Bookmark and Share

Template by:
Free Blog Templates

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wendy & Lisa at The Largo, June 27th 2009 – My Memoires

If you ever get the opportunity to see Wendy & Lisa, live in concert, DO SO! You will be glad that you did; even if you have to travel cross country to do it!

On Saturday, June 27th, Wendy & Lisa performed at Largo at The Coronet Theater! Largo is a very small and cozy theater that seats almost 300. I think that I have been to movie theaters that seated more people. However, the smaller venue meant that every seat was a good seat! I was sitting in the 3rd row 3 seats from the left! Perfect!

Right before the show, we were instructed not to take photos & to not turn our phones on. Initially, I thought that the inability to Twitter was going to be excruciatingly painful. However, I soon realized that this was for the best. The venue is so small and intimate that any flash would have definitely disrupted the band. The inability to tweet, text, or take pics definitely meant that everyone in the audience could focus on the great music and truly enjoy the moment.

The stage featured a big screen in the background with two smaller PCs up front. One PC scrolled through some of the pics found on the Official Site (as well as additional pics not on the site) while the other scrolled through a screen saver.

Here's a very fuzzy picture of the stage (courtesy of my cheap camera which apparently takes fuzzy pictures when you don't use the flash in a dark room):

The stage set-up consisted of Lisa (on keyboard/guitar) on the far left, followed by Greg Leisz on pedal steel, Susannah Melvoin [Bramhall] & Libby Lavella (background vocals), Jeremy Stacey (on drums), and Chris Bruce (on bass) at the far right. Wendy, of course, stood front-center stage.

Here is the set list from the Official Website:

1. Waterfall

2. Lolly Lolly

3. Reaching One

4. Balloon

5. Invisible

6. Red Bike

7. Niagra Falls

8. INSTRUMENTAL (w&l, no band): the Guise of Love/You and I/Jonathan

9. All I Wonder

10. Waiting for Coffee

11. Love Song (Elton John cover)

12. Love and Trouble

13. Mother of Pearl

14. But Not For Me (Jazz Standard)

encore: 15. Are You There? (Dionne Warwick cover)

Throughout the show, the large screen in the background featured vintage video footage. The footage featured a lot of video from the Civil Rights era (1960s) as well as video of a young Fidel Castro and other 'less serious' footage.

For me, some of the most memorable moments of the concert actually resulted from some of the footage. Specifically, the footage played during the performances of Invisible and Red Bike made me see those songs in a completely different light. Image Wendy singing 'Invisible... I will not be' while, in the background, civil rights pioneers like Huey P. Newton and Martin Luther King are marching in the background defying to be 'invisible'. Also, there was a truly perfectly timed moment when Wendy was singing Red Bike. At one point, she was belting through the chorus "I'm freeeee" and in the background there were young African-Americans holding up 'Freedom Riders' signs. The background video was perfect during those two songs and completely put a whole new spin on their meaning for me. It was a great moment!

Another memorable moment occurred during the performances of 'You and I' and 'Jonathan'. Prior to these songs there was a lot of jovial back-and-forth between Wendy and Lisa. However, during the performance of 'You and I', I could definitely notice a change in Lisa's demeanor. She got really serious during the performance of 'You and I', which I just attributed to the fact that it IS a sad song. However, while she was singing 'Jonathan', she started to cry and you definitely knew something was not right (it definitely wasn't part of the show). Now, I sincerely hope that this does not come off being mean because it definitely is not my intent. However, the performance of 'Jonathan' was like emotional tennis for me. Lisa began crying during the song. However, Wendy was doing her damnedest to make Lisa laugh and cheer her up. So, I look left and see Lisa crying (sad), then I look right and see Wendy making all kinds of funny faces at Lisa (funny). Look left again and Lisa is still crying (sad - she doesn't see Wendy). I look right again and Wendy looks like she is mentally willing for Lisa to take just one look at her so that she can make her laugh with crazy facial expressions (really funny). So, I look left, sad, and then look right, happy. It was truly like a weird sad, happy, sad, happy tennis match. In the end, Wendy lost: Lisa never looked at her. However, through much concentration, Lisa got through the song and let us all know that a close friend of hers had died that week (sad again). I do give Wendy tons of credit, however, for truly trying hard to make her friend laugh! Her efforts did not go un-noticed... well, it did with Lisa... but not me :)

