Walk the Dog
By Rick Brown
I dunno. I guess I felt
compelled to do it. I mean … it’s 90 friggin’
degrees outside … and I take the dog for a walk. My wife
is on a short business trip so…as usual…I felt the
need. It’s not like Henri objects. No. At the sound of the
word “walk” he perks his ears up … tilts his
head as if those floppy, furry things are going to suck the preface
“Do you want to take a …” right out of my mouth.
That’s what monsieur Henri wishes to hear. I obliged him.
The dog actually walks around holding the middle of his leash
out for you to take. He’s into it…big time. I remember
a friend telling me that the best thing about having a small dog
was that “all you have to do is run him up and down the
stairs a few times.” Meaning you didn’t have to take
him for a walk. And neither of us does that often. He runs around
his backyard enough to salve any guilt.
So I took him on the usual yet not habitual route. It was around
6 in the evening. So people were out walking their dogs. And a
lot of folks in the neighborhood have backyards with doggies frolicking.
Bark! Bark! Bark! This is the ying and yang. Dogs in yards. Bark!
Bark! Bark! Dogs in the street. Sniff! Sniff! Sniff! If you’re
lucky that’s how it happens. It’s a little orchestral
really, “Man’s Best Friend Overture”.
I only met a couple people on walks with their pooches. First
there was a woman with two…she told me they were …
um … well they looked to be Schnauzers but maybe terriers.
My brain is no better with dog breeds than I am with human names.
And that’s pretty bad. The woman says, “Oh can we
visit?” I assumed she was speaking about the dogs. Immediately
one of her hounds was sniffing Henri’s ears while the other
one explored his “nether regions”. Being a male Henri
at first looked up at me like, “this is interesting …
and perhaps … quite okay.” But soon after I believe
the two males … of which Henri was involved … realized
the situation and began cautiously snarling at one another. The
woman’s male dog continued to bark in a very … very
… focused dog kind of way as the French Boy and I soft shoed
it out of there. I turned and walked backwards for a few yards
watching her try to reason with a pedigree male dog. “Be
good, boy! Be GOOD!” I yelled my apologies as I …
with beast in tow … sashayed towards home.
The adventure was not over however. Just around the bend in the
road appeared an older couple (and by that … now …
in the year 2004 … I mean “people about 8 years older
than myself”) that had what looked to be an Afghan Hound.
They immediately turned their attention to Henri Richard…seemingly
recognizing him…calling him Mazzy … Maggie …
Mandingo. I dunno … something like that. They thought it
was another dog by a name beginning with the letter “m”
and were hard to convince otherwise. “In the green house
over there lives a dog that could be … what’s his
“Henri” I replied.
“Well you should ring the bell there because these dogs
are IDENTICAL!” By this point both their Afghan Hound …
they called it by name but all I remember is being relieved the
canine’s moniker wasn’t “Taliban” or something
similar … and Henri were pulling their leashes in extreme
excitement. I figured we had had enough “visiting”
and bid the three ado. “He’s so PRECIOUS!!!”
the woman exclaimed. “He sure is … really PRECIOUS!!”
the old guy yelled over at us.
As I headed in the direction of home with a panting…pulling…crazed
Bichon leading the way, I glanced over my shoulder at the older
couple (8 years?) … smiled … and said … ”Yeah.
He’s precious all right. And it’s a damned good thing!”
Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco),
For me, one of the most
striking things about moving to the Southwest was where you could
get from here. When I drive into downtown Tucson, I see highway
signs pointing to Los Angeles and El Paso. That’s crazy!
In Ohio, the only signs were for Cleveland or Cincinnati, and
neither of those are too exciting—they’re still in
the same state…. Inspired by these signs, my friends and
I realized that one of the best things about being a graduate
student is that you can plan spontaneous trips in the summer.
My friend and I decided, while studying at a coffee shop the other
day, to put off working on our Master’s exams and instead
plan a trip to Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco), Mexico, for the next
day. Needless to say, we were shortly on our way with two other
friends, off on our very first real trip to Mexico.
Easton Towne Center
* * *
(click above to read the review)
and Pig Racers:
John M. Bennett & Jim Leftwich
ZZ Top at the Orange County Fair
Costa Mesa, CA, August 1, 2004
By Ted Kane
ZZ Top at the Orange
County Fair. What can I say? There seem to be several ways to
start this review. There's the Fair, there's the Top, there's
the complimentary relationship between the concert and the larger
event. I need to talk about all of that, so at this point let
me just say that ZZ Top is exactly the right kind of band to
see at a county fair, their rootsy boogie every bit as authentic
and earthy as the livestock and agriculture on display therein.
