Saturday, June 23, 2007
Norah Jones Live
Norah Jones can sing anything. Think of nearly any song you like, insert her voice, and you're going to have strong, sweet sounding version. That's one reason she puts on a great show. She's also easy on the eyes and has great stage presence, not that I could gather much of that from my nearly top row seat at the Santa Barbara Bowl last night where Norah Jones and her Handsome Band put on a pretty good set. So, let's start at the beginning - the Santa Barbara Bowl is a great outdoor venue in the hills of Santa Barbara overlooking the city and the ocean. Its not too big, which is great for an act like Norah Jones, but she would be even better in a dark, smoky bar. The crowd was very very yuppie. I don't know if that's because it was Norah Jones or because that's just Santa Barbara. Needless to say I didn't quite fit in in my Gap jeans and shirt from Target, but I didn't care because they were serving some fantastic local Firestone beer. Enough with the pleasantries, how about the music.
M.Ward opened up for her and was surprisingly good (hear a few tunes at his myspace site). I hadn't heard much of him before. Definitely the singer/songwriter type with an acoustic guitar and an interesting voice. He came out on stage with Norah at his side, so the first couple songs were, needless to say, very good. He also had Victoria Williams come out on stage - I know very little about her, but she seems to be a Southern California staple with ties to the South.
Finally it was time for some Norah Jones and she started out, interestingly, with an electric version of Come Away With Me that was more bluesy than jazzy and was damn good. The set was only about an hour and a half long, but it included nice versions of Sinkin Soon (surprisingly good with out the horns), My Dear Country, Be My Somebody, and Rosie's Lullaby all from her new album (Not Too Late). She also threw in some Townes Van Zandt tunes and ended the main set with Hand On the Wheel by Willie Nelson - fantastic.
All in all I'd say it was a fine night of good music. I'd been itching for a good concert since moving out west - not as many acts come through here as did Nashville, of course. I'd recommend seeing her. In the mean time here are a few tracks to get you through.
Norah Jones - Be My Somebody [buy]
Willie Nelson - Hands On the Wheel [buy]