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One of the best nights in the Portland Music scene, EVER!

Posted by Iris Harrison on February 1, 2010

P1030723The “Play or Die” Jam Benefit for Dub DeBrie was nothing short of amazing.  Musicians from the Portland area, and ones who had even left town came back to play in this event to raise money for their friend who is fighting HIV.  I was honored to be an MC for the event along with musician Lindsy Scott. 

I wrote an earlier blog about Dub and Anne DeBrie and the event.  If you haven’t read it yet, link here and catch up.

P1030735I keep trying to pinpoint my favorite part of the evening, and there are so many, that it’s hard to do. 

P1030719When Norman Sylvester took the stage for a rousing version of “People Get Ready” with the house band, and Dub on guitar…well, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

P1030741Or when there was about 6 guitars on stage for “The Sky is Crying” and all were phenominal, especially from Doug Rowell, who I used to follow from bar to bar when he was in Legend.  Ah, those were the days!  I adored that band.  Doug is as amazing as ever.

P1030712The set with Dub’s dear friend Gary Ferreira (Fernando) got everyone on their feet.  I knew that one would be special because they are such close friends, and I’ve seen “Nando” show up at many a jam. 


When Melody Guy sang  with Dub on guitar, it was like heaven had opened and let angels out to play. 

“Mambo Kings” brought out the love in a big way.  I can’t believe how many people claim it as “their song.” Hey, I thought it was MINE! P1030715It’s that freakin’ good.  Why this was never a huge national hit just mystifies me.  People were dancing and telling stories about how special that song was to their various relationships.  P1030736I’ve heard Dub refer to Saturday night as “date night” in the  clubs, and with that perfect song that he wrote, it’s sure to have sparked many a romance.  Once when I was watching him at Rich’s Kitchen, I audibly sighed at the end of the song, and the woman in the table next to me leaned over and said “I know….” 

P1030707There were so many memorable moments in the jam last night, with musicians weaving in and out of sets, highlighting one or two artist at a time.  P1030701They would then step back into the role of side player…seamlessly.  The selections included familiar favorites, blues, and original DeBrie tunes.  The thing that cut through the most, was this intense love for the music from each artist, and their love for the man they were there to honor…Dub. 

P1030727Dub took the stage at several times through the evening.  His wife, and musical partner, Anne said that he wasn’t feeling well last night, and he was feeling better when he was playing because the music distracts him from the pain.  So he played…quite a bit.  Conroy DeBrie finished up the evening with some originals, and much to our delight, when the crowd started yelling PINBALL…he grabbed the acoustic guitar and said “this is the last time we’re going to do this one.”  HA!  He says that everytime he plays it.  Dub launching into “Pinball Wizard” would have made Pete Townshend himself proud. 

Dub thanked everyone for coming, and Anne made the comment that “we’d like to do this again next year.”  The crowd went nuts.  Dub said he will do his best to be here, and promised to keep fighting.  I wouldn’t have expected anything less from the “miracle man.” 

There was a professional film crew there last night and from what I understand it will be turned into a DVD.  I’m so glad!  While it was a night that will live in my memory, it’s nice to be able to hear it again…and again.

As for Dub, the love from the room was great medicine last night.  He’s given us so much through his music over the years, I only hope we were able to give it back in kind.

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