Saturday, May 10, 2008

Concert Report - Steve Forbert @ Tupelo Music Hall

Patti and I returned to our normal spot (table #4 - front and center) at the Tupelo Music Hall for last night's Steve Forbert concert.

Steve played for a bit more than an hour, with a stripped down sound consisting of his well-worn Martin guitar, harmonica, and boots tapping out rhythm on a square of plywood. For the first few songs Steve had a little battle going on with Tupelo owner Scott over the house lights. Scott initially had the lights off, but Steve wanted to see the audience. It took two or three songs for Scott to bring the lights up enough to satisfy Steve - he clearly feeds off of seeing his audience, hearing his audience, and getting the audience to participate with rhythm and filling vocals.

Steve's sets have a very loose structure, and he eagerly asked for requests early in the set. "Wild as the Wind", "Good Planets", "Laurel", "Mexico", and "Romeo's Tune" were all called out and worked into the set at one point or another.

Steve also mixed in two Jimmie Rodgers tunes, "Years Ago", and "Miss the Mississippi." Steve and Jimmie Rodgers are both natives of Meridian, Mississippi, and Steve's Any Old Time album is a tribute to the songs of Jimmie Rodgers.

News to me last night is word that country artist (star?) Keith Urban has a cover of Steve's "Romeo's Tune" on his new Greatest Hits CD. I don't really know much about Keith Urban, although I have of course heard of him. But I hope Steve gets a big chunk of royalty payments from the CD sales. "Romeo's Tune" is one of those songs which I can hear over and over and over and never tire of:

Meet me in the middle of the day
Let me hear you say everything's okay
Bring me Southern kisses from your room
Meet me in the middle of the night
Let me hear you say everything's alright
Let me smell the moon in your perfume
Oh, gods and years will rise and fall and there's always something more
Lost in talk I waste my time and it's all been said before
While further down behind the masquerade the tears are there
I don't ask for all that much -- I just want someone to care

If you have never heard "Romeo's Tune", go check out this live version by Steve from a concert in New Hope, PA last November. You can also easily find Steve's original 1979 version, as well as Keith Urban's version.

The opening act was Kate Klim, a Berklee College of Music alum now transplanted to Philadelphia. We've seen her open at the Tupelo at least once before, although I don't remember for whom. Kate played a short six-song set on the Tupelo's baby grand piano. Her voice reminds me a little bit of Lori McKenna

Set list...

Years Ago (aka Fifteen Years Ago Today)
Wild as the Wind (a tribute to Rick Danko)
Real Live Love
Hang On Again Till The Sun Shines (?)
Good Planets Are Hard To Find
Goin' Down To Laurel
My Stolen Identity
The Baghdad Dream
I Just Work Here
Miss the Mississippi and You
Sing It Again (?)
Baby, Don't
The American In Me
About a Dream
What Kinda Guy
Romeo's Tune
Thirty More Years
You Cannot Win (If You Do Not Play)
Opening Act - Kate Klim:
The Day's Gonna Come
Ripple (no, not the Grateful Dead song)
Skin My Knees
Tracing The Lines
Blue Sky Love


Magic Marco said...

Nice report, Tom. I do believe that Steve's guitar is a Gibson, though--not a Martin.

Tom Spine said...

Thanks for the correction on the guitar. It was a detail I was trying to remember in my mind's eye when writing the review, but just couldn't come up with.

What did strike me was that it was very well worn.