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Mike Keneally's Guest Host Hall Of Fame

Mike Wofford

The Galaxy
St. Louis, MO
May 16, 2001

Living midway between Chicago and St. Louis, I'm in no prime position to provide the level of Guest Host services that Mike/BFD deserve. Still, when I saw that on the day prior to the show they still had no official Guest Host, I e-mailed Scott to ask if there was anything I could do to make their jaunt to the Galaxy more tolerable. Scott fired back that if I showed up for load-in he'd assure me a spot in Dancing tour history. My girl (the lovely Marcy) and I arrived at the venue about an hour before the MK/BFD entourage arrived, armed with two rather cheaply-constructed (as would become apparent to certain members of the band who witnessed the suicide of a pristine bottle of Absolut Citron later that afternoon) coolers full of both rehydrating and dehydrating liquids. 'Twasn't long before Mike, BFD, and crew arrived, and after saying hello to everyone we were able to gain access to the innards of the Galaxy--which, at three or so p.m. on a 100-degree in the midwest appeared to be a dark black sweaty pit.

While all milled about as Thomas prepped the van for the load-in, I chatted a bit with another raving MK/BFD fan, Zach (formerly of Bumtown) and his friend/initiate. I attempted to help as much as possible, given the relative ease with which I'd slid into the official GH spot, and tried to avoid touching anything while Thomas was watching.

After load-in and cheese-covered meals at a diner 'round the corner, we returned to the venue. Project/Object w/Ike Willis was also on the bill for the evening, and their entourage began to funnel in as MK/BFD soundchecked. I had the great gushing pleasure to be able to meet and talk with Ike for some time before the show. Ike mentioned to me at one point that he'd sure like to have a beer, but the venue wouldn't serve anyone until 7:00. I said, "Hey! I know where you can get a beer," and led him downstairs to the coolers--thinking to myself,"I'm. Getting. A. Beer. For. Ike. Willis."--one of my high points of the evening. What a gentleman, and his love for FZ and the entire Zappa experience is evident in everything he says (and plays).

The only demand on me as GH was from Stacey, whose merch station light bulb had burned out. I asked one member of the bar staff about procuring a replacement, either from the venue or from a local store, and he suggested that it would be most wise if I were to wait until the streets were again lit by the sun before venturing out into the neighborhood. Another staff member told me that "they were looking into it." Sometime after MK/BFD hit the stage, I turned to see a lamp burning brightly at Stacey's table (so yay to whoever gave her the bulb). Said light bulb would suffer an untimely demise not too soon after the end of the show, due to a collision with an overzealous merch peruser (who shall remain nameless).

Ah...the show. During two mumbled introductions by me (one with mic off, one with mic on), the band took to the stage. Better details of the show exist than I could provide (Zach posted his review on 'Tal's website), as I'm always too anxious to write down a setlist. The show was amazing, despite what appeared to be an initial lack of interest on behalf of a good portion of the crowd. As always happens, though, by the end of the set there was a large room full of MK/BFD fans where earlier there had been a crowd of hard-to-impress, nervous regulars. Mike--well what can you say about him that do his abilities any justice at all? Just when you think you're satisfied with seeing a previous tour or hearing a previous album, he continues to improve and amaze you even more. The addition of Rick, Nick, Trisha, and Evan to the touring band was such a perfect thing to do. "Kedgeree" was performed, and my life was complete.

Ike and P/O took the stage for two sets: the first Mike-less; the second with Mike (four guitarists!). I'd never seen Project/Object before, and was very, very impressed with what I saw. To see Mike and Ike (sorry) playing my FZ faves together was a little heartbreaking ("Outside Now" especially so). Seeing Marc Z.'s euphoric expressions as he watched the P/O sets (which lasted beyond 2:00am) was another great part of the evening for me.

I should mention that (thankfully) by the time the band went onstage, the A/C had cooled the room to a comfortable, more life-supporting level. The Galaxy's staff was rather polite and helpful, overall--though it was obvious to me (at least) that this music was not what they were used to hearing through their sound system (luckily, or unluckily depending on personal preference, the MK/BFD date did not coincide with S&M Night). No one was murdered outside the club, which was both a surprise and a relief for some of us.

After saying 'bye to the band and sleeping off a pounding hangover until 11a.m., I and my trusted Suzuki Bandit 400 ventured the next day to Martyr's in Chicago, where I was treated to a (somehow) even more wonderful show--but that's Christine's story.

Thanks to MK/BFD, Scott, Thomas, Dennis, and Stacey for letting me be a part of this once again. Come back! I miss you guys already!

--Mike Wofford

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Mike Keneally's Guest Host Hall Of Fame

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