I grew up in Columbus,
where the Ohio State Fair was an annual event that I both looked
forward to and took for granted at the same time. You have to
admit that there is something special about a place where you
can spend the day looking at livestock, riding rides and eating
Dumbo ears as a prelude to rocking out after dark with artists
like Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and Cheap Trick. In fact, though
I was too young at the time to remember much about it now, the
first concert I ever saw was at the Ohio State Fair when my
parents took me to see no less legendary of an act than the
Ike and Tina Turner Revue. So when I read the press release
announcing ZZ Top's summer tour and saw that they were going
to play the Orange County Fair, there was no question that I
was going, come Heaven, Hell or Houston.
Our 25th Garden - Part II
Newport Music Hall
Columbus, OH 7/7/04
By Cory Tressler
Jet rocked the Newport
Music Hall. Pure and simple. The four sweaty dudes from Australia
(plus one extra keyboard playing freak who was part of their
traveling road show) ran through an hour long set that reeked
of rock and smelled of confidence. These lads were in top form
to say the least. Their set contained pretty much every song
off of their debut album, Get Born, on the now defunct
Elektra Records. Highlights included a fierce “Rollover
DJ” and the MTV hit “Are You Gonna Be My
Girl.” What this band lacked in originality they
gained in their ability to choose just the right riffs and sounds
to rip off. There were points during their performance that
I thought, “wow this is awesome that they are playing
(insert any Rolling Stones or Faces song title here)!”
Even though they played recycled licks, they kicked and screamed
with so much energy and vibrancy that it really didn’t
matter. The sold out Newport crowd loved every second; besides
the one new ballad they played in the middle of their set. For
an encore the hard rocking and hard partying Aussies gave the
crowd an emotional version of their best song “Move
On” and wild interpretation of “Take It
or Leave It”, which was so jammed out that it climaxed
into a cover of “That’s Alright Mama”
by Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup. Although they didn’t
break any new musical frontiers with their performance, Jet
did put on one helluva rock and roll show.
United Center - Chicago, IL - 7/17/04
Opening Act: Robert Randolph & the Family Band
By Patrick O'Malley
Tressler, I’m doing a concert review right in your face
and on your turf mother fucker!!)
to see this show. In my eyes Clapton is still God, or at least
a god. A guitar deity at the least. I’m assuming this
will likely be one of Clapton’s last tours, but who knows?
Anyway, here are my notes from the show . . .
Show starts promptly
on time, Clapton runs a tight ship and it’s obvious throughout
the night, evident in a plethora of the show’s aspects.
‘Let It Rain’ is the opener and makes for
a perfect start. It’s a long tune with a great jam from
Clapton’s solo debut long ago, and they hit stride with
it right away riding the cascading piano playing that drives
the song. This is followed powerfully by the blues classic,
‘Hoochie Coochie Man’. Good version, not
the best. Then comes a surprise, ‘Walk Out In The
Rain’, a definite deep cut that stumped most of the
nineteen-or-so-thousand in attendance. This was a real highlight
of the first half of the show no matter how you slice it, but
it was made sweeter somehow by the depth of the cut. It’s
funny when watching a living legend how often you find yourself
transfixed, unaware of your surroundings or even at times what
song you’re in the middle of listening to. The chucking
choppy guitar riff gives away the next song’s genre before
I can place it as Marley’s ‘I Shot the Sheriff’.
Out of where I least expected it comes the most original guitar
solo I’ve ever heard Clapton play. Breaking out of his
consistently awesome yet familiar blues rhythm and structure
to find something unique to the night, Clapton floored me with
some wildly creative and original guitar work here.
Watch Out Shell
By David Hochman
age, I surmise, is just a straight-line destination to confusion.
And we’re not talking Alzheimer’s here. Neither
are we talking about the ponderous questions—the only
ones that have any worth—for which there aren’t
any answers anyway: why are we here, the meaning of Life, etc.
I’m talking about the questions in youth one did have
answers for; answers to observable aspects of human existence.
Now, gone are the certain days of black and white, replaced
by an incessant grey blur. Yet, there’s something reassuring
about the blur, about the doubt, the uncertainty. And the older
I get, the more confused, reassuringly, I become.
What confuses me? These days, what doesn’t?
