FINALLY posting about the Patty Griffin concert that Jeff and I were lucky enough to attend exactly one week ago, in Lawrence, Kansas. Patty was amazing. Her voice in concert is fantastic, very much like what you hear on her CDs. The “second billed artist,” not really an opening act because he played most of the songs with Patty and her band, was singer and guitarist Buddy Miller. I wasn’t familiar with him except from his backing vocals on some of Patty’s songs, and he was excellent as well.
One thing that was different, and totally cool, was that after Buddy sang one song by himself, all of the sudden, Patty and two of the backing musicians came out, and she sang with Buddy on every song, then she and the other two guys left the stage and Buddy did one last song by himself. (I remember the last one was “All My Tears,” an old gospel / bluegrass traditional song. His wife, Julie Miller, sings that one on the Songcatcher soundtrack album.) Then pretty soon, Patty and her band came out, and while she also sang a few songs by herself with just her guitar, most of the time, Buddy Miller was right there with the rest of Patty’s band, playing guitar and singing backup. So it wasn’t like “opening act / headliner,” but like first and second billed acts who really like each other and like working together, with genuine mutual respect and appreciation of one another’s talents.
During the second half of the show, I suddenly had this feeling that everyone in Liberty Hall, seeing and hearing Patty Griffin and her talented band, were the luckiest people in the world — that there was literally no better place to be at that time, on the whole planet, than at the Patty Griffin concert. Even though we were in the very last row in the balcony, and couldn’t see as well as I had hoped, still it was a fairly intimate venue, and the music was…everything. It was everything good and beautiful in the world, wrapped into about two and a half hours.
Quick rundown of what Patty sang. As I told Jeff, “nothing from the first or third albums,” which surprised me slightly, but I knew the focus would be the newest album, and the other selections all fit really well with the mostly gospel tone of the new album. From that album, Downtown Church, I think she sang everything except “Virgen de Guadalupe” (the Spanish song), and “All Creatures of Our God and King” (my least favorite from the new album, so I was cool with that). She sang “Standing” quite early in the show, from Impossible Dream, and later sang “Love Throw a Line.” One of the songs she sang on her own was “Mary” from the album Flaming Red; THAT was the song that made me cry. From Children Running Through, she sang the wonderful “Heavenly Day,” as well as “Up to the Mountain (MLK Song).” Finally, two songs I didn’t know: “I Do Believe,” which she said she recorded for an upcoming Waylon Jennings tribute album and would have put on the new record if she’d known it, and an old song of hers called “Little God” that never made it onto an album. I don’t know how I felt about that last one, but the Waylon Jennings cover was awesome, another one that she sang with just her guitar.
I will close by saying that Jeff was a wonderful date. 🙂
Here, I’ll try to embed two videos from YouTube, one of “Heavenly Day,” and one of a performance with Natalie Maines of the song “Mary” — that one from the second album, that made me cry. That Patty, she is the best.