Wednesday, June 16, 2004

And this may be all you need to know.

Last weekend, I wound up with an offer from a friend to use two free (to me) tickets to a Linda Ronstadt/Aaron Neville concert. Usually, this is not something I'd agree to, but my mom happened to be in town when the call came and was ecstatic at the prospect, so we went. Besides, Linda is pretty much the undisputed old-school queen of covers, so it became research. Heh. Yeah.

Aaron Neville is, if you can imagine, even more annoying in person, as he apparently believes his warbly falsetto doesn't warble enough on its own and spends his time on stage purposefully shaking his microphone in front of his face, which itself is clenched as if he's taking the biggest shit of his life—which, I guess, in essence, he is.

Linda's voice is pretty damned powerful, but she used it primarily to sing jazz standards and the syrupy, shit duets like "I Don't Know Much (But I Know I love You)." She sang a couple of her cover hits, a "Blue Bayou" (Roy Orbison) here, a "Just One Look" (Martha & the Vandellas, among many others) there. But she didn't sing my favorites. No "Different Drum" (a song I've sung a million times at karaoke). No "When Will I Be Loved."

Also disturbing is that her eyes were pretty consistently trained on the teleprompter on the floor in front of her. And she used it a lot, which is pretty sad. For instance, if you need a reminder that the first word in the song "Desperado" is desperado, I think you need a little more help than a teleprompter can provide.

  • The Lemonheads "Different Drum" (Linda Ronstadt [Mike Nesmith wrote it, you know] cover)
    As I said, this is my favorite Linda Ronstadt song. I love the idea that a song written in the same era as the woman-as-doormat classics like "He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss)" and "Wishin' and Hopin'" could be so progressive. That's right, Linda, women don't have to feel the need to be tied down to men, even the pretty ones. However, to quote our old friend Shania "Where in the Hell Has She Been" Twain, this version don't impress me much. It was a B-side on one of the "It's a Shame About Ray" singles, I think, and is, for the most part, far less inspiring to me with a (quite apathetic-sounding) man singing it.

  • Linda Ronstadt "When Will I Be Loved" (Everly Brothers cover)
    I think it's safe to say that this is my favorite version of this song—although the Mannfred Mann version is a close second. Perhaps, more than anything, this reflects my nostalgia for hearing powerful female vocals to which my mom would happily sing along while she drove me to nursery school.
  • No comments: