I caught this gig when it passed through town and wanted to give it a nudge. Have to start out by saying I’ve never been a big fan of John Hiatt but he completely won me over during the course of this show. I don’t feel the burning need to go out and buy or download all of his music but I have a new found respect and admiration for his songwriting and performance ethic. Ethic, yeah that’s the word. He was EXCEPTIONATELY gracious and thankful, he even thanked his guitar tech after getting axes switched out for a new song. He sang well despite not having the widest range. His delivery was impassioned and he put real effort into bringing the songs to life.
I would imagine a good part of it was being back on the road after an enforced hiatus, (Hiattus?) But the warm feelings overflowed and he repeatedly thanked the audience for being with him all these years not in a “thankyouverymuch” and on to the next song kind of way. The realness dripped off him.
Jerry Douglas was the main reason I went, as I’ve been a big fan for decades. His four piece band opens the show and you get your Douglas wizardry full speed ahead. Christian Sedelmyer, Daniel Kimbro, and Mike Seal have been with him for awhile now and the band is tight. There was one cover tune that none of us Douglas fans were expecting, but I won’t tell you what it was. You have to go see. Jerry name checked Molly Tuttle which gave me a special buzz.
After a set break, John came out and played solo for a tune or two then brought back the JDB for a lengthy set covering JH’s big hits and tunes from the JH &JDB record Leftover Feelings they recorded late last year at Nashville’s legendary RCA Studio B. I have mixed feelings about the record. I didn’t feel compelled or moved by it. But live, the songs took on more meaning, or have evolved more with live performance in the interim.
“Perfectly Good Guitar” was a highlight of the set and pushed me straight into the fanboy zone. What a fantastic sentiment and if it keeps one guitar alive, its totally worth every word. There is NO excuse for smashing a perfectly good guitar. We also got “Slow Turning”, “Thing Called Love” and all the other chestnuts Hiatt fans were craving. And as you would expect, Hiatt fans were packing the house which was full but not sold out. Their excitement was palpable, once again likely due to the pent up anticipation and sheer joy of joining other human beings in meat space for REAL LIFE music.
I don’t know if they’ve been tapped for TBF 2022, or if there is room in the schedule/budget, but it would be an inspired choice.
The current tour continues pretty much non-stop through late November. You know where to find the dates. Just go!