Thursday, March 11, 2010
"You make me vibrate" John Hiatt told the crowd at Irving Plaza. He shook his body and went into a fist pumping version of Cry Love. Hiatt is the master of spoken intros. He draws you into the song with a story. If he doesn't love his "job", then I'm the Pope. He has fun with the audience. He appeased a fan's request for Ethylene, which ignited a request shouting frenzy. He's the ultimate song craftsman as evident in his performances of Feels Like Rain and Real Fine Love. The latter opened with a melodic, beautiful guitar interaction by Hiatt and his guitarist/ Nashville-based producer Doug Lancio.
Hiatt's shows are informed by his band and his song arrangements admirably change with each incarnation. This band, The Combo, which includes original Goners drummer Ken Blevins felt like a meeting point between previous bands, the Goners (Sonny Landreth on guitar) and The Guilty Dogs (Michael Ward on guitar): a little blues, country and rock. Lancio was forefront as the show had a prominent jamming element.
John has a great catalog of road songs. His most recent recording is the The Open Road and the band performed the title track. Last night's set would be a great soundtrack for any road trip. Drive South, a love song about getting away from it all was heard early on and it primed the crowd for the joy ride that followed. Tennessee Plates is an ironic play on the title: steal a Cadillac and you're doing time making license plates. John sang with a preacher's enthusiasm in Memphis in the Meantime and rounding out the road tunes was Riding With The King. It wasn't all songs about driving as Hiatt closed the show with a Whiter Shade of Pale-inspired rendition of what has to be his most covered song, the revered Have A Little Faith In Me.
Like Keith Urban, John Hiatt respects and appreciates his fans. John thanked everyone for spending their money to come out and see him in such hard economic times. Following these comments, the guy behind me yelled, "I was on the guest list". You have to love a NY crowd.