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.


Shoey said...

Still can't figure out how someone who fell out of the ugly tree, almost as badly as Andrew Lloyd Webber, ever managed to hook up with Julia Roberts.

DarceysDad said...

@ Shoey - no doubt it would turn out to be a variation on the classic - "He made me laugh"

@ sourpus - Twice I've had tickets to see Lyle; twice we've failed to make it into the same room (one fault apiece). You're not exactly cheering me up here, mate!!


Mnemonic said...

One's craggy, interesting ugly; the other's just blobby.

sourpus said...

DD, they're on their way to the UK shortly - I was just trying to encourage a few potential waverers to go for it.

Regarding Mr Lovett (I wonder if he has a penny for every time somebody says 'Lovett? I bet you do?') I was indeed one and have now been convinced.

Incidentally, I thought the 'blobby' one gave the best performance on the night, although my hat is now off to the 'craggy' one as well.

Shoey, ive heard that charm goes quite a long way, closely followed by intelligence, money, talent and fame.

Of course, i'm no expert, but I would say that Lyle actually pulled off handsome pretty well in Vienna, to say nothing of his roguish charm and air of sophistication. Even Lloyd Webber (possessing only two of these) managed to spend more than a few entertaining evenings with Sarah Brightman.

Speaking for myself, I've never allowed my more Mr Average qualities to get in the way of romance!

Mnemonic said...

When I said blobby, I meant ALW, not John Hiatt.

Mnemonic said...

On the attractions of apparently repulsive men, never forget the classic Mrs Merton question to Debbie McGee.

"So, what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?"

Bound to say, from the little I know of Paul Daniels as a private person (connected to my job at one time), he also possesses kindness, charm and a nice sense of humour.

sourpus said...

Mnemonic, surely Lyle is the craggy but interesting one lookswise? The thing I noticed about their looks was the hair - both of them had the most unusual style. Lyle has this electric shock, Dylan-esque, upward growth anyway, but Johnny blow-dries his to the back so it actually points backwards in a spike. Most peculiar.

Funny set of comments though. I thought this was the obvious place to get something going about her great these two are as songwriters, and its turned into an episode of Trinny and Susannah!

Mnemonic said...

Sorry sourpus, but my original comment was a reply to Shoey, who thought Lyle Lovett was almost as ugly as Andrew L-W and wondering how he ever managed to marry Julia Roberts. So, LL interesting and craggy, Andrew L-W, blobby. John Hiatt never came into the comparison at all.

Mnemonic said...

Of course, if Lyle wrote music like Andrew L-W, I'd be as mystified as Shoey as to why he pulled Julia.

sourpus said...

Sorry Mnemonic, I was being a bit thick, wasnt I? Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt together anyway, with bare acoustic backing - works for me and I think many Spillers (such as yourselves) would agree. I dont know what the ticket situation is for Shepherds Buch Empire, nor how difficult it would prove to get there, but i'm still gonna recommend it as more than worth the effort expended.

TracyK said...

Really not my usual sort of thing at all, but- gosh, that was something quite beautful. Thanks Ash!

treefrogdemon said...


Shoey, FYI from my perspective:

Lyle Lovett - come round any time

ALW - never never never (and did I say 'never'? Just checking.)

Mnemonic said...

Thanks sourpus for bringing this to our attention. I now have a free ticket to see John Hiatt, Lyle Lovett and Joe Ely at Bush Hall (150-200 capacity) on Sunday where they are being filmed for BBC4.

Green with envy up in Yorkshire said...

WOW! Bugger.

sourpus said...

Wow, Mnemonic, it is you who are the lucky one!

I've seen all three of the aforementioned gentlemen now, but all together HAS to be a treat!

I saw Butch Hancock and Jimmy Dale Gilmour play a pub in Leicester once (Joe Ely was supposed to be there - a reformed Flatlanders - but couldn't make it, for unspecified reasons) and it was one of the great nights of my life.
Had a good old drunken chat with the two of them afterwards as well, due to the fact that there were only about 50 of us there in the first place. Brilliant!