Fingers Touching Each Shiny String

IMG_0389.JPG• I didn't expect to be one of the youngest members of the crowd Saturday night at the Lucinda Williams show, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Lucinda was born in 1953 and started releasing albums in the late 1970s, which not only means she now holds the crown for Oldest Woman I Would Sleep With, but also that she appeals to a slightly older crowd. My concert companion and I are in our mid-20s, which definitely placed us on the younger end of the spectrum. There was an old man in a beret who looked like he could get wild. But he didn't. • There was a young couple there, not too much older than me, and they were making out like horny juniors at the prom. The guy was your basic indeterminate L.A. douchebag: muscle T, a little too much effort in his casually tousled hair, etc., etc. But the girl was decked out like she'd mistaken an alt-country/rock concert for whatever whore-filled Halloween party she usually attended for a few minutes before slinking off to the guest bedroom to film amateur porn. She was wearing killer heels and a skirt that stopped just below the bottom of her ass, and her man's hand was all over said area while they were making out in the middle of the club and we all waited for the show to start and tried not to stare at the exhibitionist skank with low self-esteem and the skeezy slab of dumbass that was probably getting chlamydia just by breathing this girl's air. They could've stayed home and made out for free, or at least gotten it over with in the car, you know? • There were also plenty of people who look like me, which is one of the weird psychic pleasures of going to a concert. It's not like a movie, where you're thrown into a room with people whose tastes are likely wildly divergent from yours. Music is a very personal thing, and spending money on a ticket and going to the concert venue guarantees that you'll be around other people who care about your music as much as you do. Everyone is happy to be there and genuinely excited about the artist performing for them. It's a pleasant, warm vibe. • All that to say I saw a lot of other bearded men in pearl-snaps. IMG_0406.JPG IMG_0457.JPG • All week long I'd been wondering what would happen if I got to the concert and Steve Earle happened to be there to play with Lucinda. The concert was part of a five-night series in which she was playing one of her albums in its entirety, and Saturday night was Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. Earle played guitar on a few tracks on Car Wheels, as well as doing harmony vocal on "Concrete and Barbed Wire," so I began to entertain a weird daydream/fantasy in which Earle came out and played as a surprise guest, after which I was invited on stage to sing harmony, and then the redhead who'd been standing next to me all night turned out to be an avid reader who hated Cylons. • Most of that didn't happen. • But Steve Earle did come out to sit in with Lucinda for pretty much the entire show, which ran for close to three hours. The band did Car Wheels and then took a short break, after which they returned for another set of seven or so songs, followed by an encore of another few tunes. Earle and Lucinda did "You're Still Standing There" from Earle's I Feel Alright, which made me yell for joy like a man on fire. Mike Campbell, guitarist for Tom Petty was also around for a few numbers, including a blistering solo on "Joy." And Jim Lauderdale played guitar and sang backup. And Allison Moorer, who happens to be married to Earle, sang harmony on "Greenville" and several other songs. album.jpg • The show also had the coolest souvenir ever: A live recording of the concert made on the spot. After the Car Wheels set, the band took a short break while the CDs were pressed up like mad backstage, and during the second (and third) sets you could saunter over and pick one up for $20. Way better than a shirt, and infinitely longer lasting. The disc is the entire live version of Car Wheels, and it shakes out to about 30 tracks with all the intros and brief stories Lucinda tells before the numbers, as well as the false starts, cheers, and everything else that usually gets polished out of a live album. So now I don't just have a story about the smoking 10-minute version of "Joy," or how Steve Earle leaned back so he could wail the high harmony when he came in on "Concrete and Barbed Wire"; I have the album itself, with those moments intact. • Damn, but it was an awesome show. IMG_0443.JPG