Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Girls With Guitars ...

Streisand may be in town for two dates, but last night, while my sister-in-law was in the cavernous United Center, having the time of her life, I'm sure, I was cozied up to the stage at the intimate Park West to see Shawn Colvin.

Jay introduced me to Shawn's music all the way back in 1995. Somehow, I never made it to a Shawn show before last night. Luckily, Shawn was coming to town and Jay had a birthday last month, so I bought tickets for us.

I listened to Shawn in the car, concert preparation, heightening my anticipation. I found a meter right on Clark, and called Jay to tell him that I was running early (that never happens!) and that there was parking aplenty. We met at Stanley's Kitchen for an early dinner. Jay was coming from a haircut. He hates when his hair is blown dry. He thinks it's too big. But I thought it looked great. Jay has amazing hair, the kind of hair women would kill for.

We got to the Park West just about 6:30. The tix were general admission, but unlike for past shows where the area in front of the stage is open, last night there were tables, long tables, radiating out from the stage, and chairs on each side of each table. With no reserved signs. Since Jay is the bigger fan, I suggested he decide where we sit. He chose well. He was in the second chair from the stage. I was behind him, in the third. I've never been so close to a stage for a show.

Mike was there with his 16-year-old daughter, Nicole. Some other fans made their way to the seats across from Jay and me. We didn't catch their names. The woman wasn't as much of a fan as her boyfriend/husband, but she came with him, as girlfriends/wives do. He, though, put the "fan" in fanatic. But I guess it's a good thing to be that committed to something ... or someone.

Brandi Carlile was the opening act, but she wasn't just another girl with a guitar. Oh no. Brandi, whom I'd never heard of before last night but who has a deal with Columbia, rocks. She reminds me a bit of Melissa Etheridge with an occasional Springsteen rasp. But her range is amazing, and her voice is gorgeous. She's written a song for "Grey's Anatomy," which she performed, and told the crowd that we needed to get rowdy, at which point she launched into "Folsom Prison Blues." It takes some stones to cover Johnny Cash, but she rocked it.

Shawn Colvin took the stage with Buddy Miller and her drummer, whose name, sadly, I forget, a raven-haired Laraine Newman. Shawn was amazing. I was thrilled for Jay to be so close to someone he loves so much. Buddy Miller knocked me on my ass. He's an astonishing guitar player. Simply astonishing. He plays a guitar like no one I've ever seen. If you ever have the chance to see him, you must go. And he has a great voice, too. Amazing man.

Even though we were so close to the stage, there's something about fixing my gaze that makes that which I'm gazing at start to look unreal. Maybe it's the lighting. I focused my eyes elsewhere and returned them to Shawn. She put on an amazing set.

On our feet at the end of the show, Shawn returned to the stage with Brandi. Brandi played guitar and sang. Shawn added her voice. When Brandi left the stage, Shawn shook her head and said, "If that girl learns to sing, she's really gonna go places."

Brandi, I've no doubt, has some Grammys in her future.

There was only time for one more song. The set, great though it was, was over too soon.

I asked Nicole if she enjoyed the show. "Oh, yeah!" she beamed. A new generation of Shawn fans. Well-deserved.

And I listened to Shawn in the car on the way home, cementing the experience. And I sang along, singing atypical songs (for my voice) and they felt good.


Blogger Newsandseduction said...

interesting profile.

8:44 PM  
Blogger Jeff Hunter said...

You went to that and you could have seen FexEx for free? The shame you must feel...

11:29 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

No, no, dear, Shawn was Tuesday night. K-Fed was Wednesday. I thought about going, for the blog fodder, but I think I've bashed the poor dude enough. By the way, the review in the Chicago Sun-Times of the show is both funny and scathing!

11:31 AM  
Blogger Jeff Hunter said...

ah, all is forgiven...

3:22 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

: o )

3:24 PM  

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