Last night I saw Lyle Lovett and Shawn Colvin in concert at the Taft Theater in downtown Cincinnati. I brought along the missus because it was a perfect date night show: acoustic, sit-down, 8 p.m. start time on a “school night.” Plus, my wife is a big fan of Lyle, and I love Shawn… win-win.
Both of them took turns joking around with each other… and playing songs from their rich catalogs, with the other person adding harmony vocals on quite a few tunes.
Just for fun, Shawn threw in bits of a couple of show tunes (“Edelweiss” from The Sound of Music and “Try to Remember” from The Fantasticks) because those were the type of albums her parents had (along with albums from folk singers like Pete Seeger and The Kingston Trio). She also played the Talking Heads “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)” during the encore – brilliant! [Sidebar: She’s always been great at covering songs from other folks. Steve Earle gives her a lot of credit for helping him turn his life around: “When my [drug] habit had taken me out of everything, she recorded my song, “Someday.” That was a little light in a lot of darkness. Part of me originally starting thinking that maybe I was worth saving.”]
A few observations about the gig:
- Both Lyle and Shawn have 30+ years of performing under their belt (Lyle’s debut album came out in ’86, Shawn’s in ’89) and their voices are still amazing. (Videos below are songs from their respective debuts.)
- Lyle could easily have been a stand-up comedian, in the Richard Wright mold… he’s got a deadpan delivery that lands subtle punchlines every time, and is a master of the pregnant pause.
- They were able to command an audience of 2,000 with just their voices and their acoustic guitars because their songwriting is so strong.
Toward the end of the show, Lyle mentioned “Shawn and I would be doing this anyway if we went over to each other’s houses… thank you for letting us pass this off as a ‘show’.” But he’s being too humble, as usual. Sure, if I were picking the set list, I might’ve chosen a few different tunes than the ones they performed, but there’s a magic in their words and their voices that’s rare indeed.
Lyle also said that being able to do what you love every day is truly a blessing. Here’s hoping they keep sharing their incandescent talents with us for many years to come.