SLIDESHOW: "Hot Stove, Cool Music"
It rained. Hard. Lightning
was in the forecast. And, as the Globe so sagely
put it, “electric guitars and standing water do not mix well.” But while a
baseball game cannot be moved indoors, a concert can.
So, after the Gentlemen and
the Click 5 risked shocking consequences by playing a couple quick sets
outside, the second annual Hot Stove Cool Music: The Fenway
Sessions shut it down, set up stage in the big concourse under right
field, and began anew with an intimate half-house setting.
The rain-sodden fans, who’d
paid as much as $100 a ticket didn’t seem to mind. For one thing, they were
that much closer to the beer and Fenway Franks. And, of course, it was for charity.
The only real drawbacks
were the suddenly diminished sightlines — Hey, I think I saw Kay
Hanley’s tattoo! Is that a the sheen of Terry Francona’s bald
pate? — and the torrential rain coming down between the bleachers and the
grandstand, accreting in puddles underfoot.
But the delay and
relocation also had a couple unintended consequences. American Idol songbird Ayla Brown did not perform — thanks, the
rumor went, to good ol’ Massachusetts blue laws. (Be it hereby decreed that basketball playing aspiring pop
stars under the age of 18 shall not be permitted to perform on stage
past the hour of 9 o’clock in the eventide!) And James
Taylor, after having had fun outside with a lengthy soundcheck,
played just one song when his turn came inside. (Did he not like the smallish
venue?) No matter.Sure, Howie Day happened to be a bit of a
snoozefest if you weren’t an adolescent girl, but Cowboy
Mouth soon had the crowd in the palms of their hands.
Backstage was an
interesting scene, a collision of rock and jock worlds that was amusing to
behold. Jonathan Papelbon, in
a sharp suit, fresh off the plane from the All-Star Game, obliged fans who
wanted autographs and cell-phone photos. Lenny DiNardo watched
the onstage action from behind a curtain in the corner. Gabe Kapler and his wife Lisa
sneaked outside for some alone time in the seats near the damp outfield grass.
And Red Sox chairman Tom Werner and Executive VP Charles Steinberg commingled
with the likes of the Dents’ Jen D’Angora, Fenway Recordings honcho Mark Kates, and Juliana
The unseen presence, of
course, was Peter Gammons. This
whole shebang is his baby, and he was on everyone’s minds as performer after
performer shouted out their well wishes.
By the time Buffalo
Tom took the stage with a young man named Theo Epstein augmenting
them on guitar, the night had reached an apotheosis. They tore through and
excoriating “Taillights Fade” and Neil Young’s “Powderfinger,” before being
joined by a motley crew of the night’s musicians for righteous “Rockin’ in the
It was loud enough. Gammons
must’ve heard it.
-- Mike Miliard