In the seats: Bravo for ‘Bonedale
June 4, 2011
CARBONDALE – On Sunday night, grand-opening night for the PAC3 venue in Carbondale, I assumed it would be the local concertgoers who would push the event over the top. Even in a music-loving valley, Carbondalians stand out for their enthusiasm; there are nights at the Wheeler Opera House where I expect to walk outside and see a line of tour buses with “Carbondale” in lights above the windshield, the place is so obviously full of ‘Bonedalians. So if the PAC3 were not quite finished in every detail for opening night (I had been there 10 days earlier, and it wasn’t even close), and if the sound were not dialed in (I had serious doubts), I figured the crowd would or overlook excuse the mistakes and revel in the glory of the new space.
No question, Carbondale did its share, buying every available ticket for the Cockburn show. (For good measure, they also snapped up every seat for the next night’s show, by MarchForth Marching Band.) Still, the enthusiasm Sunday night seemed overshadowed by a sense of awe: this place was the real thing, no excuses necessary. For the seated concert, the 360-seat venue (capacity will be 540 for non-seated events) felt sort of like a nightclub, sort of like an alternative theater, (and nothing like the school gymnasium it used to be). It was very Carbondale.
And the sound for Cockburn’s trio – Cockburn on a variety of guitars, Jenny Scheinman on fiddle, Gary Craig on drums – was perfect, and I do mean perfect. I sat up front, I stood in back, I wandered to the sides, I questioned other listeners. Clear as a bell everywhere, not a glitch all night. How that happened, I’m not sure. I’ve heard of guitarists making deals with the devil to achieve extraordinary musical prowess – but concert promoters?
Carbondale has proved itself deserving of a theater all its own (something to complement the sweet but small Steve’s Guitars). PAC3 seems to be the venue they deserve.
(P.S. Cockburn did his share, too, with a set of instrumentals and politically edged songs that hit no low points.)