Story 1997-02-10 Sydney, Australia

10.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Atlantic City´
´´Thank you….thanks, good evening….thank you, thanks, thanks a lot, I´ve been in, uh….oh, (?) about a week and a half now and uh….yup, been to the rain forest, seen the wallabies, had my picture taken ´neath a kangaroo crossing sign….uh, held a koala bear, that was fun, kids get a big kick out of that back home, fed a bush turkey an ice-cream cone, might´ve broken a law there, I´m not sure….and I´ve sailed around the harbor, bought quite a few of those little stuffed kangaroos, they´re very nice and uh….almost drowned at Bondi Beach….uh….got back in off that sand-bar, though, was alright and I suffered severe retinal distress at the same location (chuckles) not, uh, I´m not quite over that one yet, unfortunately (chuckles) uh, the only thing really that´s been puzzling me is I´ve been trying to figure out who´s that kid who´s around town whose picture´s on all the lightpoles, who´s been abducted by female aliens….and where are those female aliens ?….if I´m abducted, I wanna be abducted by a female alien (chuckles) but uh, my wife will be expecting me back (chuckles) welcome to the show, enjoy yourself….”

10.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Straight Time´
´´Thanks, this is a, uh….song about a fellow who gets out of prison and uh….he´s trying to find his way….back into the world….now, I´ve never been in prison but I´ve felt like it (chuckles) and I certainly tried to find my way into the world….and uh, it´s also really, I guess it´s about trying to learn how to be new, about trying to change your old ways of doing things so you can find your place….some place you can live with, that´s hard to do, I think all our old habits are how we know who we are, how we recognise ourselves, even if they´re the worst of us or the things that are gonna destroy us….so, uh….so learning how to do a little straight time is not that easy….”

10.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Highway 29´
´´This is a song about uh….insight, uh, paying the price for insight….I have done that (chuckles) this is a song about, uh, sudden insight and uh, now that is I very expensive, I always tell the folks, ´cause it only…unfortunately it only comes after you´ve fucked up very badly so that´s (chuckles) that´s when you´re given the gift of sudden insight, you see, some sort of booby or consolation prize (chuckles)….a shoesalesman, sudden insight….this is ´Highway 29´…”

10.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Point Blank´
´´(someone yells ´Thunder Road´) Oh, I ain´t gonna play that old bastard, I tell you….alright (chuckles)….”

10.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´The Wish´
´´Thank you….here´s a song that, uh….somebody requested out back the other night, it´s a song I wrote for my mother and never recorded….yeah….and the reason I never recorded it is complex because in my business, the business of rock and roll singing about your mother is ….it´s risky…that´s right….the, uh….that´s right but….cool police get right on your ass…. that´s not cool….uh….really, it´s a funny sort of thing, you can sing about screwing your mother, that´s ok in my business….that goes down real good (chuckles) uh, it´s that kind of thing I gotta deal with but uh….just singing about mom, that´s sort of reserved for country music singers and gangsta rappers (chuckles) they seem to have a free pass when it comes to that (chuckles) it´s kind of strange when you think about it becaus, I mean, the greatest rock and roll singer, of course, Elvis Presley, first thing, the first thing he ever recorded was a song to his mother…but he never released it, you see (chuckles) so, uh…..´course he may actually have always been singing about his mother, think about that (chuckles) it´s possible (chuckles) well, uh….one of the great mother-lovers of all time and uh….so anyway I´d like to, uh….sing this song for my mother, that´s right, because real men, goddammit, love their mothers, fuck the cool police ! (chuckles)….´course, I guess, also real men don´t provide disclaimers either, do they ? (chuckles) anyway (chuckles)….”

