Mystery Gig: 1995-06-20

Here’s an 11-song set whose origins are unclear.  I think that I might have downloaded it from one of those monster bootleg sites, e.g., Wolfgang’s or the Concert Archives.  Both of those sites are notoriously lacking in reliable data, so it’s possible that the date is wrong.  Further, there’s no venue provided.  But it’s clearly from the Din era and specifically from the latter half of 1995 (Lee Fox and Billy Ward, whom Chris introduces during the set, seem to have replaced Rich Mercurio and Alan Gevaert in the late spring of that year).  If you can shed any light on this mystery gig, please let me know!

Of course, there’s no such thing as too many Din bootlegs, no matter their provenance.  This one stands out because of its exceptionally grungy “Candy,” which opens the set.  “God Thing” builds from an almost tortuously slow start to an almost unbearable crescendo of distorted guitar. And even “Phone Call” solo is extraordinarily forceful, almost blistering, and breaks into “Erotic City” for a bit – possibly one of the earliest recording of this confluence? (also featured in other gigs summer 1995, e.g., Bottom of the Hill 1995-07-19).  Whatever its source, whenever the gig was played, I think you’ll enjoy this set.



7 thoughts on “Mystery Gig: 1995-06-20

  1. Jerry – I’m not sure you’ve been alerted of my reply re tour guide, etc. Keeps being posted as a general comment, not as a reply to your comment.


  2. I take it you’re not a member of the All Things Chris Whitley group on Facebook. I started that group back in 2013 and we now have the biggest collection of CW photos, articles, bootlegs, etc. available anywhere! If you’re not on FB and don’t want to be!, just create a fictional account, let me know your fictitious name, and I’ll add you to the group. Otherwise, I can direct you to some of our resources, e.g., we post bootlegs on the Live Music Archive here: You can access Maarten Demetter’s tour guide here:


  3. While I can’t pinpoint the set in question, I can possibly help narrow things a bit…

    Assuming 1995 is correct, and that Fox and Ward did not start with Whitley until he got back to the US, that would mean your set could be from:

    06/13/1995 – The Middle East, Cambridge MA
    06/14/1995 – The Middle East, Cambridge MA
    06/15/1995 – The Middle East, Cambridge MA
    06/23/1995 – 15 Minute Club, Washington DC

    Your set does not match 06/27/1995 – Khyber Pass, Philadelphia PA or 07/19/1995 – Bottom Of The Hill, San Francisco CA.

    Your set could also be from:

    07/20/1995 – Bottom Of The Hill, San Francisco CA
    07/21/1995 – Bottom Of The Hill, San Francisco CA
    08/11/1995 – H.O.R.D.E. Festival, Waterloo Village, Stanhope NJ

    There are another four shows that I know of from 1995, but I do not know the exact dates:

    xx/xx/1995 – Iron Horse, VT
    xx/xx/1995 – Brownies, NYC
    xx/xx/1995 – The Dragonfly, Los Angeles CA
    xx/xx/1995 – Luna Park, Los Angeles CA

    Good Luck with the search.



    1. Thanks for your help with this, Mike. I do so much excavation of obscure CW stuff that I can’t recall if I compared the Mystery set list with other set lists from gigs in the latter half of 1995. Based on your comment, I’ve now done so, and I think you could be right. Both the Middle East and Bottom of the Hill sets contain the same songs in the same order. However, each of these also has about 6 songs played previous to the Some Candy and later songs in this Mystery set. When time allows, I’ll listen to a few of the songs as recorded at each of these gigs to figure out if my mystery set is really just a partial orphan of ME or BotH. Thanks again!!


      1. Thanks, Jerry. I wonder if he actually played 3-nights at 15-Minute club. Here’s a bit from Dinky Dawkins [captured from the old New Machine website as saved on the Wayback Machine], who did sound for the tour, in which Dinky notes that Chris did 3-night “residencies” at each venue:

        In Residence with Chris Whitley
        By Dinky Dawson

        Reprinted with permission from Musician Magazine May, 1996

        Chris Whitley’s two month U.S. tour last summer, for which I mixed sound, was a little unusual in terms of its scheduling. The plan was to have Chris available for three days in each city, as if to say if you can’t see us one night then you have two others to choose from. This idea of residing in a town for more than one night appears to be catching on as a sensible approach to touring in the ’90s.

        In the rock community, “residencies” are a relatively new word. But MOR acts on casino or hotel circuit have been “residing” for years-you live in the same hotel for ten days, play three shows a day, and the audience will come to you. German clubs did it the same way in the ’60s; the Beatles worked one place in Hamburg for a month at a time (and so did I in Kiel.). Such engagements are a real education. The playing gets tighter, you figure out everyone’s idiosyncrasies, and if you make it through the month, you might actually last as a band.

        Chris’s tour was full of challenges. Even though we’d be in the same club for three days, we kept encountering the same problems. The worst was when frequencies canceled each other out in a room. For example, Chris’s voice was often tough to hear over the sound system, yet it’s very loud on the board recordings. Then there’s the summer voltage drop that always seems to happen around 9 pm in the older cities. Also, many East Coast clubs have little or no air conditioning. Imagine a temperature of 100 degrees plus 100 percent humidity. It isn’t long before you just want to get out there as quickly as possible. Forget the meet and greet deal, as you find it very difficult to breathe, let alone talk. And why is it that so many of these gigs have the worst sound gear ever?

        Still, there’s no doubt that the residency format works. The free days give you time to radio, interviews, in-stores, etc., and spread the word about your band. By the third night you’ve won over lots of people who normally wouldn’t have been accommodated in a one night stand. (And of course true fans come every night.)

        Residencies really do help to establish a fan network in each town. And just ask a group like the Grateful Dead how valuable those networks can be.

        Over his thirty year career, Stuart “Dinky” Dawson has mixed artists including Fleetwood Mac, The Kinks, Lou Reed, Jeff Beck, and Steely Dan.


      2. Thanks, yeah 3 nights is possible. The 23rd he was in the front room, and the 24th he was in a back room and definitely had sound issues as Dinky allude to.. However, got a chance to talk to him for a while on the 23rd.
        Any idea where to find a complete tour history? Setlist and Concert Archive are sketchy at best. Seen him about 14 times, with a few dates I’m unsure of (no ticket stubs).


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