Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lyle Lovett & John Hiatt @ Beacon Theater

Lyle Lovett & John Hiatt
@ Beacon Theater
New York, NY - January 22, 2011

When I was in college about ten years ago, and I began my massive expansion of music exploration through the Internet, I rather quickly got into the catalogs of both Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt. Even when the middle of the last decade centered almost exclusively on ear splitting feedbacking whiskey-drenched jams, I still set aside time for a helpin' of "That's Right You're Not From Texas" or "Etheleyne". I was especially drawn to Hiatt over the years due to his ability to cross over from country and singer-songwriter territory into straight out rock n roll. And even as late as last year, he was STILL putting out songs to be eaten up like "The Open Road".

So this bill was a sort of dream ticket long coming, even though it was a special acoustic set-up and not two full bands with dedicated sets. The fellas made the Beacon feel rather intimate as they traded songs, helped each other out a bit, and fed each other stories and questions. If this had been at Rockwood Music Hall or the Mercury Lounge, this would have been nothing short of perfect. Nevertheless, hearing songs like "L.A. County" and "Drive South" stripped down to their essence at the Beacon was something very special.

It had an unscripted feel to it despite this being a semi-regular tour for these two. An overzealous fan's throwing out of "perfectly good" during a discussion on guitars led to Hiatt choosing to play his imperial "Perfectly Good Guitar". The story highlight of the night also stemmed from a shout-out: it came in the form of Lovett's "Fat Babies", a ridiculous mock-folk song from early in his career that he used in Houston clubs to trick folkies into singing with him.

Though I hadn't given these guys much fanfare in the last few years (despite Hiatt's continued output), this needed to be - another rite of passage. A few weeks ago, hearing "She's No Lady" coming over the PA while waiting for cold cuts, sent me into a small jig, scaring the shoppers around me. This music still speaks.

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At January 23, 2011 at 11:51:00 AM EST, Blogger Red Stapler said...

Moving to Austin has exposed me to Lyle Lovett, and wow, I've been missing out!!!

His lyrics and voice are just fantastic.

That sounds like an awesome concert!


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