October 22, 1999


    I am atoning for my failure to submit an entry to Record Boy's desert

island contest by writing my first ever concert review.   Before getting to

the music, I must say a bit about the venue.  This was my first (and most

likely last) excursion to the House of Blues.  The funky decor certainly

provided a nice setting, especially for Lucinda Williams' style of music

(although, I'm not so sure about how the decor fit with Air Supply, who

apparently played there earlier this month!). And the motorized parting of

the upper level restaurant to allow patrons to see the stage is almost worth

the trip as you momentarily flashback on the Haunted Mansion ride at

Disneyland.  However, the House of Blues is desperately in need of seating. 

Even though my ticket said standing room only, I didn't believe it until I

entered and saw a total of about 10 (occupied) bar stools.  At 8:45 p.m.,

standing seemed okay.  By 1:00 a.m., with calves aching, I realized I wasn't

as young as I once was; I'd have paid a premium for a seat.  Suddenly the

Rose Bowl, with its SEATS a mile or so from the stage, seemed like a great

concert venue.


    The concert opened with Bottle Rockets, a country-tinged rock and roll

band that reminded me of a college dance band.  The music made you want to

dance, especially when the musicians played  their "36-string guitar," (as

the band referred to their three 12-string guitars).  For sure, one would

not listen to the Bottle Rockets for the depth of their lyrics:. "You're an

Oreo cookie with the double stuff," "Gotta get up.  Gotta go to work.  Gotta

go home.  Gotta go to bed cuz I gotta get up. Gotta go to work. . . ."

–repeated 5 times  followed by a very brief pause "Slept all weekend" and

then repeated 5 more times.  You also couldn't help but smile at "When I was

Dumb" and "Big Ole' Truck."  I enjoyed the 45-minute set but was ready for

Lucinda Williams.


    An hour later, we were still waiting for Lucinda Williams to take the

stage.  It was a long wait.  Because we had arrived on the early side, we

had staked out a 4-inch ledge in front of the sound guys at the back of the

floor that is in front of the stage.  We couldn't leave or we would lose our

premium spot and be trapped in the mass of bodies on the floor.  We asked

the sound guy when the show would start.  He replied, "Whenever she feels

like taking the stage."  The crowd grew restless.  Apparently she felt ready

a little before 11:00 p.m.


    If you like Lucinda Williams' CDs (and I do), you'd have enjoyed the

concert.  She pretty much stuck to what she has already recorded.  She

played all but one or two songs from "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road" mixed in

with a few from "Lucinda Williams" and a couple from her first album.  There

was nothing new or particularly different except for a long electric guitar

jam in the middle of "Joy."   She talked a little about the background of

several of the songs, included an amusing anecdote about "Right In Time." 

After being invited to perform on "Good Morning America," she was asked by

one of the producers to omit the line "Lie on my back and moan at the

ceiling" because it might be a bit to heavy for an early morning TV

audience.  She refused.  She played the song in its entirety and, according

to her,  no one was killed or anything.


  She played a solid two hours.  I was glad when it was over.   I had tired

of my 4-inch perch although it gave me a great view of the stage.  (I lost

my balance once, but luckily the 300 pound man standing just inches away

from me was very gracious about breaking my fall.)   For all Lucinda

Williams fans or those who are not familiar with her music, I strongly

recommend pulling up a nice comfortable chair, hooking up to  and listening to Lucinda Williams recorded live

at the House of Blues in New Orleans in April.  You'll feel like you were

there but without the leg pain.


Tracy Dressner

(who attended the concert with Loretta Howitt and Cathy Hamm)