Celeste Center - The Ohio State Fair
August 10, 2004
* * 1/2
By Rick Brown
I’m not the kind who makes a big deal
of the Ohio Sate Fair. I go about every seven years or so…just
to see what’s changed and what hasn’t. And if there’s
a concert that interests me I’ll be there and walk around
for a couple hours to soak up the atmosphere. I have participated
in many years of homebrew beer competition however. I’ve even
brought home a few green, red…even blue ribbons. And I’m
certainly proud of that. So, while not a year in year out devotee
I’m no stranger to the fair. I saw the James Gang at the Ohio
State Fair way back in 1971 … right after I moved to Columbus.
I’ve seen Willie Nelson at the fair also.
In the early 90’s then governor George Voinovich hired a guy
named Billy Inman to run what was then touted as America’s
biggest state fair. And Billy did a good job of almost killing the
event. Later it came to light that fair attendance numbers had been
padded…for years…in an attempt to out draw the Texas
State Fair. In the process of almost ruining this annual extravaganza,
Mr. Inman … with the aid of the Ohio Republican Party …
made the fair “family values”. By that, I mean they
made a concerted effort to boot “undesirable” influences
such as gay pride groups and “radical” political representatives
out. In effect, the Ohio State Fair was sanitized. Even Bobo the
Clown was shown the door … er I mean … gate. Bobo was
a guy with heavy clown make up on who sat in a dunking booth insulting
people as they walked by. A lot of folks … mostly macho guys
who would never consider stopping at the gay pride booth (unless
they wanted act like Bobo )… would get incredibly angry and
spend a lot of money trying to get Bobo wet. Occasionally a player
would lose his shit and throw the ball right at Bobo’s head
…, which was safely behind protective bars. “High and
DRY!” Bobo would snarl at the thrower. “Bobo’s
HIGH and DRY!!!” Even if Bobo got dunked he didn’t care.
The days were usually steamy and the asphalt scorching. People tended
to be sleazy and sweaty. Oh the things one could see on a hot August
Alice Cooper would have been a nice fit for
the old fair.
Cooper stormed the stage of the giant
aluminum shed known as the Celeste Center shortly after 7 p.m. August
10th (That’s right … a rock concert starting pretty
much on time and at 7 p.m!) tearing into Hello Hooray,
which quickly segued into No More Mr. Nice Guy. Cooper’s
band was loud and it was good. Even the woman up front signing for
the deaf did her thing with rock and roll panache. During Billion
Dollar Babies Alice strutted the stage singing and shaking
dollar bills off a fencing sword as if throwing pieces of shish
kabob to ravenous guests at a garden party. I was relatively impressed.
Even the newer material from The Eyes of Alice Cooper (his
most recent release) … Man of the Year, Between
High School and Old School, and What Do You Want From Me?
sounded good. These tunes will not be Cooper classics but they were
entertaining none the less. But it was here…in the middle
of the performance … where the show peaked. A rousing, rocking
rendition of I’m Eighteen reminded us al l…
especially the men … of what it was like being 18 years old.
“I’m eighteen and I don’t know what I want.”
The tune skillfully chronicles…in the simplest form…the
angst, excitement and wanderlust of youth. The song was breathtaking.
I should have left. Things went downhill quickly after this magic
Staging theatrics in a rock show has always been … and remains
… a dangerous ploy. Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones made
their shows larger than life with huge props and special effects
… most times this works … while Alice Cooper strives
to shock on a much smaller scale. Most times this does not. And
misogyny is never entertaining as far as I’m concerned. While
the band raged on, Mr. Cooper has a fencing match with a young woman.
He ends up pretending to slit her throat. There’s fake blood.
She is dragged off stage like yesterday’s garbage. Cooper’s
own personal cliché (his python) is brought out for old time’s
sake. There is an obligatory long … excruciatingly boring
drum solo. (I don’t care if the drummer IS from Columbus.)
A group of thugs harasses the band during a number. The same woman,
this time dressed as a young girl, is also pushed around. Gang rape
is more than implied. She is killed. Cooper throws a life-size dummy
dressed exactly like the dead girl around during the next tune.
Alice comes out in a straight jacket and a “resurrected”
dead girl beats on defenseless Alice. But the scene was hardly retribution.
Even the heartfelt Only Women Bleed couldn’t salvage the damage
of purposefully staged violence against women.
