"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

11.16.2005

last week in live music, 2: dwight yoakam

Thanks to being caller nine on KVET's free ticket giveaway, Ginger and I went to Dwight Yoakam's show at Stubb's on Saturday night. It was somethin'. And by somethin', I mean, the crowd was something else. I got to Stubb's a lot. A whole lot. And I didn't realize until Saturday that I always see the same people there. There are a couple thousand people in Austin who always manage to get tickets for the big alt.country and indie rock shows, and while no two audiences are always the same, you generally see the same people at, say, Son Volt's SXSW set as you do at Iron and Wine/Calexico six months later. So you get to where you recognize people and we're all secure in our general hipness, excellent taste in music, and skill at buying tickets within five minutes of their going on sale.

By and large, these people were not at Dwight Yoakam. No, this crowd was a lot more diverse. There were some of the hipsters, and some boys dressed all country but giving away the fact that they're city boys the minute they pulled out their tiny cell phones and I-talian leather keyrings. But that was definitely the minority. So who was there? Put one way, we amused ourselves before the show started by playing "Count the mullets." Put another way, it's been a very, very, very long time since I've been at a concert where women actually tossed their thongs onto the stage. Then again, there's no denying that Yoakam is hot. Beyond hot. (I won't put what Ginger said about him (in church, no less!) because it would probably cause my blog to be filtered out by your family-friendly servers. Suffice it to say it involves the words "on-a-stick.")

But I digress. The show was fantastic. Yoakam really knows how to entertain and the two hour, fifteen minute set was a perfect balance of almost all of his hits with a little bluegrass, great acoustic stuff, and fun covers thrown in for good measure. He is not a Nashville studio act; that voice is for real and so are his songwriting and guitar-playing skills. He played great stuff off the new album, Blame the Vain, and covers of Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me" and John Prine's "Spanish Pipedream. " The Prine was part of the late-middle portion of the concert during which Yoakam played several bluegrass and acoustic numbers. The crowd wasn't particularly thrilled with this, but I really thought it was the best part. My favorite part then (and of the evening overall) was his cover of Prine's "Paradise" which led into "Bury Me," the lead-off track on one of my favorite albums, dwightyoakamacoustic.net. That voice and that guitar and those lyrics and that music under the open sky in Austin...well, it was just great. And you can't beat the price.

Next up on the live music calendar: Jeff Tweedy's solo show in Kingston, NY on Friday night. The setlists from these shows have been amazing so far. I can't wait!!!

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