How can I best describe a show that brought together folk and bluegrass, jazz and swing, country and gospel and made the most joyous noise I'd heard in a while? By saying this: Lyle Lovett & His Large Band.
Back in July, Beth shared her passion for Lyle the man, his large band and her great plan in her Tuesday series of favourite albums. Although Beth's usually agreeable, she demanded that the next time Lyle was in anyone's neck of the woods, it would be in theri best interest to go and check out the show. Since I'm a good listener and maybe a bit impressionable, I snapped up tickets as soon as I saw he was heading my way. There's no telling why I'd been too stupid to see him in concert before now considering I'd enjoyed Lyle for a whyle.
Although I would have glady paid the price of the ticket just for the pleasure of seeing and hearing Lyle and the amazing Francine Reed sing What Do You Do / The Glory of Love, I got so much more. Counting Mr. Lovett, there were 18 virtuosos up on the stage of the Hummingbird Centre demonstrating their wonderful artistry and managing to look like they were having a ball at the same time. Great horns, guitars, mandolin, percussion, piano, voices, ahhhh.
When he wasn't wowing the crowd with renditions of a lot of his great tunes or generously shining the spotlight on his fellow performers, Lyle took the time to engage and amuse the audience with anecdotes about growing up in Texas, the effects of corporate branding and his local weatherman among other things. He even tied in some Toronto references and none of it sounded the least bit rehearsed or scripted.
Everyone got a chance to shine and showcase their playing and the four other singers added a real punch to the proceedings shining brightest on some of the livelier numbers where lots of space was left for them to inhabit and play in vocally. Francine Reed got two barnburning numbers to herself and the crowd was absolutely hers for every note.
The show clocked in at over two and a half hours and helped banish the fact that it was a drizzly Monday night. Many of my favourite tunes got played and included:
Since The Last Time
What Do You Do/Glory of Love
Here I Am
She's Hot To Go
If I Had A Boat
That's Right You're Not From Texas
Walk Through The Bottomland
This Old Porch
Thank you Lyle, thank you Large Band and thank you Beth for threatening me. It was a great evening and I'm glad I didn't miss it.