“…so for us, it was a very difficult time indeed. This song kind of sums it up, really quite well. Tonight, I’m going to dedicate this song to Rex Tillerson.” Roger Daltrey’s intro to “Another Trick Day”, performing before a relatively intimate crowd at the Bob Hope Theatre in Stockton on Tuesday night, given that he is the front man for one of the bands most anyone would name as one of the greatest of all time. This was my first time seeing any incarnation of The Who live on stage, and I was struck by how much Daltrey seemed to enjoy it himself. A born performer with boundless energy and enthusiasm, he is also a storyteller, giving background, stories, contest and inspiration behind the music that he and The Who Band played for the crowd. And that crowd… one of the best ones I’ve stood among in some time, looking around, it would seem to almost be a religious experience for a lot of the people who turned out for the show.
“I’m going to play really small tonight…” Kristin Hersh at the start of her special show at City Winery Napa. I would have to say that it was maybe the most quotable concert I’ve ever attended, filled with an endless number of interesting comments and observations throughout her set, which was a mix of poetry readings and music from her various projects recorded under her own name, Throwing Muses, and 50 Foot Wave. The setting within the beautiful, candle lit venue seemed perfect (Kristin’s first words coming out to the stage and mic was, “it’s so romantic here…”). Her comment about playing small was inspired by her own characterization of her setlist (“the tiniest setlist ever!“), which was about half the size of a Post-It Note, double-sided. But Kristin always seems to do things different; her own way… and sees the world I think a lot differently from the rest of us, which makes her works all the more compelling (in words, sound, and delivery). Quite the artist, it is interesting how she does not limit her expression to her incredible music, but also gives us glimpses into her world via words printed on paper (“I’m going to read books at you tonight…“). She has a sort of funny, quirky, open, and honest presentation which is somewhat disarming, in that she will then tear into a raw and emotional (powerful) song that is a shock to the system. A singular artist, I get the sense every show she does – even the “small” ones like last night – are quite unique journeys unto themselves. Certainly one of the more gifted and unique artists of her generation (and a real pioneer in terms of creating new pathways for women in music), she is definitely worth turning out to see live if you get the opportunity, and I would say the solo show is even more interesting than the traditional Throwing Muses concert (like the one I reviewed about a year ago).