The show ended with a rave up of School’s Out while
the band kicked giant balloons into the crowd. An encore included
Poison and Under My Wheels. And after all the
sexist stuff earlier, Alice Cooper finalizes the show with a campy
version of Elected at the end of which two guys in suits…one
wearing a George Bush mask, the other John Kerry…cavort on
stage like macabre trolls liberated from the underpinnings of a
cursed bridge. The Kerry guy tears Bush’s shirt a la Janet
Jackson’s “Breastgate” wardrobe malfunction. Then
the Bush guy pulls the Kerry guys pants down to his knees. Wow …
a vaudevillian rock climax. Really … indubitably … dumb.
Maybe all Alice Cooper’s misogynous theatrics were tolerated
in 1975. And people I’ve run into who were at the show either
don’t bring it up or sweep it under the carpet of their conscience.
It’s wrong … plain and simple. Violence against women
… or anyone for that matter … should never … ever
… be glorified as rock theater … or television …
or movies. A number of Cooper fans were there with their kids …
their daughters. And when Alice Cooper introduced the band members
at the end the woman whose throat was slit and raped and killed
earlier in the show came out. Mr. Cooper introduced her.
She is his daughter.
Perhaps Alice Cooper would have been a better
fit with the old, sleazy, sweaty, cheesy Ohio State Fair. Then again
maybe … like Bobo the Clown ... Alice Cooper’s day has
come … and thankfully … gone.
Easton Towne Center
* * *
By Rick Brown
There’s a new high tech difference in the Shadowbox
experience now. Two large projection screens have been mounted
above the bandstand and stage areas while 3 or 4 smaller television
monitors have been placed strategically for those in the back
and in the balcony. And with this addition I believe Shadowbox
Cabaret has taken a giant step towards rock concert…and
a giant step away from live theater. Going early to a performance
has always been a good idea. You get a better seat. But now
the audience is inundated by images…mostly self-promotional
in nature…and loud music…for the duration
of what used to be a pleasant “get to know your server/performer”
During the opening monologue, David Whitehouse made the comment
“For those of you at all interested, the mighty OSU
Buckeyes won today by 3 whole points!” Since everyone
in the crowd had to be there before the end of “the
game” the sarcasm was certainly appreciated by most
everyone…including myself. Yet I found the comment more
than a little disconcerting. Ironically, with all the relentlessly
flashing high tech screens looming large in Shadowbox’s
performance space, the place has all the ambiance of a sports
bar during the NFL playoffs.
What all this does really is emphasize the music. And house
band BillWho? is the star of Freak Show 2004…albeit
unintentionally I presume. Stephanie Shull’s Shadowbox
“theme song” rocked the house to begin the performance.
But do we really need to sing along when the lyrics (shown
on aforementioned multi-media screens) include menu items?
Still, the band is dynamic and Julie Klein’s reading
of the Genesis’ gem “Land of Confusion”
was brilliant. Admittedly, the new visuals really can enhance
the bands presentation. Unless of course your eyes divert
to the guy with the camera who at times is annoyingly
close to the musicians. Just as good was Jennifer Hahn’s
searing rendition of Audioslave’s “Show Me How
to Live”. White Zombie’s “More Human than
Human” was killer thanks to badass front man J. T. Walker.
And Mary Randle closed the show like only she can do with
her torrid take on Deep Purple’s “Space Truckin’”.
But the tunes that were standouts included a BillWho? original
titled “Sci Fi Girl”. Sung with nerdiness personified
by one superbly gifted J.T Walker and enhanced enormously
by the antics of sci fi dancing girls, most notably Megan
Overholt whose manically exuberant sci fi girl wanna-be persona
was nothing short of show stealing. All of BillWho?’s
songs were taken up a notch by the extra visual onslaught.
But none compared to the Deftones’ “House of Flies”.
With Adam Fauth stuck high in the middle of a spider web…singing
amongst a delightfully macabre group of insect dancers (amazingly
choreographed by Katy Psencka) the integration of technology
and live performance was brutally effective. In past dance
portions of Shadowbox shows I always felt a small chasm between
the band and the dance. Which to look at? Now I look at BillWho?
Now I turn me head and watch the dancers. But with a big screen
between the two sides of the stage tying everything together,
this was a pleasure indeed. But it worked because it was more
rock staging than theater.