10.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Red Headed Woman´
´´Woh !….gonna move on now from mothers to another great song about a great subject, cunnilingus, that´s right….I´m not sure what the connection is but Freud, where are you ? (chuckles) and uh, I´ve kind of been out on this tour promoting cunnilingus as best as I can and uh…uh, from a distance, uh (chuckles) that´s right, I´ve been up in, uh, I´ve been up in Brisbane and Queensland and I´m, I´m happy to come down here and report that they are practising cunnilingus out there (chuckles) that´s right, I wasn´t sure, the first night when I was about to go out and I hadn´t played in Australia in a long time and I said ´Gee, you know´, I, I had an Australian friend of mine was there and I said ´I´m gonna sing a song about cunnilingus, you know, is there an Australian term for that, you know ?´ and he looked at me kind of puzzled, you know, and I said ´You know, cunnilingus, is there an Australian term for that, is there like some sort of ?´, he says ´Hmmm, they´re not gonna know what the fuck you´re talking about, mate´ (chuckles) so I, I said, I didn´t believe that, as I´ve been saying, they don´t call it ´Down Under´ for nothing, you know (chuckles) goddammit, that´s right….so, uh, I know, I guess, I have a few suggestions, now, Sydney I believe is called ´The First State´ ? I´m gonna suggest that you change the title to ´The Cunnilingus State´ if you could (chuckles) and that, uh, along with the Opera House and the harbor, I believe, that will have ´em flocking in, you know (chuckles) anyway, I could go on about this (chuckles) uh, what do we know about cunnilingus ? well, it´s not as easy as it looks, alright (chuckles) but like riding a bicycle, once you get it down, even if you change bikes, the rules remain the same ! (chuckles) alright, I think I´ll sing the song now….”

10.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Two Hearts´ (following ´Red Headed Woman´)
´´Oh, yeah….thank you, please, try that at home, alright (chuckles) I always get the urge to just break into the Macarena there towards the end (chuckles) it just comes over, I can´t stop myself (chuckles) I was telling the folks the other night, you know, it´s one of those dances where sort of when you see it, you go ´Oh, I can´t believe this´ and then at night, you know, in front of the mirror…´I´ll be right there, baby, I´m coming right in !´ (chuckles) um, tzaka, tzaka (chuckles) woh, this is for my red headed woman….”

10.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Born in the U.S.A´
´´(?)…there was this little park on the end of town, in the small town I grew up in and it was just, just this beautiful little park where the road forked….and I used to love to pass by it when we were, after being out in the day with my folks ´cause it always felt like you were home again and that was sort of how you recognised you were back in town….and all these little white crosses on….and uh, to me they were just beautiful, you know, I remember as I got older that there was something on….and I said ´Gee, Mama, what´s on those crosses ?´, you know….she said ´Well, those are the names of all….the men….who died in the wars from our town´….so….anyway, if there´s any, uh….Australian Vets out there tonight….”

10.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Dry Lightning´
´´This is a, uh….a song about men and women….uh, I was up about four a.m last night, there was a movie on, Henry the 8th and His Six Wives….yiaks….and uh….I was in the park the other day over by the Hyatt Hotel and uh, it was nice, it was a beautiful day and it seems to be a place where a lot of people go to get their picture taken after they just got married….so there´s quite a bit of photography going on of, uh….married couples and then there was a couple who obviously had been married quite a while ´cause they were, uh, standing on the edge of the harbor there and the husband would point to a boat and the woman would lift the camera to take a picture of that boat and just as she got the camera to her eye, her husband would take the camera and then take the picture….I saw him do it two or three times….it seemed like grounds for a divorce to me…..but they seemed to be getting along pretty good ….so, uh, my odyssey here is pretty, pretty simply summed up in this area, didn´t write about men and women really for about 30 years….wrote about men in cars….and I did very well with that (cheers) thank you (?) it was just by happenstance, no, no plan involved and uh, then I wrote about men in cars dreaming about women and driving by them and looking at them….and that seemed to strike a nerve also (chuckles) uh, then finally I got to men in cars with women, men and women in cars but not talking very much (chuckles) that leads me to, this is a song about one of those relationships that almost made it, didn´t quite, a lot of good stuff going, might´ve worked out if you sort of hadn´t been so busy trying to fuck it up all the time, you know (chuckles) the only thing I did find out about men and women was that, uh, with men and women, ´almost´ never counts…. so this is called ´Dry Lightning´….”

