Thoughts from last night’s gig:
Nora was the second youngest person at Yardley Hall last night.
It was a packed house, officially sold out, though most of the evening the audience was so quiet one might have thought they had, en masse, quietly died. Not all that far-fetched given the crowd averaged 10 to 15 years older than Lyle’s 54 years.
Baby boomers on parade aside, Lyle and crew put on a good show. They opened with the country standard “Release Me” from Lovett’s latest disc. The 50’s hit 1 went well with the pacemaker set who settled back into their seats in anticipation of an evening of youthful memories.
And for the most part that’s what they got: “Understand You”, a lovely tune penned by fellow Texan Eric Taylor; “Dress of Laces”, written by another Texan, John Grimaudo , added to Lovett’s penchant for cold hearted killing songs (e.g. ““LA County”); “White Freightliner Blues” , a Townes Van Zandt joint. Hell, there was even some Chuck Berry thrown in.
Lyle likes to talk, always has. Between songs he converses with the audience in his dry but somewhat halting manner. Last night he started a conversation with the youngest audience member, 8 year-old Rose, who was hiding in her daddy’s armpit in the middle of the second row. 2 That conversation lasted, on and off, throughout the night and concluded with Lovett’s dedication of “Up in Indiana” to her.
This is perhaps my 10th Lyle concert and it never amazes me to witness the ease with which Lyle opens up an audience. He’s an entertainer in the older Frank, Sammy and Dino sense, engaged with and often playing with the audience. It makes for a fun night.
The Large Band apparently stayed home: no brass, no dozen chorus singers, et cetera. In its stead was an eclectic mix of longtime friends and ‘new’ artists: of course Lee Sklar was on bass 3 And Lee was probably representative of the median age of the audience. Compare that to the inclusion of Sean Watkins, whom I am sure searched in vain over the sea of geriatrics for a single person who might even have heard of Nickel Creek. But Watkins clear sweet voice blended well with the others, especially during the bluegrass portion of the show. 4 5 And dudes: fuckin’ Russ Kunkel on drums! As well as Luke Bulla on violin and John Hagen on bass.
Where Lyle in the past has used a 2 or 3 person chorus for his gospel inspired numbers, last night he made do with a barbershop quartet of voices ably augmented by Arnold McCuller. 6 The resulting harmonies were glorious.
The band finished up the night with several Lovett standards: “If I Had A Boat”, “She’s No Lady”, “North Dakota”, “That’s Right (You’re Not From Texas)”, “White Freightliner Blues”, and “Can’t Resist It.” The encore included “Church” and it was obvious that most of the audience had their hearing aids turned waaaaaaaaaaaaay down – this was the first Lyle concert where people didn’t dance in the aisles to the song.
Oh, and in the middle of all this was a line dance.
Never mind, you had to be there.
I’ve said this before, but it’s true: Lyle gives good show. Check one out sometime.
Lyle Lovett and His Large Band
Tuesday, August 28th
Yardley Hall, JCCC
- An Eddie Miller tune covered by Ray Price and Kitty Wells, though sadly Humperdinck’s version is probably the best “remembered.” ↩
- I suspect it was rather loud in those seats; Nora and I were in the 8th row and the music was plenty loud there. ↩
- Leyland’s done a number of albums with Lyle. ↩
- We were disappointed that his sister, Sara, was not onstage; she’s one of Nora’s favorites. ↩
- Also, Sean, not for nuthin’? Buy a suit that fits. It’s one thing to be short. It’s another to be…tubby. But to be both those things amid a crew of tall sharp dressed men? Seriously, you looked like a child in hand-me-downs. Spend some of that late 90s cash on a tailor. It will be one of the best investments you ever make. Oh…and lose that hispter cock’s crow hair gel thing you got going on; you’re not in your 20s any more. ↩
- Who has a new disc out, by the by. He may not be Al Jarreau, but he’ll do, b’gd, he’ll do. ↩