Having stated all this I have to comment that after the crowd
was initiated with the baptism of video and music to begin
the evening, Dave Barry’s monologue Man Bites Dog
never stood a chance. Try as he might Matthew Hahn…or
anybody for that matter…could not overcome the crowd’s
restlessness and lack of attention. The experience was tantamount
to Pink Floyd walking onstage to do a simple song using only
acoustic guitars immediately after the fireworks faded and
the flying pig was sleeping soundly in his pen. The piece
stood stark and alone after our eyes and ears had been over-stimulated
for an hour or so. And Dave Barry can be hilarious. But more
often than not he’s humorous at best. And that’s
a big difference in what now might be called a rock
Joshua White’s When Donnatello Danced faired
a little better. The tale of three woman who were once each
the wife of deceased Donnatello (played by Katy Psenicka,
Amy Lay, and Christina Connor) discuss their lives with him
literally over his dead body. But while entertaining the sketch
was predictable and suffered from the same starkness as the
previous Barry monologue.
There are excellent moments in the theater portion of Freak
Show 2004. Crowd favorites Cindy and Laverne (Mary Randle
and Julie Klein) exude all the freedom and relief parents
get watching their kids return to their education in “Back
to School” with side splitting hilarity. And the cheesy
daytime talk show parody “Who’s Your Daddy”
about a paternity argument involving a woman and a wolf man
had the audience howling! But it was “Wiz Kids”,
the story of a grade school competition in which the class
of Miss Hosenfeffer (Mary Randle) performed a disjointed,
dysfunctional version of “The Wizard of Oz” that
stood above the rest. Ms. Randle orchestrated the chaos onstage
with aplomb and an eye on the grand prize trip to Vegas. This
troupe excels when playing children, with an exhilaration
that will take the crowd’s collective breath away. Amy
Lay’s Dorothy, Stephanie Shull’s Glinda, and Megan
Overholt’s Witch of the West led the rest of the cast
down a rollicking brick road of yellow, culminating in a Broadway/Elton
John finale that was uproarious!!
I suppose the change in approach, utilizing giant screens,
implies the likely progression Shadowbox Cabaret was bound
to take. Especially given their recent involvement in cable
television. Yet the danger in such visual dynamics is that
many times the live performance is replaced by watching it
on television. Have you ever been to a rock concert and after
it was over realized you spent more time watching the show
on the television monitors than the band onstage? This is
the challenge Shadowbox Cabaret has presented itself. Hopefully
a balance will be struck. Otherwise you might just want to
stay home and watch their cable show “Wired” instead.
Freak Show 2004
runs through November 20th. For more information go to www.shadowboxcabaret.com.
August 18, 2004
* * * *
By Rick Brown
With a threat of rain this show
was moved indoors. PromoWest has the option and quite frankly,
I really prefer the outside stage as opposed to the “Corporate
Cave”. Outside the atmosphere is decidedly more utilitarian.
Inside there is the “corporate balcony” and ambiance
provided by a plethora of neon signs representing all things
Anheuser Busch. This company makes an awful lot of different
beers. And I emphasize the word “awful”. Still,
my wife Yvonne learned the hard way that drinking red wine
is out of the question at a rock venue with rock heads in
attendance. Twice she had to make her way to the ladies room
to salvage her blouse from permanent stain. The first time
I myself bumped into her. The second time…the uglier
of the two incidents…it was a woman we both should have
realized was the center of the universe. At least that was
her demeanor. And as the night progressed we relented to the
inevitable and shared a beer named Bud. It doesn’t taste
so good…but it doesn’t leave a mark on one’s
After a set by Missouri’s Bottle Rockets that never
got beyond pleasant, Lucinda William traipsed onstage with
her band. Everyone … especially Ms. Williams …
looked tired … as if they had just gotten off their
tour bus. This proved a good theory since the Bottle Rockets
has finished their act almost an hour and a half earlier.
And the first tune “Drunken Angel” from
1998’s Car Wheels on a Gravel Road sounded
good…albeit decidedly sluggish. But having realized
she was playing in what she called “a rock venue for
a rock crowd” both Ms. Williams and her band soon seemed
a little more inspired. Later in the concert Lucinda leaned
into her microphone and spoke of how good it was to play such
a place because all people did in those “pretty little
theaters” was sit there and stare. I suppose a singer/songwriter
who is closer to honky-tonk than today’s sanitized so-called
country music would feel more comfortable in the confines
of a rock and roll barn filled with enthusiastic wine spillers.
The vast majority of the material covered this evening came
from Williams’ aforementioned Car Wheels…
as well as the excellent 2001 release Essence with
a couple tunes from last year’s World Without Tears.
