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So last night, almost three decades later, I finally saw her in concert. Sadly, I was less than completely impressed.
Oh, there was plenty of classic Stevie all right. Some of the things you'd expect at one of her concerts--the voice, the shawl, the spinning--those were there, and much appreciated. It was mostly her playlist that sucked.
It was a bad omen when I didn't even know the first sang she sang. I knew the second song, Outside The Rain, but it was a very minor song of hers; in fact, I doubt it was ever even on the radio. Dreams was the first big song of hers that she sang.
We got Dreams. We got Rhiannon. We got Edge of Seventeen. We got Stand Back. And we got Landslide. But really, no Sara? No Seven Wonders? No Gypsy? No Rooms On Fire? No Silver Springs? She could do some song by Bob Seger that nobody's ever heard of, and do a Led Zeppelin song, but couldn't do one of those? Really? Compare the list of songs she did to the list of songs she didn't do--is the latter the lesser list? And to add to all that, it seemed a short concert--didn't have my watch so I couldn't tell for sure, but the warm-up act started well after 8, and we were in front of another casino asking for the time at quarter to 11.
Before the show started I was telling the friend I went with that I'd bet she'll have the two backup singers she's had on all her albums, Lori and Sharon. And I hoped against hope that she wouldn't have that nasty, grungy individual, Waddy Wachtel, as her guitarist.
As soon as everyone was on stage, I recognized Wachtel immediately. I don't like him, never have, never will. He may even be a good guitarist, but I don't like him as a person. I was disappointed that he was there.
I couldn't see one of the backup singers, but I could tell the other had dark hair. I asked my friend if the one I couldn't see had lighter hair, and he confirmed she did. Sharon and Lori. Nailed it.
Stevie's over 60 years old, but she still put on a good show. She didn't hit every high note in the songs--didn't even try--but it was still her voice that I heard. It sounded good. She sounded good. I felt good.
I'm not disappointed I went. I'm just disappointed that it could have been so much better.
The show was at the Harvey's outdoor amphitheater, very near to the lake itself. It was about 80 degrees during the day in Tahoe yesterday, which is about as close to perfect weather that you can get there. And even though by the end of the concert there was a slight chill in the air, it wasn't cold at all. For a summer concert series, it's a prime venue.
I had a much better view of Stevie with my eyes than I apparently did with my camera, and the sound was much better in person than what my instant camera recorded, but here are a few short clips:
If Anyone Falls
Guitar intro to Edge of Seventeen just won't load. Sorry.
Update, 8/12/10: Linked by the New York Times: