As David Shapiro came up from the audience to join Dan Greene and Rick Omonte on guitar for the last three songs of the set, Greene told the crowd that it was his first time playing with Dave. “It’s my millionth time playing with Rick,” he joked, and everyone laughed along
On an early evening at Best Video where the room was aglow with friendship, it seemed only appropriate that this solo set swelled with more musicians, and more music.
The show, featuring singer/songwriters Kath Bloom and Dan Greene, had originally been scheduled for the Hamden cultural center, film archive, and music venue in February, but was cancelled due to a snowstorm. This rescheduled event was now happening on a Sunday, but not just any Sunday. It was the first day of Daylight Savings Time — revered for adding more hours of sunlight to the day, reviled for the loss of an hour of possible sleep from the night before. No one at this show looked to be lacking any rest, however, as the night became a showcase for friends coming together to enjoy those they loved doing what they loved.
Greene took to the stage first on his own, singing three songs and accompanying himself on guitar. Typically on vocals and guitar with local band Mountain Movers, Greene used these three songs in particular to showcase his gentler side, especially his cover of “End of the World” by Skeeter Davis.
“I wanted to do a cover song,” he explained to the crowd. “This one was a hit for her twice. It sounds like a love song, but it was really about the death of her father.” Many in the audience sang along without prompting. It would not be the last time that happened.
Greene was then joined by fellow Mountain Mover Omonte on bass for the next three songs, adding that “the set will now get increasingly louder.” Omonte added greater depth as well as more sound, and the camaraderie of the two shone through as the songs picked up in both tempo and volume.
By the time Shapiro joined the two on guitar for the final three songs — including the final song, which Greene announced he had wrote only three days ago — the trio created a lush blanket of sound that turned up the heat and the vibe of the room rather than becoming simply louder. Shapiro’s intricate solos only enhanced what was already there. The crowd was deeply appreciative and prepared for more by the time the set was done.
Bloom also came to the stage alone, initially armed only with her guitar and harmonica. She announced that her first song would be “Terror,” “something I feel often but I’m not going to go there.” It was an apt place to begin for Bloom, who is well-known in New Haven and beyond for her lyrically poignant songs that reveal her fears, hopes, and dreams in such a way that the audience is brought under her wing and is taken along, comforted that another seems to understand.
“This one is me really,” she said of her second song “Another Point of View,” and once again shared a sacred part of herself that was easy to relate to:
I’m all alone
This is my dream
I take a walk up to the house
And I am quiet as a mouse.
Shapiro joined her on acoustic guitar after that second song. Bloom mentioned that she lived in a secluded area and had “trouble dealing with a lot of noise,” but then joked, “I guess were gonna make some now.”
The two launched into a more upbeat tune, “Let the Music Come.” After one more song, the duo became a trio as Flo Ness joined on percussion and backing vocals for the song “Close to You,” which got many in the audience joining in on vocals as well.
Bloom talked with the audience lovingly throughout the rest of the set, encouraging singalongs and even asking fellow musician and audience member Robert Tweedie to come up to the stage to sing with them.
“I am singing along here already,” he said. But he eventually did join them for one tune. For her last song, Bloom announced that it would be a call and response song, “which is how I think we learn the best” she noted.
The song, “This Dream of Life,” from her most recent album, once again offered an alternate take on a dream state:
This dream of life is tearing us apart
This dream of life is not for the faint of heart
It easily brought the crowd together one final time to share in the experience. It reminded me of a quote by C.S. Lewis: “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’”