Sunday, November 13, 2005

Four Guys with Guitars

I saw that Lyle lovett, Joe Ely, John Hiatt, and Guy Clark were playing at the Disney Concert Hall in LA and got it in my head that I wanted to see them. These are four singer-songwriters from Texas, not twangy country-western, more country-folk. I am most familiar with Hiatt and Lovett. I barely know Joe Ely's stuff. Guy Clark I am only aware of because Lovett did a song of his on his CD "Come into This House." In fact, Clark's song is the title Clark. I also know of Clark through a contribution on a CD tribute to Townes Van Zandt.

Billy Canary had been interested in going, but had to back out. I thought about asking a couple of people, but decided to go on my own. I had a stressful week and just decided it would be good to get away from people.

Also, the concert was sold out, so I was going through the cancellation Line. I figured one person would stand a better chance of getting a ticket than two.

I planned on leaving early enough to be there two hours before the concert. It was a good thing, because traffic was pretty bad. That's the problem with Southern California these days. What used to be an hour drive can actually be a two-hour drive. I was slowed down by traffic jams four times during my two-way trip--once by ordinary congestion, once by a break-down, twice by accidents.

I arrived at the Disney Hall and the line was short. After standing in line for about 1/2 hour, I got a ticket for the Orchestra West. This gave me a nice, slightly angular view of the performers.

They audience received the quartet warmly as they walked out. They took there seats, just four singers and four guitars.

Guy Clark announce that there had been "no planning, no set list, and no rules" and then performed "LA Freeway," which was a hit for Jerry Jeff Walker. Clark is probably the least famous of the four because, while he made records, his songs have been made famous by others.

I had not heard the song before, but it was tasty. As he finished, some guy across the hall from my seat let out a huge "Wahoo!" to which Clark replied, "As long as I can reach just one person..."

Clark then introduced Ely. And so the evening progressed, with each singer playing a tune and handing the spotlight to the singer on his right.

The Wahoo Guy wahooed several times throughout the evening. In fact, he tried to control the show. He clapped along with the songs enthusiastically, and always off by a beat. Every other song, he yelled out a request to either Joe or John, couldn't tell which, for one particular song, couldn't tell what.

I don't think they ever played it. It reminded me of something I heard Steve Martin say when he still did stand-up. Guys like that can really mess with a performer's concentration. They could have taken the man's request, but that would have given control to one guy in the audience, who might not ever stop making requests. So, they just smiled up at this fellow and kept with their format.

The guitar solos were all handled by Ely and Hiatt. All four would occasionally harmonize with whomever was singing. It seemed unplanned, which made it all the more lovely. Lovett acted as MC. Among the best tunes were "Baby Don't Tolerate," "My Chihuahua," "Real Fine Love," "Come into This House," and "If I had a Boat."

They closed there initial set with a Carter Family tune that I did not recognize. They came out for one encore, each singing another tune, then closing together as a quartet with "This Land Is Your Land."

Great concert.

They are moving up to San Francisco, Oregon, and Washington this week.


Donita said...

Sounds like a nice evening. Sometimes it's best to go to some things alone. That way the experience is all your own.

Getting away from people was probably the right thing to do after the trauma of getting ripped off the other day. How are you today?

Donita said...
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