|Lyle Lovett & John Hiatt - photo by John V|
John Hiatt & Lyle Lovett have both spent their careers as singer-songwriters defying the expectations of listeners, and providing us with some excellent music. Hiatt has had his songs recorded by many artists, including Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Roseanne Cash & Marshall Crenshaw. Like Mr. Hiatt, Lovett continues to dive into multiple musical genres, including country, folk & the blues, most recently on 2012’s album Release Me. The two friends are out on the road for a brief acoustic tour, which made a stop on Saturday, May 2 at New Haven’s newly opened College Street Music Hall. It was a spellbinding evening of songs, stories & excellent performances. Since the venue is located in New Haven, Connecticut, the duo took the stage carrying pizzas from two of the area’s most celebrated pizza palaces, Pepe’s & Sally’s. It was a running joke during the show, including Lovett’s assertion that Hiatt was playing for “Team Pepe’s.”
The show was fantastic, with both men trading the spotlight, and backing each other on their performances. The artists also took requests which were shouted out by audience members, but it was Hiatt that seemed most energized by doing so, especially on memorable performances of “Icy Blue Heart “ and “Memphis in The Meantime.” Lovett also got into the act, playing “North Dakota” and “If I Had A Boat,” after continuous cajoling from fans. As the two artists took turns playing songs and trading stories & a few laughs, it was clear they had tremendous respect for one another. Hiatt was amazing on guitar & harmonica, and he absolutely tore up the place on a dazzling version of Lovett’s “My Baby Don’t Tolerate,” which was one of the show’s highlights, along with a fantastic rendition of Hiatt’s own “Tennessee Plates.” Some of the other great tunes included Lovett’s version of Michael Frank’s “White Boy Lost In The Blues” and Hiatt’s “Real Fine Love.” It was a thrilling evening of music, and the audience loved every minute of the show.
There is something so uplifting about seeing wonderful artists like this in their element, doing what they do best. And hey, if this music thing doesn’t work out for them, maybe they can start a new career as pizza guys! ;) As a fan of both performers, I can tell you the show exceeded my expectations. If you get the chance to see Hiatt or Lovett together, or when they're playing their own shows, I highly recommend checking them out. A few words about the College Street Music Hall; located on the site of the former Palace Theatre, it’s a warm venue with good acoustics. It can be set up for seated or standing room shows. The staff was warm and helpful, and the well designed bar area (located at the rear of the theater) has a good selection. It’s great that the New Haven area has a live music venue like this once again. I look forward to seeing more shows there in the future. Here's a link to a performance of "My Baby Don't Tolerate" by Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt & Joe Ely: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikhlGUJqa98.