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Charlie Robison
April 17, 2001
At The Cactus Music
Houston, TX

by Samuel Barker
April 18, 2001

Having just seen Charlie Robison in the dim lit Satellite Lounge, I was especially excited to see him in the at Cactus Music where you could actually see him perform and get a chance to have a few words with the man. As always, Cactus Music was putting on a great instore performance for it's many patrons.

Charlie went on a few minutes late, but no one seemed to mind. Everyone was really excited to partake in such an intimate show from one of Texas' best musicians. Instead of playing a few hand picked songs and heading out the door, Charlie told everyone to request whatever songs they wanted to hear. This led to the yells of certain staples such as "Hometown" and "Barlight," but Charlie told everyone to pick something off his new album to begin with, so I yelled out "John O'reilly" which is my favorite song off of Step Right Up.

Well, as luck would have it, Charlie began playing "John O'reilly." It was awesome to hear this song from Charlie solo. It was just nice to attend a performance by Charlie where he played accoustic and sang all by himself. It let you see the origins of a lot of these songs.

The next song requested was "Life Of The Party," in which Charlie says all sorts of "dirty words" without ever actually saying them. It was a great song that led to him telling stories about who each verse of the song was about. It was funny to see.

The final song Charlie played off of the new album was "Desperate Times." He went into great detail about how a friend of his from school moved off and how he saw him on Hard Copy one night after he was arrested for robbing a bank in San Antonio where he was a police officer. Charlie seemed supportive of his friend by saying "It was nice to see someone else make it out of Bandera."

After filtering through many songs, everyone finally decided on "Indianola". This is a family tree of sorts involving Charlie's family. It's a song that chronicles 150 years of his family's life in Texas, especially Indianola, TX. It was a great sing-a-long for everyone there. I really thought it was a great moment for everyone who came to the show.

Without resting a lick, Charlie went into "Hometown." This had everyone singing along and hollering to the music. It was a lot of fun to be there and see everyone getting into the vibe. Charlie was smiling and you knew he totally loved what was happening.

As soon as "Hometown" was done, Charlie went into "Barlight" which would be the last song of the set. Everyone kept with the flow and sang that entire song as well. It was fun to watch as everyone wound down the first few songs then got into the set by the end. I can honestly say that everyone there, including Charlie, had a lot of fun.

The evening ended with Charlie signing autographs for everyone and saying "Hi!" It was a great experience and goes to show what a great idea small instore sets are. Thanks to Cactus and Charlie Robison for putting on a great performance.

Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at suma@rockzone.com.

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