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Last Night in LA (by Tim Heidecker)
2022-06-15, Pantages Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
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Comedian and musician Tim Heidecker (Tim & Eric, Office Hours Live, new album June 24) caught Bob’s show last night, the second of a three-night run at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles. He sent in this scene report:
The bullfighter, the old master, entered with his band in black, in silhouette — underlit by cleverly simple white lit plexi flooring, which spilled up onto the faded orange curtains of the elegant, art deco (usually reserved for broadway touring shows) Pantages Theater right in the smack dab of Hollywood, CA. The bullfighter picked up a strat and noodled to some rolicking blues, before handing it off and positioning himself behind his upright piano — which, uniquely he stands behind; the heights of which, squared perfectly so we can see his fedora hatted head just above its top.
It's a miracle. It's a miracle we still have him and it would be a miracle, and a damn good evening if he we were to simply waddle onstage, play a few hits from the back catalogue and say thanks, good night. But the man is far too full of Piss and Vinegar for any of that. No, the old master is still so alive and active that HALF his set was songs from his LAST album — As Mike Love might say, "I'd like to see the Mop Tops match that!" Seriously, no artist of his age, from his generation could get near that artistic feat. In fact, the Rough and Rowdy songs in the set were the highlights, often quiet and beautiful, totally intimate and lush with a wash of pedal steel, tasty licks, double bass with a bow — moody (almost orchestral) drum choices...
The old master only spoke a few times, once to chide someone for taking a picture (not sure how, not sure if they were permitted... they very well may have been!) and once to introduce the band, thank us and say goodnight. His move after a few songs, which became more exciting and frankly hilarious as the set progressed, was to step out from the piano, stand center stage and strike a pose, like a matador, or a five year old mugging for mom's camera... to which the audience would rise to their feet, cheering him on another successful kill... and then he would head back behind the piano and start up a new one.
The man can draw from HUNDREDS of songs to fill out the rest of the set and many you'd be surprised didn't make it in — no “Rolling Stone,” no “Tambourine Man,” no “Blowin’ in the Wind”... imagine having those songs in your back pocket and not playing them. And imagine that that's just fine! His choices were cool, if not sometimes odd... “Most Likely You Go Our Way and I'll Go Mine” worked really well... I don't know if you need “I'll Be Your Baby Tonight” and “To Be Alone With You” in the same set but if that's what he wants to do, well then we'll just have to deal with it! I didn't need the night to end with a pretty faithful cover of “Friend of the Devil” (for the record I am not a fan of the Grateful Dead) but it gave the wine moms in attendance an excuse to get up and do the wavey, hands in the air dance, and that's alright with me.
I was grateful that the Pantages (or Jeff Rosen?) insisted on locking up our phones for the evening. iPhone filming at shows has become ubiquitous, obnoxious and deeply distracting for me and it was such a relief to not have dozens of little screens popping up in front of me throughout the night. The theater was also small enough (and classy enough) to not require any additional screens on stage... All eyes could safely focus on the man in the white hat and his band of handsome hired gunslingers.
I wonder if last night was the last time I'll see the man in the flesh? Is this the last run? No real reason to think it is. He looked spry, healthy, quick on his feet and his voice was as good as I've ever heard it, also he's still got money on the table — still holding his "farewell tour" card (and the "actually THIS is the farewell tour" card) Does he have another Rough and Rowdy Ways in him? No reason to think he doesn't. Will I be there for it? Of course I will.
Thanks Tim! Tim hosts the podcast Office Hours Live and has a new album, ‘High School,’ coming out next week; check out a song here. He’s got a ton of tour dates coming up doing both comedy and music. And, if you’re in LA this Saturday, he will be a special guest at a live taping of the Jokermen Dylan podcast.
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