22 June 2001

Cactus Pete's, Jackpot, NV


So, like Jackpot, NV is midway between Oregon and Colorado, so why shouldn't I go see POCO during their five night stay at the Cactus Pete's Casino on my way home?

For those who've never driven through Jackpot, NV (or blinked while doing so), the town is basically five casinos and a gas station. I arrived in town at 5:30, just in time for my dinner reservation. All the employees at Pete's were very friendly, and the parking situation was pleasantly different from other casino towns.

Just as I ordered dinner, two popular Poconuts, known as Chip and Shawna, spotted me in my 2000 "The Legend Continues" t-shirt, and we proceeded to chat. I bought a Poco baseball cap from them, and they gave me a CD that, among other tracks, had an extremely rare cut of a song written by Rusty Young, a song I absolutely love called, "One Tear At A Time", that he recorded with a band called Four Wheel Drive in the early 1990s. Chip and Shawna invited me to a couple Poco concerts in the Northwest later in the Summer.

As the curtains lifted, so did bassist Jack Sundrud's microphone stand. Rusty caught it quickly before the incident made its way into a Spinal Tap film. Subsequently, Rusty continued the opening lick of "Call It Love". The crowd was small, intimate, and quiet, which is always a good stimulus for Rusty Young's stand up tendencies. He remarked how their hit "Call It Love" had an accompanying video that MTV actually put into rotation, back when they actually were truly Music Television. He also noted that they thusly were in the same company as NSYNC, but referred to Poco as "OUTTASYNC".

Next came an airy "Rose Of Cimarron", and a couple surprises. A version of "Do What You Do" from Paul Cotton's 2000 Firebird solo album, and "Cajun Moon". Next, Timothy B. Schmidt's "Keep On Tryin'".

Jack Sundrud performed the #1 Country song he wrote called "It Must Be Love". Rusty & co. then grabbed another great song from their 1989 comeback album Legacy, called "What Do People Know". Afterwards, Paul Cotton took the stage for a solo acoustic version of his classic "Bad Weather", and Jack Sundrud lead the group in a new song he wrote for their upcoming album, due out next year.

Rusty Young must have figured out what my favorite Poco songs are, as he demonstrated by initiating an acoustic version of his 1984 "Save A Corner Of Your Heart". The set ended with the stock hits, "Crazy Love" and "Heart Of The Night".

I got to meet all four members of the band a few minutes after the show--I chatted with original drummer George Grantham about his work on Neil Young's first solo album, and conversed with Jack Sundrud about his website. Rusty Young approached me and said, "Hey are you the one who came all the way from Colorado Springs?" He seemed genuinely impressed with the devotion of his fans. Paul Cotton gave me a handshake and a sincere, friendly smile.

I even ran into Jack Sundrud in the elevator later that evening, and he made sure he reminded me of their upcoming shows later in the Summer in Colorado. It truly was an honor to meet these people behind the music.

[****] - Steven T.

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