10.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Long Time Coming´
´´Thank you, thank you, this is, uh, sort of a….it´s a new song, I hadn´t written a song like this really before, this is a happy song, this song is (chuckles) and I´m a little wary of those because generally, like I say, people don´t like ´em and they don´t sell so (chuckles) but uh, but uh, this is a happy song and sometimes you gotta….dare to be happy (chuckles) but not too much (chuckles)….this is called ´Long Time Coming´….”

10.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Sinaloa Cowboys´
´´Thank you, this is, uh, this is Kevin Buell, everybody….the man… I say every night, my guitar player, my financial advisor here on the road, uh, he´s my guru, yogi teacher, uh, sexual advisor, uh, in case I get stuck there, uh….does my taxes too (?)(chuckles) we wear a lot of hats out here on the Tom Joad-tour but uh…..this is a song, the next four songs are set in South, Southwestern part of the United States and uh…..I was in Arizona about six years ago, I was in one of these little desert towns and it´s sort of, uh, I have some friends of mine and we go out and drift around for a while and uh….I was in a little motel, it was one of these little four-corner towns where there´s a grocery store, a gas-station, a motel and a bar….all the, uh, necessities for a human life to flourish (?)(chuckles) and I was laying down, uh, I was in this little motel where, you know, you can lay down at the end of your bed and if the door is open, you can reach out and touch your car (chuckles) it´s, uh, and uh….(?) these two Mexican men came in from the west, one was a young kid, (?) he was a little high, it was late at night, other one was a fellow about my age and, uh….uh, came over and started looking at our motorcycles and got talking that he had a younger brother who died in a….Southern California motorcycle accident….I always remembered….there was something in the way that he talked about his brother, he talked about him, I don´t know, we sat there for 30, 40 minutes, I guess….and I think I was just about to become a dad and you´re concerned with the safety of the world, you know, and uh, real concerned about it and you know that you don´t really have any control over it (?) so hearing somebody talk about a loss like that stayed with me for a long time….I don´t know how people put themselves back together or get the world to feel right again….after something like that….but I was writing a song about two brothers that get caught up in the Central California drug trade, Mexican gangs come up out of Mexico and hire the migrant workers in the Central Valley in California to work in the drug labs and they´re the ones that usually get busted or, or killed and uh….it was a song of two brothers and I had this fellow´s voice in my head when I was writing it so I dedicate this to, to him every night, my mysterious friend whoever, wherever he may be….this is called ´Sinaloa Cowboys´…”

10.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´The Line´
´´Thank you, this uh, the next song is set on San Diego….Mexico border and uh, what you get in Southern California is you got a lot of young guys that come out of the army and end up going to work for the border patrol, the California border patrol, it´s a confusing job….I think, uh….it´s uh, was a Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes who said that California was Mexico till 1848 so the border sits there more like a scar….and, uh, it´s been an issue that´s been so abused in the States for political purposes, you know, there´s always, there´s always been people coming across the border and risking their lives and risking freezing to death in the mountains to do jobs that nobody else wants to do for a pay that nobody else will take at the behest of American businesses and in return their kids would have the chance of a little better education and they get some medical care if they were ill but uh….anyway, this is about a young border patrolman…sort of caught in the middle and trying to figure out where that line, where that line really is….this is called ´The Line´….”

