This past weekend Colleen and I visited the Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant in Minneapolis for the first time to see Dan Wilson (of Semisonic and Trip Shakespeare fame). Ben Kyle of Romantica was the opener. We parked in the Target ramp and walked down Nicollet Mall until we found the place (it’s right across the street was from where Let It Be Records used to be).
I didn’t really know how seating or tickets worked, but we had a 6PM dinner reservation and they seated us on the main floor about four tables from the small stage located in the middle of the room. Music was scheduled to start at 7:30PM, which is about when our dessert arrived.
The food choices ranged from simple bar menu items like chicken wings and cheeseburgers to a three-course tasting menu. Our waiter asked us when we first arrived if we would be eating or just drinking during the show, so they really seemed to offer a lot of economic choices – a sign of the times, to be sure, but nice to see.
Colleen ordered from the tasting menu, choosing several of the specials:
- Blue Hubbard Squash Soup – maple-cracked pepper croutons, brown butter, sage
- Pekin Duck with Duck Confit – swiss chard, wild rice, blue cheese
- Smokey Dark Chocolate Cake – earl grey, pecan praline, port
- Wine – Szeremley, Kekfrankos, Hungary
- Apple Cider with Apple and butterscotch schnapps and whipped cream
I ordered off of the club menu and had the Steak and Fries – a 10 ounce Sirloin steak poutine “Tall Colin Style,” with tabasco-molasses sauce. The fries had poutine-style cheese curds, but replaced the usual gravy with the tabasco-molasses sauce. It was good, but the tabasco really overpowered the molasses and was very spicy.
Ben Kyle did a nice solo acoustic set, which really worked well in the space because almost everyone was dead silent and paying rapt attention to the stage. There was about a ten minute intermission, then Dan Wilson came out to play with just his acoustic guitar (although he switched to piano for a few songs too).
I don’t have a set list, but he did say they were recording the show for a future album. Some highlights for me included FNT, Baby Doll and All Kinds (each with great audience interaction). Ben joined him back onstage during the encore to play the Gram Parsons song To Love Somebody, which was incredible. Dan also gave a shout out to Neil Young, saying he draws a lot of song-writing inspiration from him. That was followed by a lovely cover of Long May You Run on piano.
The show wrapped up around 11PM and both guys stayed to sign CDs. Dan was selling his new Live at the Pantages 2-CD set that was recorded last winter and attended by Colleen and our youngest daughter. I also got to talk to him about his support of ARC of Minnesota. He performed at their annual gala and his daughter is a recipient of their services. ARC is one of the primary benefitting charities of the Tapemark Charity Pro-Am, which is a 7 Minute Miles client.
The cover charge for the show ($20 per person) was just added to our dinner bill. The service all night was wonderful, with our very knowledgeable waiter magically appearing whenever we needed him. I’m not sure how they assign tables when you make a reservation, but ours was in a perfect spot. My only regret was that I didn’t get down there a few weeks ago to see Suzanne Vega during her three-night stint.Originally published by DK on September 28, 2009 at 9:18 am