The Amazing Jonny Lang

At this point, what can I say about Jonny Lang that I haven’t already said?

How about this:  beyond all laws of possibility, the guy keeps getting better.

Our babysitter was held up in traffic and Dys was held up by work, so we left home quite a bit later than planned.  As such, we missed a number or two by Robert Cray – who was fantastic, by the way.  Very bluesy, very R&B in an Otis Redding kind of way.  I’ve only seen him play with others before, so seeing him on his own was a real treat.  I particularly enjoyed the tune “The One in the Middle” – they played a slower and more blues-tinged version than the one in this YouTube vid.  It was wonderful.

We took some photos of Robert – none of which turned out all that well.  At one point people we shoving by us carrying cups of beer, and as Dys scooted out of the way the camera slid off her lap and THUNKED to the floor ominously.  After that – uh – the thing wouldn’t work.  The lens wouldn’t retract or extend.  It was stuck, and the thing wouldn’t turn on.  We were somewhat dejected.  (Of course, this could have provided us another opportunity to say “screw it” and blow a ton of money we don’t have on an SLR…)  Finally, though, after replacing the batteries, trying other stuff, and Dys even saying “WTF?” and dropping it again to see what would happen, I took the thing and forced the lens inward through brute force, and that apparently worked.  Yay, we were re-cameraed!  Boo, no excuse for an SLR.  Oh well.

We were seated a few rows back from last time, so the whole low-light photography was a slightly bigger challenge, as the fuzzy edges above show.  But it still made for some interesting photos, I think.  And we still got some great individual shots, mostly from one lucky run in the beginning of Jonny’s set.

Speaking of which, when he came out, I thought he looked a little sweaty already – and he started out a little down-energy.  I was wondering, “Hmm, is Jonny feeling well?  Maybe he’s sick.”

He was sick, all right.  In the “OMG THIS IS BADASS” sense of the word.  Because he got his stride in just a few minutes, and folks, that was probably the best JL show of the five we’ve seen.  I can’t even begin to describe it; I’ll just be stumbling over superlatives like I did in the last post and you guys will just think I’m an even bigger Jonny ho.  So I’ll just put up some pretty pictures and make a few comments.

First, and completely randomly:  Of all the shows I’ve ever been to, I’ve had a lot of beer and drinks sloshed on me by people scooting by, I’ve had pot smoke in my hair, blah blah blah.  All occupational hazards.  But I have never, ever, had somebody squeeze by me carrying a box of fucking pizza.  Not between acts, but DURING THE HEADLINER’S SET.  WTF?  And the kicker:  I recognized this guy.  His photo was all over the place last fall because he was campaigning for a judgeship. Heh.

Setlist for the evening (Dys can correct me if she remembers):

Give Me Up Again
A Quitter Never Wins
Don’t Stop (For Anything)
Red Light
Breakin’ Me
Lie to Me
Livin’ for the City
I Am

Jason Eskridge SLAYED on “Livin’ for the City.”  Good GOD that boy has a voice to kill for.

Jonny used an acoustic intro for “Lie to Me” that was so gut-wrenching that I actually had to go home and make sure his wife hadn’t left him.  WHOA.

Now on to the pics.  All of these photos (and more) are available on our Flickr set – go check it out!

Dys took that one above and it’s fantastic – she just happened to catch the moment at the end of bassist Jim Anton’s solo in which backup singer Jason threw a towel at him in a “YOU BAD!” gesture.  That’s the blue blur over Jim’s shoulder.  And for the record, Jim Anton is still one of my favorite bassists EVER.

And finally, because we thought it was so beautiful last time, I made a special effort to record the live version of “Red Light” this time.  Yes, the video is shaky (I had to record over the shoulder of the lady in front) and there’s some crowd noise, but overall the sound is pretty good, I think.  (For some reason it gets less good toward the end?)  I just wanted to share that moment with all of you – so if you’re so inclined, come along with me.

Beautiful.  Just beautiful.

Thanks so much, Jonny, and come again real soon now, ya hear?  We’ll be there.



4 Responses

  1. “At this point, what can I say about Jonny Lang that I haven’t already said?”

    Something bad to make him seem like a human?

    Point taken.

    You know some people have posted negative reviews of him on Ticketmaster, more or less saying “He should play the blues and skip the rest of the stuff.” “Too preachy.”

    Did you see the “Red Light” video? If “hey, life can be shitty, but things can get better” is preachy, then maybe I’m not the anticlerical guy I thought I was.

  2. Excuse me while I go change my undies.


  3. I love Robert Cray! Sweet!! Glad that you enjoyed it so much.

    Now, get thee to a Willy Porter show. And I’ll go to a Jonny Lang one. Do we have a deal?

    Sounds good to me!

  4. I’ve seen a lot of concerts, and I’ve gone away from many, many of them thinking, “Man, that was great!,” but there has never, ever — not once — been anyone but Jonny that I’ve walked out of there *aching* to go again the next night. And it’s been that way for every single show.

    It isn’t just the music; I actually only occasionally listen to the CDs anymore. It’s the MAN and his music, it’s his compatriots, it’s the energy and the soul and the honesty and joy in that room and on that stage. There’s nothing that even comes close.

    And what I wouldn’t give for him to record that version of Lie to Me. The thought that I might never hear it again is almost painful.

    Thank you, Jonny. I scream it at the shows, and I deeply hope you’ve heard me. I can’t thank you enough for what you share with the rest of us.

    You said it, lady.

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