Sunday, September 3, 2023

Dayton, Ohio provides a playground for Guided by Voices fans from all over the world

The back half of my Guided By Voices 40th anniversary celebration in Dayton began Saturday with a bite of Old Scratch Pizza and a drive to Island MetroPark, site of the bandshell where GBV leader Robert Pollard’s dancing and high-kicks made it into their videos. Many GBV fans, who had descended on this Ohio city from all corners of the globe, spent the day hanging out in the park with their fellow diehards.

Next up was the Dayton Walk of Fame, which now features a Guided by Voices plaque. GBV fans were also milling about this area, which is located on the same street in West Dayton where Wilbur and Orville Wright built, in their bike shop, their first plane.

East 5th Street is another happening neighborhood of Dayton, with Omega Records, good coffee and food, and shopping. But then it was time to go back to the hotel to relax for a bit before night two of the concerts.

As much as I had heard opening band Wednesday would be good, I had no interest in seeing Heartless Bastards, so we opted to arrive just as Built to Spill was set to take the stage. The highlight of the band’s set was closer Carry the Show from Keep It Like a Secret. Although the powerful female rhythm section and guitar maestro Doug Martsch didn’t play my favorite song of theirs, Kicked It In the Sun, at least they offered two tunes off that classic album, Perfect From Now On - I Would Hurt a Fly and Stop the Show.

We had enjoyed the floor near the stage and also sat in amazing seats on Friday, but security finally got the memo and that was not happening on Saturday. So we sat in our actual assigned seats for the whole show, up in the balcony, but the great news was that the imperfect sound of the night before had been adjusted for the better, and our seats were pretty great even if they were a little higher up.

Even better news was that GBV took the stage at 10:45 and were much more energetic than they had been the night before. Further, they kicked out an even-better, but still 38 song, set. Dance of Gurus, A Salty Salute, and The Rally Boys was an electric way to start the show. So many other highlights dotted the rest of the night. Scoots and I determined they played nine songs on both Friday and Saturday, but of the rest of the Saturday-only tunes, memorable moments included Twilight Campfighter, Yours to Keep, Echoes Myron, Choking Tara, and closer Don’t Stop Now.

Scoots and I get back to the hotel late night, fortunately woke up in time to get some hotel biscuits n gravy and eggs, and headed out to make my return flight from Indianapolis to Baltimore.

A very successful Labor Day ‘23 weekend with one of my oldest buddies and Bob Pollard and the gang. Thank you Dayton.

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