This show was the 20th time I have seen Lyle Lovett. His music has been the sound track to my life for nearly thirty years. Lovett’s songs are some of the most beautiful, dark, romantic, and funny ever written. His live shows are a mixture of almost every musical genre with some of the most talented musicians on the planet.
|Lyle Lovett and His Large Band (It’s not Big It’s large)|
Opener Emmylou Harris cancelled her performance due to illness. It was disappointing because I was hoping her and Lovett would perform together. She sung on Pontiac one of my favorite Lyle Lovett albums. But this meant more Lyle so who can complain.
The Large Band started the evening with the big band inspired The Blues Walk. After that big booming swing song, Lyle Lovett entered the stage with his long time backing vocalist Francine Reed and Denver’s own Free to Worship Choir. They performed the traditional gospel hymn I’m a Solider in the Army of the Lord, the very non-traditional Lovett penned Church, followed by the standard I Will Rise Up. It was powerful enough to give this non-believer some faith.
Lovett paid tribute to recently departed singer-song writer Guy Clark by performing Clark’s Step Inside This House. Lovett joked that his violin player Luke Bulla had the privilege to write a song with Clark and Lovett only got the privilege to ride a bus with him. After the story, Luke Bulla performed his Clark co-written song Temperance Reel.
|Sunset with Lyle (photos by the Rock and Roll Princess)|
Another highlight was the 1929 Albert E. Brumley hymn, I’ll Fly Away. Lyle Lovett and Emmylou Harris performed the song together in 1996 for the Kennedy Center Honors for Johnny Cash. I guess this was when Harris normally joins the band during the tour. The performance was moving despite her absence.
Lovett introduced The Large Band members between performing the hits If I had a Boat, She’s No Lady, and Bears. He explained that saxophone player Brad Leall is a professor at University of North Texas during the school year and plays in the band on his summer vacation. Lovett also conducted a comical interrogation with cello player John Hagen who only gave one-word answers about his childhood in Casper, Wyoming. Hagen left as soon as he graduated from high school and went to college at the University of Texas where he met Lovett more than 30 years ago.
Lovett expressed his gratitude to the audience stating, he was “thankful to perform in such a nice venue surrounded by these big buildings.” This was his understated way to express he missed playing Red Rocks Amphitheatre. The crowd started to chant “Red Rocks.” Lovett quieted them by asking them not to behave like a presidential debate.
|Denver’s own Free to Worship Choir|
The Free to Worship Choir came back for the closing hymn Pass Me Not. Almost everyone in the band took turns singing a verse making them all smile. It was fitting because everyone in the crowd had a smile on their face as they left the venue surrounded by big buildings.
See you at the next show. I will be the one wondering if Emmylou Harris is feeling better.