March 18, 2012

Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt. Whoa.

Ever go to a show where you know one of the people playing, but not the other? 

And ever then find out at the end that the other guy, the guy you didn't know, happened to sing one of your favorite songs from your teenage years?

Yeah. Me too. Last night. Wanna hear about it?

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Charles and I started listening to Lyle Lovett when we first started dating. Much of his music fills me with that rush of adrenaline, the sudden, intense happiness of the first few months of a relationship.  

So when he comes to town, we try to go. 

He's country, sure, but even though I'm a Jersey girl, there's a lot of country-girl in me, too.  Plus, his music is funny! If you've never listened to him, you should.

Anyway, on to last night. 

He was playing an acoustic set with a guy named John Hiatt. I'd...never heard of a guy named John Hiatt. But still.  Lyle Lovett? Acoustic (my fave!)? Sign me up.

When they came on stage, the audience laughed.  It was St. Patrick's Day, so Lyle wore a kelly green suit. And if you've never seen a man in a kelly green suit...well, it looks as silly as you're picturing in your head right now.

They started to play, and to banter between sets, and they were both excellent. Strong voices. Great music. Hilarious storytelling.  

Lyle played one of Zoe's favorite songs, "If I Had a Boat."  I tried to record it for her, but Mr. Drunk Man next to Charles decided that was the perfect time to head out to yak. Gross. But still. Lyle sang it. Live. And I sang along.

I didn't know any of the John Hiatt songs, but I enjoyed him anyway. His voice was so rich! And strong. I couldn't figure out how he was just a songwriter, and not really famous in his own right.

Then, towards the end of the show, the fellas joined together in a duet performance of Lyle's song "Fiona."  They hit, together, in harmony, a huge note towards the end, and it was so beautiful and strong and amazing, and it lasted so long and was so damn intense...I punched Charles. I had to do something! So his shoulder got slugged. Sorry, honey!

So then the show ended....and we all stood in my least favorite part of any show...the obligatory "clap till they come out for the encore that you know they're going to do anyway." So we clapped. And they returned to the stage for the encore they were never not going to do.

John Hiatt picked his guitar back up. He started to play. My jaw fell slack, my eyes flew wide, and I punched Charles in the shoulder again. "He sings this?" I whispered as loud as I could.  

And then I listened.

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Back in high school, when I was a skinny, insecure, awkward teenage girl in the grunge-y 90s, I wanted so desperately to be amazing at something. Even if it meant being weird.

Enter what I'm sure was a critically-panned, angst-filled movie called Benny and Joon, about a (slightly...romantically) mentally ill girl named Joon, and her brother Benny.  Joon was quirky, but an incredible artist, and I'd watch her work, wishing I had half her talent.  (The fact that it was a movie and that I have the artistic talent of an aardvark didn't stop me from buying a couple paint sets around that time. My art career...didn't pan out.)

Add to the movie a love interest, the ever-stunning Johnny Depp, and you pretty much had my favorite movie of the time.

At one of the most intense parts of the movie comes this song. I never knew who sang it, and never bothered to look it up. I just...watched the movie sometimes, just so I could hear the song. It made me so happy, it was so beautiful.

Here it is. This is what John Hiatt sang last night.  This is what, for me, made a great show...magic.


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