Lovett and Hiatt team up to charm Opera House
A review of Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt at the Opera House on October 22
Two singer-songwriters doing what they love most. That was the story at Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt’s co-headlining acoustic show at Boston’s Opera House on Thursday night. The 2 ½ hour show was a Storytellers-like evening, filled with gems from both of their
respective careers and plenty of fun tales and interaction with each other and the intentive crowd.
The venue was filled with elegance but the performer’s ambiance was low-key. Together, they sat at center stage and simply traded off songs. In between the two bantered on a range of topics from their youth to the various collaborations over the years and, most of all, their respect and admiration for one another. At times the banter was longer than the song it preceded as Lovett even pointed out to Hiatt, "I learn something new about you every day." It was as if the duo had invited the crowd into their own house for the intimate show. The crowd watched and listened intently, only raising their hands for clapping or opening their mouths to cheer after each song. If not joining with the other to add backing vocals or guitar play, both performers found themselves doing the same.
Lovett provided the country crooners while Hiatt invigorated the crowd with his signature rasp and livelier acoustic tunes. As the show progressed, the two traded songs back and forth all night with a near thematic flow. As Lovett sang about married life in "She’s No Lady", Hiatt countered with "Same Old Man", the title track off his latest album released earlier this year. Or when the theme came to transportation as Hiatt sang about his "Thunderbird", Lovett replied with "If I Had A Boat".
Though the crowd seemed more in favor of Hiatt, Lovett scored plenty of his own highlights. "Skinny Legs" and "She’s No Lady" were both well received but it was the cheeky "Her First Mistake" that found the crowd enjoying a good laugh. The comedic levels soared with the hysterical "Keep It in Your Pantry", which also featured Hiatt on backing vocals. Jokes aide, Lovett also hit an emotional peak when he delivered a stirring rendition of "L.A. County".
As solid as Lovett was, Hiatt provided the set’s more energetic moments with tunes such as "Tennessee Plates". "Crossing Muddy Water" was another early highlight, as was "Walk On", which he laced with some harmonica play. Perhaps most intriguing about Hiatt is just how respected of a songwriter he is. The 56-year old has written songs for seemingly anybody and everybody, from Iggy Pop to Paula Abdul. On Wednesday night, he delivered his own renditions of two of his biggest hits for others: "Riding With The King" (as made famous by Eric Clapton and B.B. King) and "Thing Called Love" (as made famous by Bonnie Rait).
Hiatt joined Lovett for a stellar rendition of the crowd favorite "My Baby Don’t Tolerate" before the two closed out their main set with the old Texas folk song, "Ain’t No More Cane". The duo returned for a two-song encore, featuring two of their biggest hits, Hiatt’s "Have a Little Faith In Me" and Lovett’s "North Dakota", to end the Boston show and their fall tour together on a high note.