My best friend growing up was named Jeremy Menkowitz. I’m talking Kindergarten. This is a dude who, because he was Jewish, when he was about 6 years old asked his mother what the deal with the whole “Santa Claus” thing was, and after his mother told him it was a myth, kept the secret from me for a good 4 years because he didn’t want to ruin the magic of christmas for me. THAT’S a friend.

Today, “Rem”s parents hosted a show at their house, the one where he and I ate pizza, played video games, swam, played wiffle ball, went sledding, etc etc etc. Man, it was kind of a trip going back there to play a concert as an adult. Not only that, but many of my old friends who still live in the area came, and a lot of them have little babies! I’m looking out into the pool where we all used to splash around, and I’m seeing them with the MINI version of them watching ME play music. My friend Pete’s little girl Quinn even requested a song: “The Wheels on the Bus”. (We obliged).

Bruce and Shelly (Rem’s parents) provided a huge platter of Hoagie sandwiches (that’s right), and they had this amazing wooden cutout thing with a long-haired wig, bandana and baggy shorts, and a tip-jar affixed to one of the arms. I kept seeing it out of the corner of my eye and it kinda freaked me out. In a good way.

Another highlight was having my friend Poop’s dad (long story) play mandolin on “Tennessee Traveler” with us. We asked him to do the rest of the tour with us, but he has obligations to fulfill out in Quakertown, PA. It’s a standing offer, Alfred!

Many thanks to the Menkowitz family for inviting us back. And nice touch providing that plate of Philly soft pretzels.

Set list was:

(Vitali introduction)
I Wanna Go Home
Wheels on the Bus
Blueberry Farm (Hoag voice crack, apology issued)
Late January
Tennessee Traveler (Poop’s dad Alfred on mandolin)
Blueglass Lake
30th Anniversary
Hoag Drum solo
Ice Cream Cone
Roaming Dragons
Cleepies (tentative name)

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