Without a doubt, Shawn Colvin is one of my favorite live performers. She mixes her excellent catalog of songs with brilliant covers and then usually throws in some great stories and fun audience banter. She is easily one of the best guitarists in the singer/songwriter category and her performances always seem effortless. We were up front and center for Saturday night's show at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano. She has played there many times before and comes back because of the great audiences, good sound and mediocre food (just a joke there... at least the food is consistent). We got everything we came for, except the stories. She seems to be out of stories at the moment and that is fine because I've heard her tell old stories before, and it always seems disappointing when I already know where it is going. If you doubt that the whole crowd is waiting for stories, it was obvious early on when someone yelled out, "Tell us a story" and you could almost here the rest of the crowd go, "yeah, tell us one Shawn". She did talk briefly about the Grammy's and her daughter saying the "S" word when Steve Earle beat her out for the award.
When my seats are up front, they always seem to be on the right and I never get a good look at Shawn's guitar work. But on this night, we were right there and watching her play is almost as exciting as actually listening to the songs. As for the songs, she pretty much skipped over her last CD and played most of the favorites we came to hear. She took requests, in her own way and time of course. The highlight for me though was finally getting to hear the long version of Polaroids. For those who haven't heard it, after completing the song, she starts playing cover songs that have the same beat and sound. There is a KSCA live session, for those of you who recorded these things, that has it and which I've lived off of for 15 years. I'm guessing many of the people hadn't heard that version and when I yelled out, in the middle of it "Ebony and Ivory" and then she started playing it, well, they thought she was actually listening to me. The reality was, I think she was about to go there anyway. But everyone around me gave me this WTF look. It was great.
We met a lot of nice people, including another big Sam Phillips fan. It is one of the reasons I love going to the Coach House: Always cool people to meet. And as always, we left just short of two hours later very satisfied and looking forward to Shawn's next visit.
Lots on our music schedule this month. Friday we are headed down to Solana Beach to see Steve Poltz's CD release party at The Belly Up. And the Friday after that is Raul Malo back at the Coach House.