is filled with many of those well defined moments. The February 10th show in 2019 was no exception and what prevailed is one of the most favorite “moments” that I have enjoyed in recent memory. This show ranked in my Top 25 shows of 2019 (out of 300+’shows attended in 2019) and featured a four song medley when rock and roll was given the driver’s seat.
As the evening progressed, Capps and the band broke into the theatrical and often requested classic, “Sweet Transvestite”, a song from the 1973 British musical stage production “The Rocky Horror Show” and its 1975 film counterpart “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. This true crowd pleaser was only the beginning of a unforgettable series of songs that I have to come to call “When Rocky Horror Met The Ramones”. Following the ride down Rocky Horror lane, the medley didn’t miss a beat even when Rufus Ducote handed the bass reigns over to Sadie Capps.
From singing the famous and notorious line, “I’m just a sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania, the journey continued on to Zimbabwe by introducing the audience to a cover of “Watch Out” by the band, Wells Fargo; a 1970’s classic protest anthem deserving of a revolution, which Capps appropriately provided with The Beatles” “Revolution”.
The final number of this non-stop medley was one that Joey Ramone and CBGB’s Hilly Kristal would have given their utmost approval – a cover of The Ramones’ 1981 single “The KKK Took My Baby Away”. Personally, it just doesn’t get much better.
These four songs matched well with Capps and the band delivering them with unbridled enthusiasm and honesty. Grayson Capps is known for his incredible original music filled with an array of colorful characters and stories, but this “moment” found a life of its own and did so within the perfect combination of covers performed by a band that knows exactly what it is doing – sharing true heartfelt passion for the music.
The moment I have come to call “When Rocky Horror Met The Ramones” can easily be added to similar moments at memorable shows that I’ve enjoyed such as Larkin Poe and The Shadowboxers taking on a sensational cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” at Terminal West in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 (the soundcheck of that song was equally as memorable) or when Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band opened their Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017 Christchurch, New Zealand show with an unforgettable “No Surrender”. Moments like these are what keep things real and alive.
What transpired on the evening of Sunday, February 10, 2019 is what they call “one for the books”. You never know if such moments can be recreated by a performer, but if anyone can do so, it would be Grayson Capps and the talented musicians that join him. Regardless, I am glad to have been there on this particular evening and to have shared it with such good friends.
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“South Front Street: A Retrospective 1997-2019” (2020)
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