Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Cultural Icons

I am a beacon of good taste and High Culture. I demonstrated it tonight.

We went to see Randy Newman tonight. He was delightful. Did two and a half sets, all his good stuff, some new stuff, some not so good stuff that's still fine. I bet that he wouldn't sing "Rednecks," because it is simply too politically incorrect. I lost, to my delight. I cried through "Louisiana, 1927." I've always done that, but I do it more, now.

I have tinnitis, I think it's a familial thing, because several of my relatives and siblings have ear-ringing problems. I don't much notice mine until I go to a loud concert somewhere, then my ears ring for a week.

Randy played at the Birchmere, which is one of my favorite places because it's small and isn't too loud. The last time I was there, we went with a group of young kids (under jr hi age) from church went to see Riders in the Sky, which was fun for everyone because Ranger Doug and Woody Paul and Too Slim and Joey the CowPolka King are entirely more sophisticated than they let on.

Anyway, Randy talked a lot about being a geriatric rock 'n' roller. I never thought of him as a rock 'n' roller, more of a whorehouse balladeer. I mean, his technique is sort of Eric Satie meets Eubie Blake. Very sophisticated harmonies and melodies with a ragged stride bass line. An odd but very enjoyable combination. This show was just Randy and piano, with us as the backup singers (by invitation; evidently this has been true in other places as well). And tomorrow night he plays Carnegie Hall. And you can't order nachos or wings there during the show, I'll bet.

His connection to New Orleans is the Real Deal; he said watching the Katrina coverage, where three of his relatives lost their homes, he heard the Homeland Security chief say that after three days, "Louisiana was dysfunctional." "Duh," said Randy. "It took him that long to figure that out?" He said that in the best of circumstances you had to drive you broken radio, or broken anything, to Mississippi to get it fixed. And that was the best part of Louisiana.

He gets it.

1 comment:

pooks said...

Randy Newman is many things, but I can't imagine him as a rocker.

And while we're at it --

Tag, you’re it!

Answer the same questions I did. I want to see your answers!