Lucinda Williams Tour Opener Shocks, Awes


Start of the Little
Honey tour tears the roof off the sucka…


By Fred Mills


Last night’s (Sept. 25) Little
tour opener for Lucinda Williams brought a raft of surprises. First
of all Williams, whose new Lost
Highway album arrives in stores on Oct. 14, was
scheduled to kick off the 27-city run at Asheville, NC’s Thomas Wolfe
Auditorium, but at the last minute slow ticket sales prompted a move of the
show to the considerably more intimate Orange Peel club.


A lesser artist might have bitched and moaned about the
situation – the change undoubtedly forced some compromises in the staging and
lighting, and there were indeed a few technical glitches, primarily involving
out-of-focus images on the above-stage screen projections – but instead,
Williams and her band Buick 6 took the challenge as an opportunity to seek out
the silver lining. A nearly 2 ½ hour show ensued, and by the end the packed
venue had been reduced to aching feet, sore palms, hoarse throats, and
ear-to-ear grins. Williams herself seemed positively thrilled at the response,
chatting with the audience, dancing with the band members, and in general
feeding off the proverbial tight-but-loose vibe that is the hallmark of any
great concert.


BLURT’s own Fred Mills was on hand and will be filing a full
review of the show early next week for our site. In the meantime, though, he
agreed to answer a couple of questions.


BLURT: How many
folks were on hand at the show?


MILLS: I would
estimate around 800-850. The capacity of the Orange Peel is 942, but they also
had a small section on the right side of the room set apart for chairs, maybe
75 or so, possibly as a concession to folks who were disappointed they wouldn’t
be attending a sit-down show as they’d originally envisioned when they bought
tickets for the Thomas Wolfe. Ticketholders were also offered the option of
returning the tickets to the box office and getting a full refund if they
didn’t want to go to the club – I know of at least one couple who took that
option because they’d planned on taking their two kids with them.


BLURT: So slow
ticket sales forced them to move the show?


MILLS: I wouldn’t
say “forced.” But no artist wants to be looking out at a venue that’s only
about half-full, and the Thomas Wolfe holds 2,431 at capacity. And to be
honest, as you said in your intro above, it turned out to be a smart move. The
audience was ecstatic to see Williams up close and personal – in the past she’s
usually played the Thomas Wolfe – and it really seemed like she enjoyed the
interaction herself. Aside from a potential beating the promoter
took on the deal, it turned out to be a win-win situation for everyone. The
fans, the band, even the club, as this was a crowd of serious drinkers. Make
that a win-win-win situation. As an aside, I should point out that the Asheville area has been
hit by a severe gasoline shortage during the past week and it’s still a
problem, so I’m betting that affected ticket sales too. If you only have enough
gas to get to work and back, you can’t be driving into town for routine
entertainment options.


BLURT: What did
Williams play?


MILLS: The focus
was definitely on the new album, especially during the first hour or so. She
opened with the album-opener, “Real Love,” and included other new songs such as
“Tears Of Joy,” “Jailhouse Tears” – which on the record is a duet with Elvis
Costello and last night had her great guitarist Doug Pettibone taking the E.C.
role – and “Wishes Were Horses.” Lots of Luce gold, too: “Out Of Touch” just killed, and she had a neat subtle
political intro for it when she said, “I think this is appropriate for the
times…”; “Essence” really hit a lot of G-spots for both the guys and the girls;
and “Real Live Bleeding Fingers and Broken Guitar Strings” was another anthemic
high point.
Interestingly, and I stand to be corrected, I don’t recall her doing anything
from her last album, West, which was
fine with me, as I thought that record was overblown and sterile-feeling.

     I should mention
the end of the show as well: Lucinda gave a little speech that was certainly
pro-Obama, but she stopped short of preaching and simply emphasized how
important it was to vote this year – and then the band eased into Buffalo
Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” just to underscore the urgency surrounding
the upcoming election. After that they tore into AC/DC’s “It’s A Long Way To
The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll),” which is also the closing song on Little Honey – I mean, how cool is that,
Lucinda covering fucking AC/DC! – and at this point the whole Orange Peel roof
just blew clean off.


BLURT: That’s a
metaphor, right?


MILLS:  Uhhh….


BLURT: You seem a pretty professional guy. Good looking, too. Why aren’t you reviewing the show for somebody like USA Today?


MILLS: I’d sooner slit my throat.


BLURT: We can arrange that. When are
you going to write your review?


MILLS: As soon as
I can. I’m a busy guy. Hopefully by Monday. Are we done here?




Lucinda Williams Tour



September 2008


25 – Asheville,
NC – Orange Peel

26 – Knoxville, TN – Historic Tennessee Theatre
27 – North Charleston, SC – North Charleston Performing Arts Center
29 – Charlotte, NC – Belk Theatre
30 – Raleigh, NC – Raleigh Memorial Auditorium

October 2008

3 – New York, NY – The Theater at Madison Square Garden
4 – New Haven, CT – Shubert Theater
7 – Albany, NY – Hart Theatre
8 – Boston, MA – Orpheum Theatre
9 – Montreal, Quebec – Metropolis
11 – Toronto, Ontario – Massey Hall
12 – Rochester, NY – Harro East Ballroom’
14 – Ann Arbor, MI – Michigan Theater
15 – Columbus, OH – Lifestyle Communities Pavilion
17 – Nashville, TN – War Memorial Auditorium
19 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant
20 – Kansas City, MO – Uptown Theatre
21 – Des Moines, IA – Hoyt Sherman Theatre
23 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
24 – Chicago, IL – Riviera Theatre
25 – Madison, WI – Orpheum: Madison

November 2008

5 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
9 – St. Alberta, Alberta – Arden Theatre
10 – Calgary, Alberta – Jack Singer Hall
12 – Vancouver, British Columbia – Vogue Theater
13, 14 – Seattle, WA – Showbox at the Market
16, 17 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore



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