Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lucinda Williams Live at Nautica Stage Cleveland July 17, 2011

A hot steamy night in Cleveland. With the Cuyahoga river behind her Lucinda gave a pretty fine performance.

The show started fairly slowly, with Lucinda and band playing some fine versions of slower material with nice feeling and solid jams. In fact I thought this was the best part of the show, the band interplay and the slow grind of many of these songs, and Lucinda's most poignant vocals. They started cooking a little harder near the end, but if you don't like her languid stuff you're going to want for more.

The set was rich in great songwriting, of course, with Blue, Drunken Angel, Joy, 2 Cool 2 Be 4-Gotten, World Without Tears (slow and smoking hot!), Honey Bee (hard rocking near the show's end), and Essence, which she did twice. The first time through, her voice cracked into a cough, and the band jammed out the song to it's end. Near the end of the show Lucinda called for a second take, and they burned the house down with Essence's slow smolder. 

The new record  was represented by Buttercup, Born To Be Loved, and Blessed, and all three were excellent. She went back to her early work for a hard-rockin' version of Changed The Locks, and it was nice to have a little angry Lucinda in the mix. I think she did Fruits Of My Labor. They did a knock-out version of Steven Still's For What It's Worth during the encore. Everything was really quite fine, with Lucinda's singing a highlight throughout.

The bass of David Sutton and drums of Butch Norton were tight and both players were locked in. Norton was outstanding. Val McCallum's guitar was mostly perfect, but he seemed to lose his way a few times.

Amos Lee opened the show, and brought a skilled band with him to flesh out his laid-back material. I'm not familiar with his work or material, but he and the band were up to the task. They were enjoyable.

Lucinda's putting on a fine show, and the tour is coming to your town. Go. Listen. Enjoy.

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