Invading new territory is always fun and what other chance would I get to go to the Moose Lodge, I ask you? Snowball's chance in hell, buddy. So, like any good investigative reporter I took my opportunity when I got it. The Moose Lodge is located out West 2nd street, at Cory Lane. The parking lot was full but this turned out to be deceptive as once inside we saw very few people. We never discovered where all those Meese were, in the woods perhaps, or watching MTV in another room.
We waited in the handsome foyer chatting with the very pleasant lady behind the counter as we waited for a band member to sign us in. It was Chrissy, the lead guitar player, who was very happy to see some familiar faces. We were led into a spacious auditorium with a high ceiling that was covered with some kind of strange fur. There was also a huge balcony that I was never able to explore, maybe that's where everybody was. Band friends were seated at the front so we occupied a table near them. A very efficient waitress took our orders while a few disgruntled Meese could be heard complaining about all the non-members that had invaded their sanctum sanctorum. Sorry, guys, but you could have a little fun if you'd just loosen up your assholes a little.
We probably would have viewed more Moose if we'd caught the first set but were unavoidably detained by my companion's insistence on watching an episode of Mike Hammer. She said that Stacey Keech was a "hunk," with which I agreed, but couldn't decide just what he was a hunk of. This particular episode featured a guest appearance by Herbie Hancock as a talentless jazz-rock musician. Never having seen Mike Hammer before I was surprised to note that the plot and dialogue were lifted almost verbatim from that old favorite of mine, Cannon. The big difference being that in a brawl Cannon dispatched his rivals with fewer motions. Also Frank Cannon always made friends with the women he met, unlike the hump and kill approach favored by Mr. Keach.
The start of the third set was marred by technical difficulties and the unfortunate spectacle of a middle-aged gentleman in a leather jacket mimicking singer Cyndi Hammond's body english as he and his friends left. You're the one that lost out, fella, because after wading through three cover tunes the band hit their stride and performed a cover of Boys Cry that would grow hair on a melon ball. I saw old Jay Clay dancing the short hop with a long-legged woman from outer space. Some game Moose got up to have some fun and they danced tolerably well. The dance floor was a little slippery like a bowling alley. With the right shoes you had a freedom of movement impossible to achieve in a place like the Bluebird where spilled beer gums up the floor. Keyboardist/Guitarist Jenny Davis cracked a few jokes to keep things loose. I've often felt that her contribution to the band is as much psychological as musical. She completes the chemistry of the band onstage, provides another focal point for audience attention and heightens the dimension of their sound. Drummer Emily Jackson, on the other hand, like every good drummer, provides the framework upon which the band constructs its sound. What I like about Emily's drumming is not just the originality, which is the first thing you notice, but that it is spare, clean and always correct.
I overheard someone at the next table saying that they thought the band was "kinky" but that table was bombed level and a might kinky themselves judging by their not too discrete but nevertheless playful lusting for one another. About this time the band was burning down a ragged, though inspiring, Jack of Hearts that featured Chris Dickinson's right pretty voice. Besides being an ace guitar player Chris has come a long way in confidence about her singing, adding that dash of paprika to Cyndi Hammond's basic white sauce. I'd love to hear her sing Honky Tonk Girl or Sleepless Nights or anything really.
There is no doubt that Sally's Dream gets much of its stage presence from Cyndi Hammond who seems natural there. She has complete control of the stage, expressing the band's mostly original songs in a way that the audience can feel and understand. After seeing a series of bands that seem to shrink or curl up on stage, like they don't know quite what to do with their hands, it's refreshing to see someone who knows what she's doing and can breathe a little soul into her performance.
A boss Moose kept approaching the stage asking them to play something contemporary like Barbara Mandrell, something people knew. They had spent a lot of time working on a country set but unfortunately concentrated on country classics which is fine but where were the hits? It's an old argument and the Moose did see them perform before they hired them and should have known what they were getting into but you can't blame them for wanting their members to have a good time and I guess that I'm impressed that they tried to bring their people something different.
At intermission Arthur Staggs won $525 in a lodge contest but the poor sap wasn't present so he couldn't collect. I went out to take a pee and noted the bulletin board where there was a long list of Moose who had yet to pay their dues. C'mon, you guys, your lodge needs your support.
For their last set the Dream decided to play for their ravenous fans who were about the only people left. And they kicked it hard, let me tell you. You follow a band around long enough and you know what its like when they're good and you know what its like when they're bad and if you're lucky you get to know what it's like when they're everything that they're meant to be and, good buddies, that time for Sally's Dream was their last set at the Moose Lodge. God knows what the remaining Moose made of all those funny looking people with bushed up, dyed hair, dancing a hole in their floor but by that time we'd drunk enough of their beer that we didn't care and had about as much fun as you can have anywhere which is why I go out. How about you?
—Gus Travers 1984