2008-04-10 - 12:45 p.m.
Last night I attended the Nerdy Middle-Aged White Folks Convention....
Note: cropped pants with socks and sensible loafers on the woman in front of me:
...i.e. the Nick Lowe/Robyn Hitchcock show at the Grand Ballroom!
It was great! One of the best live shows I've seen in years, in terms of performance, song choices, sound quality, comfort, emotional complexity...and surprises:
Hey, that's Elvis C (he joined Nick and Rob on the encore)!
Robyn and Nick both performed solo/acoustic, which was perfect. Both men were in fine voice--especially Nick Lowe who sings like a rockabilly angel--and good guitar-slingin' form, and they both did a pleasing mix of old and new songs.
It was the shortest set I'd ever seen him do, but then I don't think I've ever seen him open for anyone else.
(And he came back for the awesome encore, so....)
Nick Lowe seemed to think he had to do the old hits (and indeed sounded great on "Cruel to Be Kind" and "Peace, Love..."), but I was just as happy to hear his excellent new and '90s material, including a lovely "Beast in Me" and a stunning "I Live on a Battlefield."
When Elvis came out at the end, I had ten seconds of "hey neat!" and then felt a little sorry that he was causing such hoopla amongst the audience, because frankly the other two guys were doin' great without him. But it was a nice moment. If a bomb had taken them out, I would have lost about 3/5 of the most influential songwriters in my life (and no doubt half the audience could say the same).
And the ballroom itself is quaint and lovely:
Regular people can stop reading here, because now I get trivial/personal.
A word about the audience.
I don't see a ton of big live shows, and when I do perhaps there's something about the venues I go to that don't invite people-watching, but last night was like This Is Your Life, Nodding Acquaintance Edition.
I saw co-workers past and present (who I didn't know liked either artist), local celebrities (Eugene Mirman, Todd Barry, Steve Wynn), old neighbors from my Hoboken days, WFMU-ers, some past Nerve dates(!), my boyfriend's cousin, some old friends of my ex-husband's, and many faces (w/o names) that I used to see all the time at clubs when I was a lot more night-crawling.
It was nice, and a little sad, to comprehend just how many people have traipsed in and out of my life. But it was also strangely moving to think that we'd all come together again to watch this show performed by two gracefully aging men who represent all that is wonderful about the music of our young adulthood. It was like we'd died and gone to alt-rock singer/songwriter heaven.
(Much clearer photos are up at this fellow's Flickr site.)
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