Set List: (thanks
needle in the hay
son of sam
everything means nothing to me
ballad of big nada (as they had written on the setlist)
new song (somebody's baby)
junk bond trader
coming up roses
can't make a sound
lost & found
This, my fifth Elliot Smith show, was nothing short of orgasm inducing. I'm convinced that Austin, Texas - Live Music Capital of the World - does something special to musicians: puts them at ease like a safety blanket and secures them with the notion that Austinites are as accepting, freewheeling and receptive as music fans love. Elliot's shows in my hometown are always the best. I'm convinced.
Wednesday night at La Zona Rosa on 4th street started with the grandaddy's (sp?) whom I'd heard and loved before... a funky mix of stereolab and radiohead and maybe a sprinkle of belle and sebastian. The crowd loved them, but most sat on the sides or at one of the three bars in anticipation of Mr. Smith.
The funny thing about Elliot Smith is that if you've never seen him, as he sets up his piece of the stage and does a mic check or three... you think he's a member of the lighting and sound crew. If, however, this is your fifth show, you revel in the knowledge and get close to the stage while everyone's off guzzling shiner bock - the cheapest beer of the evening @ $3.25.
Blah Blah. Enter Elliot Smith stage right donning a ski cap turned fadora with a 2 foot plume sticking out. His hair was a bit longer and lighter than I'd seen it before, but looked great (only a chick notices these things, my housemate tells me). What can I say? The show was nothing short of wonderful. The wonderful thing about Elliot Smith is that he posesses the undying passions of a teenage garage band with the jaded talent of some salt and peppered crooner. Standing in the middle of the crowd, slightly right of center, I realize that these people who surround me at this moment in Austin, Texas - one of the hippest cities in America according to a number of polls - all love Elliot Smith too. And that's the thing about his music. Smith sings to you. So when you're standing in a club rocking out to "Coming Up Roses" and everyone else is too, you get this feeling that you, in spite of everything, have a nitche.
Halfway through the show, Elliot is making small talk with us, mumbling on about how we "just have to" run out and grab Grandaddy's new record. So, as he goes to continue the set and we are yelling out our favorite songs, a fan in the back yells out "Lionel Richie" to which Elliot Responds: "Lionel Richie! What the fuck?" and then to our sheer delight, "Hello...Is it me you're looking for?" He actually sang a few bars of "Hello." This was great.
After a few encores he began the last song of the evening "Jealous Guy." The lead singer of Grandaddy popped in for a duet whistle, joining Sam (who also thrilled fans by pulling a view obstructing tarp aside toward the end of the show).
The show was great. The best. And I know. I've been to five of them. Not that I'm bragging.