Reverend Tor Band 10th Anniversary Show, La Cocina, Pittsfield, MA- 2/18
When you sit back and truly think about which band turned you onto the music, who do you think of? When you think about the music scene that you have grown to love, which band created your awareness of it? As I sit back and remember my musical history, it makes me realize how many years I spent listening to such absolute crap. There were a few diamonds in the rough, but not too many. Not until I was turned onto this tiny jam band’ scene. Little did I know that this scene would end up being the music scene that I would end up adding on as a permanent fixture to my life.
It all started when I thought I was just going on a camping trip with some friends. I wasn’t aware of it, but there were a few bands playing that would end up changing my life forever. One of the performing bands ended up being the Rev Tor Band (RTB), original lineup! I think that was on Memorial Day weekend, 9 years ago. Since then I’ve worked with, for and collaborated with some of this initial talent that turned me on way back when.
The Rev Tor Band is a staple in this area, so I’ve managed to catch several times a year, over the years. Everyone has heard of Tor and every other local musician seems knows him. If you’ve seen him a half dozen times or more then you’ve surely seen him with a special guest or two. He’s just that guy that has fun on stage with everyone. It really didn’t surprise me when I saw the ad for his up and coming 10th Anniversary show.
“10 years, 907 shows, 12 drummers, 7 bass players, 4 keyboardists, 3 guitarists, & 1 Rev Tor later” I knew that it was going to be a night full of excitement and memories. I hadn’t specifically gone out to see Tor in such a long time that I knew that this show would perfectly mark my dehibernation. Not only that, but there was a buffet. I’m a huge fan of free food!
As I was approaching LaCocina, the venue that started it all off for him 10 years ago, I could hear that the band had already taken the stage. I was a little disappointed, but it was only 8.30pm and there was a whole lotta night coming up. Tor also had a huge surprise in store for all of us
I walked upstairs into The Rev Tor Band’s initial lineup. Original members Tor Krautter, Rick Leab on drums, Jason Webster (Arlo Guthrie) on 2nd guitar, and Dan Broad (Albert Cummings) on bass. Also sitting in was Dave Vittone on the keys. Adding keys into that mix put the music over the top. As Dave was getting off the keys one of Tor’s staple tunes, In Search of Ecstasy, was floated in. The goose bumps rose at that point. That was also the moment that I knew that this was the beginning of a long night.
Tor’s special guests included guys from the Mark Paradis band, Flipper Dave, Fuzz from Deep Banana was thereplenty of the people that had played with him over the years. I wasn’t certain what was going on, but it looked like the set-list resembled a choreographed dance amongst the musicians. So much talent, so many years!
I was thinking that a finer part of the evening was the diversity amongst the musicians. You could see that they all had something in common, but you could hear their subtle differences. The feel of the music reminded me of a rollercoaster; faster, slower, mellow, intense For example, when Mike Bassiliere hopped on the kit, he added flair to a version of Their World’ that I had never heard before. As Dan Esko slapped the bass you realized the young talent that Tor was able to dig up over the years. When Tor and Webby screamed dueling guitars on Get Your Own Road’ you remembered why you fell in love. The crowd second that notion.
From the moment that I walked in until minutes before 2am, the dance floor was packed with some raging fans and one hardcore Tor. Amazingly, Tor managed to stay on stage for the entire 5 hour stint. I think that Phish NYE was the last time that I heard of a set running that long.
I don’t recall ever watching a show that functioned quite like this one, but I thought that it was one of the best ideas in a long time. I guess when you think about it, maybe a sixth of the crowd was actually playing in the band as well. Imagine that, musicians getting down to other musicians. There wasn’t any room for egotism this night.
For the first time in a long time I felt a very strong bond between band and crowd. In my opinion, this is exactly the feeling that makes you want to come back to a show. Tor and his consortium have always done a fine job of remembering the fans and here they were. A 10 year collection!
If the opportunity arises, would I go? Most certainly! The RTB does plenty of shows in the Western, MA and its surrounding areas. They also manage to hit all of the small and comfortable venues in the area. You never have to worry about going alone to a show. Their intimate occasions make all in attendance feel like family.
I’ve also seen Tor, on multiple occasions, announce that he’s there to drive anyone home that may have had one too many. How’s that for an upstanding citizen?