Monday, January 19, 2009

Leather Pants: The New Cloth Coat, Dept.

A very few thoughts regarding yesterday's Obama concert on the National Mall:

1) GOD, Republicans must be hating this. I mean, like, imagine you walk into your bedroom, and some guy is banging your wife, and, instead of shooting him, you have to stand there and hear your wife, your kids, your neighbors and your family tell you how he's so much better for her than, you know, YOU.

2) Bruce was great, Mellencamp was great, Garth Brooks was great. And, for some reason, it had to do--at least in part--with the fact that they were each fronting a choir. I'm not normally a fan of the choir backdrop--particularly that wall o' gospel calculated to signify "grits'n'gravy/chicken'n'waffles" for European-American Singers--because it tends to be used to take songs to church that would be better taken to the in-store sound system at the Wal-Mart in West Hell. But the setting supported the big emotions, which, except for Joe Biden's flame-out on labor--I half expected him to break out into "I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night" like Joan Baez in horrible drag--were expressed in a restrained and in no way Billy-"White Shoes"-Johnson-in-the-end-zone mood. I particularly loved seeing the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington behind Josh Groban and Heather Headley's "My Country 'Tis of Thee." Fuck YOU, McCain/Palin '08 in your entirety. I am not so admirably restrained and will do the Funky Chicken in your face.

3) Please, someone, ANYone: explain to me how has a career in music.

4) "Sylvia's Mother" is an amazing song. For different reasons, at different times. And not even always amazing-good. Nothing to do with yesterday or Obama, really. It just is.

5) Garth Brooks and Ashley Judd are the only country personalities, outside the Dixie Chiclets, who'll show their face at a Dem event. I think the progressive movement needs to embrace and seduce Nashville. Because I think we know where

"I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God

got us.

6) Bettye Lavette. I slept on I've Got My Own Hell to Raise, but, after this performance and the one at the Kennedy Center Honors, I've got to own as much of this woman's oeuvre as I can afford. And I want to hear her sing "Black Coffee." Oh, and here's whom she doesn't need for a duet partner: Jon "Exit 13A" Bon Jovi. What, was Donny Osmond booked? Christ. Shifting from her to him in a duet is like you're enjoying a plate of boeuf bourguignon and, then, suddenly biting into a ball of aluminum foil.

7) Leon Russell's Carney is a great album. Again, nothing to do with yesterday or Obama. It just is.

8) Have I mentioned that I can't wait for Renée Fleming on Spectacle: Elvis Costello with... (and let me just say, yeah, I get the title--"spectacles," like Elvis' specs and like an elaborate show; that doesn't mean it isn't a crap title)? She did "You'll Never Walk Alone"--and it's so tainted by Jerry Lewis that I can't ever conceive of the song without him, bowtie undone, brilliantine helmet wilted, an hour left in the telethon broadcast, WILLING you to give him that last sawbuck--and I loved hearing it.

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