Friday, February 5, 2010
Share your good fortune
This week, I caught the train to Vienna to see these two guys, on the second date of their first mutual European tour, trade songs in a small club - 700 people. I didnt have tickets, but a nice man at the door helped us out. Although I'd seen John Hiatt play once before (Glastonbury Acoustic Tent, 1994 - fantastic stuff) the last time I'd bought a Lyle Lovett album was 24 years earlier and had never been inspired to check his live act out, viewing his subsequent work as a little too staid for my taste. As I stood by the door, I had a few doubts whether I would enjoy both men's contributions equally. I needn't have worried.
In fact, the only thing to worry about, as the two men, dressed respectfully in lapel jackets and ties, took the stage with beaming smiles, was the amount of air left to breath for a whole two hours. Having been let into the concert room itself (from an adjoining bar) we were let to stand for a whole hour longer, squeezed together in a small room, packed front to back - listening to Lyle's albums whispering away in the background. I was near the front and a middle aged woman not more than a few steps from me fainted away during the first few songs and had to be lifted out. The two men, sat on stools, picked up where they left off after she was taken out; respectful, but careful not to lose the mood they were carefully creating. The average age of the audience was about 55, but everyone stood their ground and listened - what was unfolding in front of us was just too good to miss, whatever the personal cost.
The banter between the boys was subdued and occasionally witty, but mostly just what you would expect to hear if they were sat on the back porch with their guitars - no pre-prepared anecdotes nor rehearsed build ups. This was literally just good old, off the cuff, banter, punctuated with some of the best songs you could ever wish to hear, joined together by a vague 'you play one and I'll answer it' kind of idea. Sure, they'd obviously worked out what they were going to play in advance, but it came across as additive free and refreshing. How many legs and feet must have been aching after the two hours plus was up I'll never know, but I'm certain everybody walked home as if they were on a carpet of duck down after taking it all in. Two truly great songwriters shared a stage and shared it with us. I can't recommend it enough.