10.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Balboa Park´
´´Thank you, this is a song about kids and uh….I waited quite a while before I had any kids, I was telling the folks the other night that´s why a lot of my friends had ´em first and uh, then people try to tell you about how great that is and generally that, that just makes you sick, you know what I mean, you don´t really know (?) all you can do is feign enthusiasm, uh….then of course they have their kids and then that´s it, that´s all they talk about, they bring ´em over and endless baby pictures and detailed accounts of the first piss, the first shit, the first diaper coming along, you know….and, and, you know, then they get a little older and they bring ´em over and I lived alone for 30 years and I don´t like anybody really touching my shit, you know, so….and that´s, you know, that´s the business of children, you know, it´s to, uh….and you can´t yell at somebody else´s kid because you´ll seem like an asshole, you know (chuckles) so you gotta sit there and go (snickers quietly) you know and ´Ooh, he´s got so much energy´….´Yeah, he´s husky, a husky one, a husky one´ (chuckles) oh, man and then you have your own and you get to seek your revenge (?) ´Tear the hell out of the house´…. ´(?) the lamp, the lamp´ (chuckles)(?) you know (chuckles) people always wanna know how your life changes, you know, how your life changes most and I….I always say ´Well, kids, they got a window onto the grace that´s in the world and uh, they bring that grace, just ´cause they´re open, they bring it into your life and I think that as long as we stay in touch with some of that grace, whatever that is, whether you think of it as God´s presence or whatever you like to call it but it keeps us connected to everything, you know, our jobs and with children, that just blows through them and….and it blows into your life sort of like a bonus, you know (chuckles) and uh….I think that gets harder to hold on to on your own, you know, and as you get older, that´s why people, I always say, seek out art and films and music and engage in, uh, uh, strange, unusual sexual practises, you know (chuckles) to get that grace in their lives….but this is a song, I guess in the end it´s sort of the parents´ job ti, uh… protect that and to shepherd that, shepherd that grace, protect that grace that they may, you know, grow in it….and uh, ´cause in the end the world will do the rest, you know….so this is a song about kids that don´t really, they don´t have anybody to do that for ´em, you know, they don´t, they don´t have anybody to protect that….that for them and uh, they end up, you know, lost just like you or I would be if we were 12 or 13 or 14 and out on our own….´bout kids who come across the border through Tijuana into San Diego and end up on this strip called Twelfth Street, what happens when that grace goes unprotected….”

10.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Across the Border´
´´Thank you, thank you, I grew up in a house where there wasn´t a lot of books or talk about culture or what those things could do for you, you know, it was, everybody was pretty busy just trying to keep afloat and make a living, you know, and uh….the first thing that really had an impact on me was my mother, when I was in a grammar school, was still a young, a young gal, you know, really and she liked that rock and roll music and uh….she´d have the radio on in the kitchen every morning….and I´d, uh, come down and, uh, had my little Catholic school uniform on, you know, my tie and my little green jacket, green pants and, and I felt bad and I didn´t wanna go to school, you know (chuckles) and, uh, but we´d sit there with my sister and I´d heard for about a half-hour before I went to school, there´d be all these great records that would come, you know, through the Top 40-station…..and they were records that seemed to be filled with, with such a sense of fun and wonder and danger and sex and, uh, and silliness, uh, and after a while I started to feel like there was a message I was hearing and it said ´There´s a party going….you´re missing it, little boy….rip off those clothes and don´t go to school´ (chuckles) you know, but, uh…..and that party was actually the world outside, the world that you couldn´t imagine beyond your little town but that was there waiting, you know, and sort of those records were the first thing that gave me an idea that it existed, that a world beyond the life of my mom and dad and my friends and what I saw every day was possible, you know, and those records were shot through with possibility, you know, and uh ….that lasted me such a long time and provided such a source of inspiration and strength…. and uh, fun in my life….then I got a little older and a friend of mine showed me John Ford´s Grapes of Wrath and that sort of felt like the other side of the coin, for me, the other, other part of the puzzle in a sense that if, if you can find your way into that world, well, then what do you do, you know, what are your….uh, your responsobilities, if that´s what you wanna call ´em, you know, what is there to be done and uh….it was something in the book and the film, which really was just a story about, in the end it was a story about the way people treat one another, was a certain old-fashioned kind of heroism about the idea of risking something that you had for an idea that was bigger than you….and that not only was that worth doing but it unlocked some…..some door, I don´t know, I don´t exactly know how to explain it but it was, there was a scene at the end of the movie that sort of….that hit it on the head, you know, Tom Joad´s killed a vigilante who´s killed a friend of his and the cops are coming and he´s gonna have to leave his family….he has to tell his mother that after she´s lost home and come thousands of miles that she´s gonna lose her son now….and he steps into her cabin and he wakes her up….he touches her gently and says ´Mama, I gotta go now´ and they step out underneath these trees….and uh, it´s a beautiful dark summer night and she says ´Well, Tommy, I knew this day would come but how am I gonna know if you´re alive ? how am I gonna know….if you´re, if you´re well ? will I ever see you again ?´….and he says ´I don´t know, all I know´s I gotta go out and kick around and see what´s wrong and see if there´s anything I can do about it….and you´ll see me…..because I´ll, I´ll be in that darkness that surrounds you when you´re sleeping….and I´ll be in men´s voices when they´re yelling ´cause they´re angry, they don´t have work, you´ll hear a little bit of me there….and the way kids are laughing when they´re coming in and they know that there´s food on the table and that they´re protected, you´ll see me there, Ma´….and he disappears off into the night and uh….the next day the Joads are heading north looking for work and the father says ´What are we gonna do without Tommy ?´ and the mother says ´Well, we´re gonna keep going´….so this is a song about the things that keep people connected to one another and to themselves and how without those things, it seems like that´s how you get lost out there a little bit, how people fall back on love and faith and hope even after the world reveals itself and deals its harshest blows….and hope against reason…..”

