Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Joseph Arthur - Live at the Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, OR 2008/07/21

Last night's one-man show at the Doug Fir was excellent, relieving my concerns about hearing that Joe was leaving the JamMan loops at home for this tour. It was exciting to see him open with an intense version of the soon-to-be-released 'Temporary People' and kick over the music stand holding the binder full of cheat sheets for new songs. Initial reviews of the tour characterized his setlist and performances as being a bit rigid, so perhaps he was making an intentional effort to loosen up a bit. Having a room full of longtime friends and devoted fans undoubtedly help him do just that, and he was soon bantering back and forth with the crowd about spiked water bottles and the Portland art scene (separately, of course), as well as jokingly thanking us for coming "to the dress rehearsal" while the club sorted out some sound problems with the monitor speaker.

The 80-minute set was full of new and obscure songs, the finest of the bunch probably being 'Turn You On' (which will be on the forthcoming Lonely Astronauts cd in September). Against expectations, he then actually opened the floor to requests this time out. Closet classics like 'Favorite Girl' and 'Ashes Everywhere' were quick to be called out, as well as requisite fair-weather fan favorites like 'Honey in the Moon' and 'In The Sun'. Joe wended his way through them all, and by the encore he had recovered and brushed off his notebook to do the forthcoming 'All the Old Heroes,' a wordy, Dylan-esque folk ramble that is clearly near and dear to him. I've got a feeling this one might drop out of the setlist (or be radically reformed) once the Lonely Astronauts join him for the next leg of touring.

Check out a few video clips from this show (courtesy of bombers66 and Woody):

Slide Away
Turn You On
Electrical Storm
Favorite Girl

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