As for the music... it was GREAT! I was curious to see how the music would be played with a band considering their music is so complex (especially the music from White Flags). Songs such as ‘Niagra Falls’ sounds like there are at least 8 different instruments on it. With a 5-piece band, I was wondering how they would make up for the additional instruments. However, they definitely pulled it off! The songs sounded mostly the same except the ‘layered’ sounds were replaced by more complex chord arrangements from Wendy on guitar. I am sure that statement would make more sense if you could hear the music (hint hint for a live album). I t is hard explaining in words what you can truly only understand with your ears. There is older live footage of Wendy & Lisa on YouTube that will definitely give you an idea of what I am trying to explain (albeit inadequately). However, some of the songs were stripped down and were actually made more beautiful as a result.

Almost (but not quite) as enjoyable as the music is the banter between Wendy and Lisa. They are like female versions of Laurel and Hardy. They are constantly joking with each other which makes the 'down times' (like when Wendy is toning her guitar) much more pleasurable. For example, when introducing each other, Lisa called Wendy her 'Evil Half'. There was this truly horrible 'Ukrainian Whore' joke which I won't repeat, but they both should be ashamed of themselves :) After performing 'Invisible' Wendy proceeded to tell a story about getting kicked out of a restaurant in Nice, France for ordering a salad (the horror). Throughout the show, Lisa kept joking that a toy bus that was sitting on her keyboard was their 'tour bus' until they could get more funds. Clearly, I am not making it sound funny, but take my word for it; they were FUNNY!

Another pretty funny moment occurred after 'Niagra Falls'. There was a quiet moment (when Wendy is tuning her guitar) & someone yells out 'play Stones & Birth' so loud that we all hear. Wendy takes a moment to think and realizes that she can't remember the lyrics. So then someone in the first row proceeds to sing the song out loud. Wendy kinda remembers some of the lyrics but then forgets again. At that point, Lisa says that 'No!' they can't sing the song and we all laughed.

One of the cutest moments during the show happened at the very end. During the final moments of the show, you can see this hand (holding a camera) sticking out of the curtain on the right side of the stage. It turns out that the hand belonged to Doyle Bramhall II who was taking some video of his sister-in-law and wife. At the end, Wendy also brought out Susannah's oldest daughter out to say 'Hi'. It was a true family affair! Speaking of Susannah, she was her normal terrific self during the concert! You can always tell that she really enjoys singing when she performs. As usual, she was in 'the zone' singing and dancing during the concert. She is always fun to watch during shows and this was definitely no exception!

As if the great concert wasn’t enough... there was a Meet & Greet after the show! Immediately after the show, people began lining up to meet Wendy & Lisa. Unfortunately, I did not see this line until it was about 20-30 people deep! Anyway, I made my way to the end of the line and enjoyed The Largo pictures and artwork until... it was my turn!

This was my first time meeting Wendy and Lisa. It’s funny, on Twitter, I have had conversations with other fans who have not met them. We had a discussion on whether we would be nervous meeting them. I think I was the only one who said that I would not. True to my word, I wasn’t nervous but I think that my lack of nerves had much more to do with a lack of sleep than the circumstances at hand.

When I get to the table, Lisa sees me and mouths “MIKDEV!”, which is freaking awesome! That is the power of social media! ‘Mikdev’ is my Twitter name and I’m guessing Lisa recognized me from Facebook. It honestly never occurred to me that they would recognize me or know who I was but, perhaps, I was momentarily caught up in the Twighlight Zone :) It is a testament to how they actually pay attention to us fans. Truly amazing! Lisa was also kind enough to mention that she enjoyed (and thought was funny) the pics that I have posted on this blog (look to the right).

The first thing that I ask is whether I could take a picture of them and, of course, they said ‘Yes!’. So, I go behind the tables (where they were sitting) and get the biggest hugs (and kisses) from both of the ladies. They are soooo nice! No one should ever feel nervous around them because they seem like they are two of the nicest people on Earth. They very quickly put you at ease and make you feel comfortable. They were nice enough to take a couple of pictures with me and then I ask them to sign my poster, to which Lisa said ‘No!’ She was obviously kidding!