10.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´This Hard Land´ (following ´Blinded by the Light´)
´´That´s the song that explains why I never did any of them psychedelics (chuckles) my mind was already reeling (chuckles) what the hell was I thinking about writing that song ? (chuckles) I don´t know ! (chuckles) ooh ! anyway, tonight, uh, before we came into Sydny, into Sydney, we were….uh, contacted by some people that are doing some good work here in your town, it´s the Sydney City Mission, they´ll be out in the lobby tonight, yeah…..and uh, an organization that, uh, provide a wide, a wide variety of services for the citizens in distress, homeless people, street kids, families in crisis, they provide material aid, legal assistance, uh, some job training, counselling, uh….(?) the Mission´s calling is, uh, they try to feed the hungry, they try to help (?) poverty, combat injustice and (?)…so, uh, they´ll be out there in the lobby tonight, they, you should check ´em out and learn a little bit about ´em if you like and, uh, they certainly deserve and, uh…..your support and uh, I wanna do this for the folks from the Sydney City Mission that are here tonight….”

10.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ‘There Will Never Be Any Other For Me But You’
´´(?)(chuckles)….I´ll leave you tonight with a song that´s a song about love, uh, the power of love, the mystery of love, uh, love is my message, matter of fact I´m the love man so (chuckles)….only kidding, alright (chuckles) so if anybody´s in love out there or if you´re gonna get married, anybody out there gonna get married ? no ? oh, screw it, and uh (chuckles) how about divor, any divorcees, getting divorced, yeah ? (someone yells)(?) well, I´ll do this for you then (chuckles) and uh, the mysteries, the vicissitudes, the swings, the arrows….ooh, it hurts (chuckles)….”

10.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´If I Should Fall Behind´
´´Thanks, I wanna thank everybody for coming out to the show, thank you very much, you´ve been a great audience tonight, I had a hell of a lot of fun (chuckles) thank you, thank you so much and uh….I always say thanks for giving me the room to come out here and do this like this, uh, it means a lot to me and it´s a gift that you give me and I appreciate it, thanks….here we go….(starts snapping his fingers, people start clapping their hands) let´s try the fingers, just, just the fingers, try the fingers, not the hands, the fingers….Jesus Christ!….(people start snapping their fingers) yeah, alright, here we go….”

Compiled by : Johanna Pirttijärvi

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