"We were thinking about what might come next," Lyle Lovett said from the Verizon Wireless Stage Wednesday night, before playing a song he had written with Robert Earl Keen at Texas A&M. "We were thinking about venturing off into the great unknown and, in this case, that meant seeking gainful employment... which scared the heck out of me."
"Because Robert and I both knew that what we wanted to do was make stuff up and sing about it," Lovett said. "And that just didn't seem possible."
Well look at him now, folks.
In front of a packed and uncharacteristically quiet Verizon crowd, Lovett and his band kept the crowd's rapt attention for two full hours. Onstage, he held an acoustic guitar and was accompanied by a standup bassist, a cellist, a violinist and two drummers, one of whom had bongos attached to his kit.
Halfway through the performance, the drummers took a break, the other acoustic guitarist traded in his guitar for a mandolin, and the four remaining members of the band, Lovett included, crowded around the middle microphone as a single light at the back of the stage shone on them as they performed. First, they tugged on the crowd's heart strings with "I'll Come Knockin'" before getting their feet tapping with "Keep It In Your Pantry," an upbeat ditty about a woman who's cheating on her man with food.
After performing "Tolerate," Lovett began tuning his guitar, and the crowd started sporadically shouting requests. On top of being talented, Lovett is also quite charming, and he bantered well with the crowd.
"I'll be right with you," he said in his near-monotone speaking voice. "I'm just taking a little break."
The crowd laughed.
During "She's Already Made Up Her Mind," the spotlight shifted solely to Lovett, as the song highlights his vocals and acoustic guitar above all else, but the rest of the band couldn't be ignored, even if the lights weren't on them.
The cello and percussion, especially, provided accented the song when needed, as Lovett's voice rang through the halls.
Everyone in the audience had fallen silent, but as the song ended, everyone erupted.
Also worth noting is the behavior of the fans. Having been to countless shows of all different genres at Verizon, we couldn't help but notice how well-behaved everyone was, and the evening was without incident.
In the summer of 1976, Lovett got his first job at which he was paid to play music. It was at a steakhouse off FM 1960, which is no longer there. Before playing "Bears," he dedicated it to his friend with whom he worked at said steakhouse. His friend, Lovett said, was a waiter then and is now a successful attorney. Lovett, meanwhile, was playing music then and still is.
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Stay young at heart, good sir. Not everyone is cut out for it, but we do appreciate those who are.
Personal Bias: We only wish we had grown up on this kind of country music. Also, you've got to love a hometown hero.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Play whatever you want, Lyle! I'm sure we'll love it!"
Random Notebook Dump: At one point, while standing outside, we heard the Hard Rock Café play Limp Bizkit's "My Way" and Mumford and Sons' "The Cave" back to back. Weird.