After taking the pics, I move back to the other side of the table and as Lisa is autographing my poster, I am face-to-face with Wendy Melvoin! As a second testament to how much they pay attention to their fans, Wendy proceeds to tell me that she read one of my blog posts and had a question for me. WTF?! I’m thinking “OMG! I wasn’t expecting questions!” Wendy recalls, in a blog post, that I mentioned how I kind of ‘lost track’ of them at one point and then ‘discovered’ them again. She asks me, basically, how I lost track. I tell her that I listen mainly to 'Urban' radio and that I remember the first two albums were played on Urban radio. However, since the 3rd and 4th albums were ‘alternative’, I never really heard about those albums (note to self: when speaking to favorite musicians, it might not be good to mention the fact that their albums have not gotten enough radio play).

So, I think that the questioning is over, but then she asks me how I managed to ‘find them’ again. In my mind, I am saying ‘WTF?!’ again because I have no idea how to answer the question. I mean, I understood the words and what she was asking me, but I was clueless on what the answer was (which is sad given that I wrote the blog post). So, I proceed to tell her that I had lost track of them after ‘Fruit At The Bottom’ but found out about ‘Eroica’ and ‘Girl Bros’ through the Internet. In my mind, I am thinking ‘Whew! I got through that question without saying anything stupid’.

Well, Wendy then proceeds to ask me what made me purchase ‘Eroica’ and ‘Girl Bros’. Again, “WTF?!” came to mind and I wondered if I could just donate a kidney rather than risk sounding stupid (again after the radio play comment) by rambling off a crazy answer because I’m not sure of the 'actual' answer. Well, I proceed to ramble! I enter into ‘fan mode’ and start talking about how ‘wonderful their music is’ and how ‘complex and layered it is’ and how ‘I bought the albums because I knew that I would enjoy them’... and on and on and on! I’m not sure what happened; maybe I started to make Wendy a little uncomfortable with the adulation or maybe she realized that my consistent rambling wasn’t getting her any closer to an answer. However, she finally said ‘Thank you’ and that I had answered her question. Thank Goodness!!!!!

Even after that mini-inquisition, Lisa, Wendy, and I still managed to talk a little bit about Pres. Obama and Girl Bros. Radio. Apparently, Wendy was thinking that it would be a good idea to let us call in LIVE on the radio. I second that idea! It would be fun, and she could ask us fans some really, really, complicated questions that really aren’t that complicated but, because we are actually on the phone with her, would seem really, really complicated and we could ramble crazy fan-induced compliments that really don’t answer her questions but somehow satisfies her curiosity :)

As you can tell, Wendy and Lisa were very generous with their time and were very patient speaking, taking pictures, and signing autographs with each of us. I seriously doubt that you will find many musicians willing to take as much time out for their fans... especially at a Meet and Greet where some musicians would usher you in and out in about 5 seconds flat.

I can't say enough times how enjoyable and how much fun the show was! It was well worth the cross-country trip and I would strongly encourage everybody to try and see Wendy & Lisa perform live! You definitely will not be disappointed! It was an amazing show and I am grateful to have been there!

If you DO manage to see them on Aug. 1st, here is some advice:
  1. Come prepared with a few compliments. No matter how hard/easy the questions are that they may ask, you can easily get out of answering them by dishing out a few compliments.
  2. Don’t be afraid to bring your ‘good’ camera! At The Largo, they do not appear to mind if you bring a camera just as long as you do not take pictures during the show! I wasn’t sure, so I bought my cheap compact camera, which was a mistake since I could have taken much better pictures at the Meet & Greet. So, bring your nice big expensive camera... just don’t take any pics during the show :)

Here are a few pictures along with the cool poster that they signed!

THANK YOU Wendy & Lisa for the great memories!!!


Lisa said...

Hey I followed your link to this blog from W&L official. I just wanna say that I loved reading this blog, especially about the recent gig.
Thanks so much for sharing and for the pictures too. I loved the tennis analogy.
I live in the UK and I'm a huge fan so I couldn't see them this time but I've seen them before but yeeeears ago now. I'm just so excited about everything they do and can't wait to see them live again.
Thanks for sharing your experience. Great job!
Twilight_girrl on the forum.

carla said...

Awesome summary. I was the one singing Stones and Birth. Love my girls!

Post a Comment