Tiffany and I went to see Lyle Lovett and Bonnie Raitt last night at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion last night. It was the second time I'd seen each artist - we saw Lovett at the rodeo in March and Raitt at the Venue Formerly Known As The Aerial Theater downtown a few years ago - but the first time I'd seen them on the same ticket.
It rained before the show, but for once that didn't matter, as we had covered seating instead of the usual spot on the hill. Much as I enjoy kicking back on the grass, it loses some charm when the grass is wet, and besides, it was cool this once to really be able to see the artists' faces.
Lyle Lovett went first. He's still hobbled from a run-in with a bull six months ago, as the walking cast on his leg attested. He specifically thanked the doctors that patched him up at one point. His Large Band is well-named: four horn players, three string players (fiddle, cello, upright bass), two percussionists, a pedal-steel guitar player, an electric guitar player, and a piano player, plus Lovett himself and four backup singers. They were really smoking as they charged though one barn-burner after another like "Church" and "(That's Right) You're Not From Texas", a song the Lovett introduced by saying that out of state audiences just never fully understood. He'd try to explain it to them, but "things that are worth explaining don't really need to be, you know?" We knew.
Not too surprisingly, the set ended with a standing ovation and an encore. Also not surprisingly, Raitt came onstage during the first encore to sing along. She did the same thing with Keb' Mo', the opening act at the Aerial show, except it was during his set and really did come as a surprise to me. Lovett noted that this was the third time he'd toured with Bonnie Raitt, the first time being in 1986, which was his first ever national tour. The two are clearly friends, and they have excellent chemistry onstage.
Lovett's set was fantastic. He spent a fair bit of time talking about how grateful he was to be healthy after his accident and how happy he was to be performing in Texas so he could see his momma and his family. He gave credit to the small venues like Anderson Fair, where he got his start and still sometimes shows up unnanounced. He moved from blues to gospel to western swing to rockabilly to folk without missing a beat, and the crowd loved him
Bonnie Raitt had a tough act to follow, but she was up to it. She also spent a fair amount of time talking to the audience - she was particularly amused by the large number of people wearing buttons that flashed a red light on them (something that a vendor must have been giving away), calling them "space aliens". She spoke about how happy she was to still be performing after 30 years, and how she's having fun in her fifties. (For the record, however old she is, she looks great.)
And of course, she also played some kickbutt rock and blues music. As with Lovett, a lot of her best stuff doesn't get a whole lot of airplay, but the crowd sang and danced along anyway. She saved a couple of favorites for her encore, including "I Can't Make You Love Me" and "Thing Called Love", which was done, naturally, as a duet with Lyle Lovett. They also did a rousing version of "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man" before that, accompanied by Lovett's horn section.
All in all, a wonderful evening, even if it did mean I only got five hours of sleep last night. Go see 'em if you can.
There's a brief favorable review in the Chron today, with a promise of a fuller review in tomorrow's entertainment section.Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 04, 2002 to Music