chris isaak and the very hot day

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Monday, July 31, 2006

the mirrored suit in action

Last Sunday it was hot Hot HOT (104 degrees). What better way to celebrate the summer, the heat and my birthday week than with Chris Isaak at the zoo? The answer: no better way!

Chris Isaak and I go way back. Not in the sense that he has any idea who I am, but in the sense that I've been listening to him for a long time. He was one of my first internet message board obsessions back in the day. (the internet was smaller then.) Although I haven't been as thrilled with his more recent releases, I still think he has a fantastic voice and puts on one of the most fun concerts out there. Chris is 50 now (how is this possible?), and he looks and sounds great. REALLY GREAT!

So, back to 104 degrees. It was hot. I like hot weather, but here in pdx people are generally unprepared for it. I am occasionally one of those people. Bec, Martina and I met up with Garri and Peggy who had staked out THE BEST spot I have ever had the pleasure of sitting on for any of the zoo concerts. We had a fantastic and unobstructed view of the stage (and a few other things, but more on that later). Garri is a planner nonpareil. She had frozen water bottles, she had chilled bing cherries, she had cloth napkins brought for the express purpose of wrapping around ice cubes and tying around ones neck. Most importantly, she brought enough for everyone! Things shifted from being sweaty and cranky to cooled off and perfect. Sno cones also helped. The concert was sold out so there were ample people watching opportunities.

If I could address any one person specifically, it would be the woman wearing only a bikini with a fanny pack which looked like some distorted nylon pregnancy. Lady, if you can't think of somewhere else to put your money and your keys, maybe you should WEAR PANTS. Or at least carry a handbag, for god's sake. (Now that I've had this cranky rant I will probably read in the newspaper about a poor woman who is dying from a rare clothing allergy and got to attend a concert due to life-saving feeding-tube-in-fanny-pack technology.)

Allison Moorer was the opening act. She only had 4 songs or so and seemed pleasant, but I didn't really get a great sense of what she sounds like.

Shortly after Allison Moorer left the stage, Chris and the band came out! The guys were all in charcoal grey suits, and Chris was in a bright blue suit with paisley shaped THINGS all over it. Every time I have seen them (which has probably been in the summer 80% of the time) they have always dressed in wool suits. I think it's charming, if slightly demented. Here's what they played:

1. Lonely With a Broken Heart
2. Let's have a Party
3. Let Me Down Easy (up to this point I assumed he was only going to sing songs that started with the letter "L")

Chris likes to work a little blue -- I think he gets a perverse amount of pleasure from tweaking Wicked Game/ adult contemporary expectations. He has that appealing combination of aw, shucks charming with the look in his eye that indicates he also knows the precise distance to the state line (and what's legal on either side of it) and how much naked weight the chandelier could hold. Anyway, at this point in my notes I wrote down suggestive speech to audience, although I don't remember what he said. (give me a break -- it was 104 degrees out and I'd been sitting in the sun for hours at this point.)

4. Speak of the Devil -- Chris ran out into the audience for this one. I could see that the paisleys on his bright blue suit were made of beads and not sequins like I thought at first. There were also some HUGE dragonflies buzzing the audience, but I think they were naturally occurring and not with the band.
5. Dancin'
6. Somebody's Cryin' (he is a champion of the cryin' lyin' dyin' school of rhyme)
7. Wicked Game -- people went predictably nuts at the start of this song -- it apparently is pavlovian for some and they cannot resist the urge to uh, interact. Mostly this is sweet, but in some cases The Authorities had to assert themselves. The best example of the latter category would be the man wearing only Reno 911 style short shorts pulling his wife/girlfriend out into the fire lane for a train-wreck of a slow dance. ("dance" is generous, "grind" would be closer, but still not quite right.) A security guard had entirely too much fun making them quit. Seriously, he was still smiling about it still two songs later!
8. Go Walking Down There
9. King Without a Castle -- this is one of the 4 new songs from his latest "greatest hits" CD (I will not start down the Ranty Road that is my opinion on releasing Greatest Hits right after a Christmas album)
10. One Day
11. I Want You To Want Me -- This song is so fantastic! I do like Chris' version (which is on the new CD ) but I have to say nothing will ever touch the Cheap Trick original.
~~ switch to acoustic ~~
12. Here I Stand (just Chris)
13. Two Hearts
14. Except the New Girl
15. Graduation Day
16. Can't Do a Thing
17. Blue Moon of Kentucky -- Wheeee! When he first started I could tell a lot of people thought he was going to do the OTHER Elvis Blue Moon, but this one was even more fun. Last year, he seemed to focus more on his more exotic - themed songs to play around the hits (which I LOVE -- Sweet Leilani, So Lovely is the Night, etc.). This year was more rockabilly, which is great because I love that too!
At this point he took off his jacket because he was "sweating like a whore in church, folks." and then he went into a whole thing about how the pyramids were built on beer, carrots and suggestive blues. Then they...
~~switch back 1/2 way to electric~~
18. I Love You Too Much (I'm not sure if that's the name -- it's not Elvis' Too Much, which would have been Too Fun)
19. Only the Lonely "by the goddamned great Roy Orbison." And there was a bit here too about how singing in a really high voice was "manly." maybe even "extra manly."
~~all the way electric ~~
20. Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing/ Don't Be Cruel
21. Gone Ridin' -- (!!!) this is such a great car/driving song. I really love it, and he hardly ever plays it. Plus it seems too quiet on the CD but it was perfectly loud in person.


