Last night at The Bluebird started out not unlike any other night at The Bluebird –with the early show at 6:00pm. . . I’d booked the early round with David Bradley – his first very own round. Though I was late for this particular show, I try to always pop into the first-timers’ rounds to see how it’s going/how it went. I knew I had little to worry about with David. He is excellent at what he does and put together an altogether impressive round; James Otto, Johnny Gates and Lucas Hoge. I ended up thoroughly enjoying the hour I spent watching these four writers play and interact. The audience was receptive and who doesn’t like James Otto/Jamey Johnson’s song In Color? That song floors me. Every. Single. Time. It’s relatable (it reminds me of my grandparents). Simple, yet elegant. . . Eloquent might be a better word choice.
Then the early show ended and the standard chaos that comes with the early show ending began; the audience and songwriters chatting and filtering out, combined with resetting the room and preparing for the late show before the late show writers show appear for their line check. It was just like every other night – until it wasn’t.
Bobby Bare Jr. arrived (surprisingly early). And then Eef Barzelay showed up shortly thereafter. They didn’t line check. Because they didn’t need to line check. Because they decided they were going to do the entire late show unplugged. Ok. . . this could not get loud, but it might get interesting.
And, guess what? It got very interesting. I think last night’s show – An Evening with Bobby Bare Jr. and Eef Barzelay – is one of my favorite Bluebird shows of the last few years. Bobby and Eef are, of course, outstanding songwriters. Duh. But did you know that they are also completely charming and totally hilarious? I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard during a Bluebird show. Some of the songs were humorous, but the between song banter was killing me. It felt a little like sitting around with friends, shootin’ the breeze, telling stories, cracking jokes and, oh yeah, playing some awesome music in between. I love it when The Bluebird feels like my living room.
Bobby would occasionally leave the stage and wander into the crowd, singing and playing guitar. A move that always makes me swoon. I love it when performers actually leave the stage. It feels like you connect on a more balanced level. It crushes that invisible barrier (or sometimes visible barrier depending on which venue you’re at) between the people on stage and their adoring audience. In a sense, it brings everyone together. Makes you feel more a part of the show experience. I know that may sound a little hippy dippy, but, hey, that’s cool, man.
Eef closed out his portion of the set with back-to-back Journey covers; Don’t Stop Believin’ and Yours Faithfully – on ukulele. Enough said.