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Tift kicks off 12th Cucalorus Film Festival, Wilmington, NC, 11-8-06

So I got out my chairs and portable table, got a prime spot, put my feet up, and for the next four hours just watched the short films on the giant inflatable screen, listened to the surf-rock and this neat little comedy troupe who did live voice-over and sound effects to an old Douglas Fairbanks silent film called The Black Pirate, drank Maker's neat, and after Andie got there, went and scored some great take-out sushi for dinner.  Tift and Zeke were around most of the time, just talking to people.  I've never seen them anywhere close to that relaxed and comfortable on stage and off as last night--it was really great to see that.  I don't know if they've just gotten accustomed enough to managing themselves and gotten enough miles and gigs under their belts or what, but it was really cool.  (It wasn't just the location because I'm comparing this to other shows here and in Raleigh.)  Several of my good friends showed up shortly before the show, and so did Zach Crocker (slak12 on this fine virtual establishment) who'd made a two-hour drive to see his first Tift show and get in the TMSTFC on the same night.  It was nice to have him.  When the show started I bellied up to the stage as usual.  (Actually, at first I dragged my big ol' lounge chair with extendable footrest to the edge of the stage--hey, I've earned it.  Tift's voice was in good shape.  I have a set list but they didn't completely follow it--here are the songs in as close to the right order as I can remember:  Something To Me, My Heart Is Free, Write My Ticket, Ain't Looking Closely, U-Turn, Hopes Too High, Supposed To Make You Happy, Stray Paper, Neighborhood, Broken, Good Hearted Man, Tender Branch, Morning Is My Destination, I Am Your Tambourine (which Tift writes as "TAMBO"), Shadow In The Way, Wait It Out, Laid A Highway, Still Pretending, Got Me By, and Are You Still In Love With Me.  Of course she and Jay duetted on Suppposed and Are You.  And even though it was outside, I'm here to promise you that the second Still Pretending was over a shot of Maker's was on that stage in my personal shot glass, and she went for it like a duck on a junebug.  There's just no substitute for being down front--leaning on the stage I could feel everything as well as hear, every foot-tap as well as the amps, and could make eye contact with the band from time to time, and exchange looks and nods.  After one new song I asked Tift what the name of it was (Got Me By) and she answered me--usually you only get that kind of intimacy in a club so to get it outside was really special.  I suppose I should also gloat that when she left the stage she shook hands with one member of the audience.  After the show I got the whole band to sign my Home Is Loud, as did Zach, had another short chat with Zeke about what's going on (and he liked the fact that I had taped a TMSTFC sign with www.tiftmerritt.net on the merch table), helped off-load the stage (despite Tift's polite protests), and then we did the whole initiation ritual.  Without being asked to she signed my empty Maker's bottle (see pictures) and told me about five more times how much she loves the whole fan club thing.  Zach and I did our initiations together on the empty stage and he got some pictures of me with Tift and I got none of those so I hope he will forward them to me.  Tift said if her liver goes, we're responsible, and I said we'd be right there in the dialysis ward with her, and we could sing redneck songs.  I was teasing her to finish this big glass of whiskey that she had poured, and she protested that she hadn't eaten yet--this was about 11:30 and how she could do anything much less play a show on an empty stomach I have no idea--I'd pass out.   I said it was a good gig and she agreed and that I was glad her voice had held out and she was too.  Her best friend was waiting by the stage to go to a bar with her (she invited us but Zach had to get home and I figured I'd taken up enough of her time), and her friend was being forcibly entertained by a dancing street crazy person who just sort of rides around on his bike looking through the trash cans.  I helped Jay and Zeke load the trailer while Andie chatted with Danny and Tift introduced me to her friend who said, "oh, you're her number one fan, aren't you?" to which I replied "number one fan who isn't related to her or in love with her" and her friend said "You're not in love with her?  What's wrong with you?"  at which point my wife piped up from behind her "he's married to me."  And I pointed at Zeke and said "and she has Zeke.  Nothing weird going on here."  We chatted a little bit more and then we all shook hands and went our separate ways.  I proceeded to go home and not sleep. 

posted @ Saturday, November 18, 2006 5:58 AM by Phillip Reid

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Tift's taping policy
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Tift's taping policy:

Tift has asked us to put up the taping policy for y'all, so here 'tis:

"The taping policy is open.  No outboard gear that will interfere with any other person's enjoyment of the show, please."

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