Last Saturday, Dave, Mom, and I went to see an awesome show at the Tabernacle. First of all, I love seeing shows at the Tabernacle. Pretty much anywhere in the house, you feel close to the show, not like you're watching a concert on TV.
Back in the late eigthies or early nineties, four singer-songwriters decided to get together a play some concerts - just the four of them and their guitars. It turned out to be a bit of a hit, and they all had so much fun that they do it again every few years. The four guys are: Lyle Lovett, Guy Clark, John Hiatt, and Joe Ely. I think everyone who's read this blog for a while or knows me, knows my love for Lyle. This is the fourth time I've seen him live. The other three times were with his "big band," though, so this was a new experience. I also have a couple Guy Clark CDs and have seen him at the 40 Watt in Athens. I hadn't seen John Hiatt or Joe Ely live before this. I've known for several years that John Hiatt is a legend in the songwriter world, but back in college when I heard some of his music, I couldn't really get into it. And I've heard of Joe Ely and seen a video for the band he was in, The Flatlanders, on CMT's Wide Open Country.
So, to the concert...
There was no opening act, and they got started only about 10 minutes after the listed showtime. It wasn't what I expected, though. I thought they'd do something similar to what Paul Simon and Bob Dylan did a few years back, which was each come out to do a couple of their own songs, then they'd all do a few songs together. Nope, it was so much more fun than that. This was Bluebird Cafe on steroids.
The four guys walked out and sat down across the front of the stage. They began from stage left to right: Clark, Ely, Hiatt, Lovett. Each sang a song, then moved on to the next one, in order round and round for two hours. Between songs, they would tell stories about the songs (Joe Ely, "I've written two songs with the word 'chihuahuah' in them. This is the second one."), or about past tours, or about each other. Lyle was the deadpan comic relief, asking John Hiatt "deep" questions about the themes and meanings of his songs. Lyle commented on the "elemental" nature of many of John Hiatt's songs with references to the earth, sky, etc. One in particular, though, is called Icy Blue Heart. Again with the elemental theme, Lyle asks about what image Hiatt had while he was writing that song. Of course, Hiatt comes back with something to the effect of "well, actually, I pictured a heart in a freezer" about as matter-of-fact as you can get.
The best thing about the show, besides the music of course, is that it really felt like we were spying on these guys sitting in a living room late one Saturday night, singing for each other and showing off their work.
It was pretty cool, too, because I wasn't sure my mom would really enjoy it. But she did. And we ran into one of my cousins and her husband at the show, too.
So now I need to go out and get some more Guy Clark and a few John Hiatt CDs - maybe even some Joe Ely, too.