Kenney has a drum solo and the rest of the band do a sort of modified Supermagic 3000 (and it's fine with me that they don't play the whole thing since it is not my favorite).

Chris comes out wearing... THE MIRRORED SUIT! The picture at the top of this post is what the mirror suit looks like when you try to take a picture from far away with no flash. It's like a giant disco ball and must weigh 50 pounds at least. He always puts it on, even when it is hot like the interior of a volcano. That's professionalism! Or lunacy! I'm in favor of both, so I don't care which was the reason.

a) Blue Hotel
b) San Francisco Days (with the obligatory switch somewhere in the middle to "Portland Nights")
c) Bonnie Bee -- this song is fun, but it includes one of the concert elements I find the most stale after 7-8 times seeing it: the HOOCHIE PARADE. They pull 10-12 girls up on stage and to dance and Chris flirts outrageously. This time it seemed slightly less pathetic (maybe it was just shorter) and had the added amusement of the girl he particularly singled out replying to the line "I hope your parents aren't out there" by pointing to the hoochie to her left and saying "that's my mom." Anyway.
d)Blue Spanish Sky -- this song is just beautiful and it was a great way to end the concert. Which was now (at 10:30 pm) down to a reasonable 85 degrees!
Fun show! I hope he comes back next year.
9 comments on "chris isaak and the very hot day"
  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I can not believe that Chris is 50!!! Craziness....I am super glad that you enjoyed yourself and I hope that this week is fun and stuff. I think that the weather should make for some pleasant days and evenings...that's good, right?

  3. I can't believe it either! But then I can't believe I'm 37 so I guess it all works out. It was a great show! As far as the week goes -- I'm feeling pretty good about it, although that might just be because the weather was perfect today.

  4. I wish you could have heard Storm singing "I want you to want me". I just now got chills thinking about it! She does it all slow and dark and gloomy and desperate with only piano. I'd give up fingers for a recording of that.

  5. It really was perfect all weekend long, weatherwise, methinks...I went to Sauvies on Saturday and it is such a nice drive, probably because I always get to relax in the backseat and all...whatev's. It is still nice to feel like you are in the country but know that you are only 20 minutes away from the city. I am glad that you are feeling more like yourself? Yourself is so amazing and I can't imagine ever feeling like yourself wasn't so amazing...I will see you soonly.

  6. leslita - I bet Storm's version is GREAT (I can hear her doing it in my head! maybe she'll do it on Rockstar), but the original will always be ... I don't know. It's just about the perfect power-pop song!

    bbd - did you get out of the backseat and get in the line of fire for blackberries? I think your Sauvie's experience could use a little livening up if not! You're right though about the perfectness of the island's location. Thank you for your kind thoughts regarding my me-ness. You're sweet!

  7. I reject the idea that I am sweet. I am honest and you rock this globe. Bottom line. If you weren't here we would all be lost, okay? Buffy 4evah...

  8. If I can't say you're sweet, I will have to just say thank you. thank you!


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