Rockabilly is not my kind of music. There is no other music on my iPod that matches the Chris Isaak tracks (with the possible exception of some early k.d. lang), but when somebody has an exceptional voice, I put aside my ever-so-sophisticated tastes and listen.
I don't remember when or where we saw him in concert for the first time. It might have been out at Chamboeg Park, where they had a beautiful outdoor amphitheater that was a great concert venue until either neighbors or the Clear Channel Evil Empire closed it down, but that's another rant.
The point is, we have been to maybe five Chris Isaak concerts, anywhere from the pompous Schnitz to the Spirit Mountain Casino Bingo Hall, and this was the worst, but only for one reason: it was about 90 minutes long.
The concert started at 6:30 , which seemed early for an evening concert, but it was another outdoor venue with, I'm sure, its share of fun-killing neighbors. I thought maybe the early start would give us plenty of time, but they closed the place down at nine sharp. Nine! And since Isaak did not take the stage until the first act had whiled away about an hour, that left very little time for monkey business.
Isaak has the best stage chatter of any musician on the circuit today, and probably half of the stand-up comics. But the shortened concert left no time for the usual highlight of a Chris Isaak concert: the long, winding, deadpan and salacious saga, told with a sense of pity and understanding, usually starring a band member, and involving any or all of the following:
- a flesh-colored Ford Probe;
- a local dive of questionable repute and cleanliness;
- a double-wide trailer;
- suspiciously orgasmic noises;
- cool whip;
- what seem to be poodle hairs; and the inevitable closing with
- (Baby Did a ) Bad, Bad Thing.
Despite the missing stage chatter, the band was on top of their game, Isaak's voice was smooth and effortless, and the crowd (due in some part to the fact that it was held on the grounds of a brewery and the drinks were delivered to your blanket by lovely beer/wine girls) was ready to celebrate.
It was great while it lasted. It just didn't last.