Bay Area music doc fans take note: D Tour, the documentary about Rogue Wave‘s Pat Spurgeon and his battle with kidney failure, premieres on KTEH
tonight (CORRECTION: Wednesday the 11th) at 10pm. From Ben Richardson’s review of the film:
D Tour opens with the familiar trappings of a band-on-the-road movie-â€“we meet drummer Pat Spurgeon in the practice space, tweaking his drum set as his band, SF indie-heroes Rogue Wave, prepares to set off on tour. Well into middle age and sporting a riotous caucausian ‘fro, Spurgeon is the picture of a friendly, articulate indie musician, talking earnestly about how his lack of a “back-up plan” keeps him committed to his musical dream.
Having shrugged off penury and failure in the past, Spurgeon finally feels at home in Rogue Wave, poised to hit the big time with their clever, catchy indie-pop. Suddenly, however, he is devastated by news of the worse kind: His kidney is failing. Diagnosed with kidney problems as a child, Spurgeon received a transplant some fifteen years ago, allowing him to live his life in comparative stability. Now, the first replacement kidney is no longer working, and he will need a new transplant, landing him on a donor list some six years long. Heâ€™s about to leave on the biggest tour of his life, and he will need dialysis, up to four times a day.
Spurgeonâ€™s human story is an affecting one, and sensitive, understated direction by his friend Jim Granato provides an unfettered view into the life of the quietly charismatic skinsman. His bandmates, initially torn between supporting their ailing drummer and continuing their tour, seem both relieved and incredulous at Spurgeonâ€™s plan to use a process called â€œperitoneal dialysisâ€ on the road. As the band packs up the van, two journeys begin, one a familiar quest for recognition on the nationâ€™s club circuit, the other an unlikely search for an organ donor…
As it concludes, D Tour transcends its shoe-string budget, modest ambitions, and narrow scope to hint at larger questions, putting a human, indie-rock face on a much broader problem. Through the indefatigable good-humor of Spurgeon, the selflessness of his friends, and the sympathetic camera of Granato, the viewer is confronted with the best kind of documentary, one that shows more than it tells, capturing a story of life and death, and life in death.