Monday, November 08, 2004

Oh Me Oh My Oh

I got into Gillian Welch back in 1996 or 1997 when she was included on the Horse Whisperer soundtrack (not the orchestral one, the "Songs From and Inspired By" one). Never seen the film but that disc gets alot of play round my way, being as it is full of crunchy country goodness. I believe it was also my introduction to Allison Moorer, The Flatlanders and Lucinda Williams (whose stark sensuality on Still I Long For Your Kiss made my naif 19 year old cheeks blush) and reintroduction to Steve Earle. Anyway, then I got the debut Welch/Rawlings album Revival and have never looked back. It's taken a long time for them to get down this way, something to do with her fear of flying, but here they are. I had built the concert up tremendously in my mind, counting down the days and immersing myself in the music although I worried a bit I was being set up for disappointment.

I wasn't.

There is a reason Gillian Welch and David Rawlings attract the kind of slobbering devotion they do, Boney and Boney's girl have expressed that many times and many times better than I could. There is definately something intensely hypnotic about hearing them on disc, an experience multiplied ten fold in the flesh. Around me were some people who had come from NZ just for the show, planned before they announced their Wellington gigs. What to say? Sublime (as Bernard Zuel in the Herald today described it, review doesn't seem to be online yet), inspirational someone said to me Sunday, dazzling, transcendant. I didn't take down a set list, but they started with Look At Miss Ohio, then on to Make Me A Pallet, most of Time (The Revelator), David leading on that Acuff Rose chestnut Girls Just Wanna Have Fun which would have stolen any other show, Caleb Myer. And on and on. More or less the same as the Brissie show below, but no Long Black Veil they finished with a driving White Freightliner Blues; when she said it was a Townes song I thought for a moment it was going to be Pancho and Lefty, but no complaints here.

Oh, and that Rawlings can play a bit, can't he? (And, I might add, way cuter in real life than in photos ... ) Not even the albums and a million jaw dropping reviews can prepare you for the flatpicking virtuosity on display. Sometimes the "and David Rawlings" gets stuck on the end as a kind of afterthought but this is definately an equal partnership musically, individually Gillian is something very special, together they are, well, pretty bloody perfect. And the harmonies. The audience of course adored them, roaring with approval after each awesome Rawlings break and mouthing all the words. Gillian's no slouch on the guitar and banjo either, swaying as she goes, and looking way off to the left as if she can see all those songs and characters come to life. Well, I think you get the picture.

Afterwards I hung around in that stinking alley that runs up the side of the Metro and got the autographs above and pic below -- I'm the one in the middle with the wild eyes and bogan grin. They were so gracious and obliging, I was a stuttering mess. "Oh ... mmm .... you good ... ugh .... me happy" Something like that I said anyway. Then I drifted away and 45 minutes later was going past the same place on my bus home and they were still there with some fans. If you missed out, man, you missed out.

And remember -- they will be on the 7.30 Report with Red Kezza tonight

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