“The Ballad of the Opening Band” written by Slim Dunlap
℗ and © 2016 Robert Dunlap, all rights reserved.
Recorded by Dean Lambrecht live at the Cedar Cultural Center 12/1/2007
Mastered by Tom Herbers
Bob “Slim” Dunlap – acoustic guitar and lead vocal
Ben Glaros – harmony vocal and a little guitar
This recording captures one of the most special moments of my musical life. It wasn’t supposed to exist because my friend Dean who had set up to record my CD release party at the Cedar Cultural Center had been asked by Slim not to record his set. Dean is a truly stand-up guy and honored Slim’s request…except for this one song. He knew that I was going to need a recording of this, if nothing else just as evidence to myself that it happened. It was already surreal enough that one of my longtime musical heroes was playing an opening set before me (perfect example of the standard hierarchy of “opener” vs. “headliner” being set aside when it’s your album release party). Beyond that I was going to actually get to PLAY and SING with SLIM DUNLAP! We had agreed that we’d each join each other for one song in the other’s set. We did one short “rehearsal” which was mostly Slim filling my head with the most awesome stories and trivia about NRBQ and Big Star…
When the night of the show came, after a year and a half of recording, mixing, mastering, promoting, rehearsing…with it came the biggest snowstorm of 2007. It was debatable whether we should have postponed but it probably would have been another year before we could have pulled it all together again so I decided we had to go for it. I am forever grateful to the folks who braved the weather and came out, but needless to say as far as attendance it was not the big bang I had been visualizing for months if not years.
I have to admit that I was feeling pretty down and frustrated as the night began, more aware of the empty seats than of the many friendly faces that were smiling up at the stage. But when Slim stepped up and started playing no one could help but be drawn into his amazing warm presence. His songs and stories captured us all and brought me back from my worries to the beauty of the moment.
Stepping onstage with him for “The Ballad of the Opening Band” was truly a thrill. The lyrics couldn’t have been more appropriate to how I was feeling, and his lyrical misstart (and wife Chrissie’s beautiful save!) only added to the joyful spontaneity of his set.
On a night when I couldn’t help but take myself and my endeavors overly seriously, Slim’s generosity, humor and sweet music reminded me to lighten up, forget about the “numbers” and enjoy sharing time, life and beauty with the people you find yourself in the same room with on any given day or night. They are all to be treasured…
Thank you SlimBob! And kisses to Chrissie!