The show was basically the same as the one I witnessed last
year. But that’s not to say Lucinda Williams didn’t
deliver the goods. The gritty “Concrete and Barbed
Wire” was later superbly counter pointed by the
sweet lament of “Still I Long for Your Kiss”…both
from Car Wheels… Ms. Williams’ admitted
delight with the crowd, caused her to comment about the band
playing better because of us. And she and her band obviously
were buoyed up with the interaction. She and her cohorts closed
the somewhat short, yet satisfying show with the title track
from “Essence”, churning the tune into
a torrid, smoky Neil Young inspired (she opened for him last
summer) jam that rang so true you could feel Williams’
desperation in lines like “PLEASE help me…get
fucked up.” Guitarist Doug Pettibone’s playing
added a chilling testimony to the song’s urgency.
Returning to the stage seemingly even more invigorated Williams
and company presented a charming version of “Sweet
Side” that was quickly followed by another Essence
gem, “Blue”. Despite the absence of new
songs or any element of surprise in Lucinda William’s
performance, the passion and genuine quality of this woman’s
writing, singing and arranging cannot be denied. She proved
on this night that she is as close to rock as she is country.
Maybe I should merely call her music an American martini…with
a twist of Texas. In the future I can only hope she will play
venues that bring out her intensity as it gradually did here.
A tour of beer joints might do us all some good.
Picnic with the Pops
July 10, 2004
* * * 1/2
By Rick Brown
I always have mixed feeling about seeing someone
at Picnic with the Pops. The shows are usually enjoyable enough.
But sometimes the atmosphere … and what I mean by that
is … what you have to put up with … is sometimes
overshadowing of the show itself. Getting into the spirit
of the thing isn’t always easy. There is the heat if
you get there early to score a closer turf for your blanket.
Even if you arrive early the only people who are really going
to see anything are the ones in the “corporate table”
section. And for some reason every time I go to a show there’s
some clown flying an airplane during the performance with
advertising on it. This night it was OrthoNeuro … whatever
the hell that is … trying it’s best to ruin things.
What is it with Columbus anyway? Everything that attracts
a crowd of more than 1000 is assumed to be a Buckeye football
game? (Before you get all up in arms about my conclusion consider
this. Every year, the last Picnic with the Pops features the
Ohio State Marching Band. I hardly think they’re presenting
“Music Man”.) And did I mention the scores of
bored pre-teens wandering around tripping over everyone?
Nonetheless every year some performer attracts me. This year
it was k. d. lang. So I did my best to get into the scene.
And I made some great discoveries. Like how you should wear
running shoes and take them off when you sprawl out on your
blanket. Why? Because athletic shoes make a wonderful wine
glass holder! And make sure to bring two bottles of wine.
It’s a long performance.
Beginning all Picnics is the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.
The fact that the symphony included Wedding March
from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer’s Night’s
Dream shortly before an openly gay woman took the stage,
on the day George W. Bush railed against gay marriage in his
weekly radio address, was not lost on a large portion of the
crowd. In fact, Ms. Lang herself invited us all to move to
her native Canada if he finally won an election.
Looking beyond the airplanes, etc. k.d. lang’s performance
… as usual … was a delight. Selections from Ingénue
(her most famous recording) included “Miss Chatelaine”
and what she described as a “medley of her hit”
the powerful ballad “Constant Craving”.
Unlike some singers/musicians who perform with the symphony,
lang’s vocal prowess and lush arrangements meshed magically
with the orchestra. By the end of Roy Orbison’s “Crying”
she had a good portion of the audience on the verge of just
that. “Don’t Smoke in Bed”, “A
Kiss to Build a Dream On”… it was all good.
Lang’s most recent release, hymns of the 49th parallel,
a collection of cover tunes from fellow Canadians, was well
represented. Neil Young’s “Helpless”
was a wonderful reworking of a song that can easily …
because of its’ simplicity … become repetitive
and slow. And Jane Siberry’s “Walk in Good
Company” was wonderful. But it was Leonard Cohen’s
“Hallelujah” that highlighted the show. The
song’s slow, deliberate buildup to a joyous finale suited
Ms. Lang’s incredible strength and range to perfection.
k. d. lang may very well be the voice of her generation. At
a show a few years ago with Tony Bennett I sat and watched
her hold back, so as not to show up a legend whose voice isn’t
quite what it used to be. But on this evening there was no
holding back. And the encore of Patsy Cline”s “Three
Cigarettes in an Ashtray” was so extraordinary
… so awesome…that I almost forgot about that goddamned
airplane above us.
Go see k. d. lang. She has no peers. Just make sure you’re
in a building with a roof on it.