I was there back in May 2004 when Mike first played solo, but this was a different Clem. Sure, he was turning 40, but he put out his own CD, and now he’s had at least one epic stage show. He was a little uneasy at the start, but 2 hours and 15 minutes later now we know he can hold his own. Jammin’ Java may never be the same (and it was sold out, possibly oversold)
Yes, for those of you who skipped to the end, “Redneck Woman” was a cover of the Gretchen Wilson song, and was a nice way to start off the show, followed by a nice rendition of “Fifth Of July”. “Sheila” he’d played before, but “Blue State Girl” was new, and a classic Clem funny one. Another nice classic, “The Ghosts Of St. Georges Drive” wasn’t a surprise to those at soundcheck (no, not me, didn’t get there ’til 7). Then followed a bunch of new songs. I think Daniel Brindley & Eddie Hartness just joined him for “Boxes”, but there might have been one more. I’m particularly fond of “I.S.O.”, and “Virgil’s Refund” has a nice singalong.
“Another Damn Wedding” was a new one that’s not on the CD (I think that’s the title), but it’s also a funny one. “Run To The Lord” had the best intro, as Mike’s now helping out a Sunday school teacher and has decided to scare the kids with the devil. The backing vocals from this up and coming local band was quite nice as well. “Joseph Was A Carpenter” is a Clem original from 1999 that I just saved a copy of this year featuring Julie on vox (info; listen – and check out “The Night Before Christmas” as well).
“Atlantic” and another two off the CD closed off the set, which was already closing in on 2 hours. He came out for the first encore and told a sweet story about how he wrote the song for his new lady love as a Christmas Present (I think he said “Julianne”, but I could be wrong). “The Bird” was a good way to end (his birthday was that day), but we weren’t ready to let him go. He was presented with a big birthday cake (looked like a picture of him on it), then said he was out of material, so invited the band back up. They went with the classic closer,” Old Dominion”, and generated Mike’s third standing o of the night.
Great show, the CD is good, and now I’m pumped for the Birchmere show next Saturday.