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Rock and Role Model

The timeless Jonathan Richman comes to the Continental

Bring your "plus one" on down to see this living legend.
Bring your "plus one" on down to see this living legend.

Sad, affecting stuff, all the more so live. Indeed, I've rarely been to a Richman show where I didn't witness at least one person burst into tears spontaneously, but oddly, it's generally not during the "sad" songs. It's that Richman's emotional openness can be utterly transporting, just as his impromptu solo dancing spots could easily become embarrassing but somehow never are. Once I saw Richman come close to rapture during a solo concert, only to pull back with alarming suddenness. He was doing a heartfelt version of the gospel standard "Angels Watching Over Me" with his eyes closed. He began to segue into "Amazing Grace" when he seemed to notice that the audience members closest to him were murmuring to each other. I could almost feel the fire in his eyes dying out as he cut the song off and played perfunctory "rocking" songs for the rest of the night. You never know exactly what you'll get with Jonathan Richman, but good or bad, you can be sure it'll come straight from his fiercely individual heart.

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