Lovett obviously has the utmost respect for his band members. He provided Bull a chance to shine his solo offering "The Temperance Reel." Sewell played "Traveler's Prayer" from his solo CD Let Me Fall
(Rubber Dog Records, 2013). Reed brought down the house with a rousing version of "Wild Women Don't Get the Blues." He also is loyal. He kidded with Hagen (who has been playing with Lovett since 1979). Again referencing the arena's unique layout, he asked the cello player, "What is the most challenging part of playing in the half-round?" Hagen looked at Lovett and deadpanned, "The lack of a buffer zone between you and me...no DMZ." Lovett paused for a full beat, then shook his head and simply stated, "1979, yeah...1979."
Following the good-natured exchange, the band launched full-bore into the whimsical "If I Had A Boat" (a song that speaks to the human existence on many levels), "Here I Am" with its gospel arrangement and amusing spoken word verses and "What Do You Do/The Glory Of Love" (a duet sung with Reed about the potential of infidelity).
The main set ended when Lovett led the band through the gospel-influenced (what else?) "Church," during which the crowd clapped along and at its culmination leapt to its feet for a standing ovation. Lovett said, "Thank you all for coming to see us." He then offered-up a nice version of the traditional folk tune "Texas River Song" and finally "Ain't No More Cain" with various band members singing its various passages. As the band wound its way through the set-ender (an instrumental similar to the set-opening instrumental) Lovett took a bow and left the stage leaving the band playing. At the end of the song, the audience exploded and gave another standing ovation.
After leaving the stage and waiting for the audience to work itself up just a tad more, the 14-piece ensemble returned to the stage for "She's No Lady" with its tongue-placed-firmly-in-cheek lyrics.
"She hates my mama, she hates my daddy too
She loves to tell me, she hates the things I do
She loves to lie beside me almost every night
She's no lady, she's my wife
The preacher asked her and she said, 'I do'
The preacher asked me, and she said, 'Yes, he does too'
And the preacher said, 'I pronounce you 99 to life
Son, she's no lady, she's your wife'"
The evening's festivities ended with a stellar take on Townes Van Zandt's up-tempo country-bluegrass shuffle, "White Freightliner Blues," originally released on 2012's (Lost Highway Records). As the band left the stage and the light came up, the audience members appeared completely satiated but drained as they had partied with all their might throughout the high-energy performance.
Photo Credit: Christine Connallon (view more concert photos)
[Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon].