AWESOME. Personal, very clever, funny, relaxed, and some of the best music I’ve ever heard live.
Arthur and I had a date for dinner and (thanks to a great friend) complimentary tickets to the Lyle Lovett acoustic concert in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The venue had room for maybe 1200 people. It was the perfect size with great acoustics.
The last time I ran into Lyle was in 2002 at a restaurant north of Houston. We first met at Kerrville early on and even shared a bill in Austin. (Well actually he had the early show and I had the later one).
Going to a concert by someone I know, no matter how well, makes me antsy. I want so much for things to work great. All of the questions pop up: Have the years treated him or her well? Do they still have the magic and chops that made me admire them all those years before? An entertainer’s personal as well as professional life bounces between extremes, but a true fan pulls for the artist always.
Lyle Lovett blew me away. Last night he seemed at his peak as a writer, performer, and entertainer. Sitting in the audience Row 10 Seat 11 was an absolute joy for me from the start to the finish of the evening.
Some of the things I learned that I won’t ever forget are
1) Having exceptional musicians play with you elevates the experience for everyone. (Less experienced performers often shy away from situations where they could be overshadowed or out shown.) Not only were Lyle’s band members exceptional players but they also cared and put a ton of work into making the show have great dynamics and variety. It flowed and each player was given respect, the honor of being a unique personality, and chances to showcase his best skills. It was not a competition. Their job was not to keep their heads down and make Lyle look good. No sir. It felt like a posse of friends with Lyle at the lead.
2) Lyle does Lyle Lovett better than anyone I can imagine. His style is a paintbox of styles and flavors. Gospel to jazz with everything in-between. I have the feeling that somewhere along the line he “got it,” be who you are because you are the only one this planet will ever see.
3) Humility, humor, and cleverness are icing on the cake when the performers have it all together musically. The audience gets to relax and drink it all in.
The next album he releases is going to fill my acoustic world over and over.
The first song I heard Lyle sing around the campfires was “closing time”