Come on now Oklahoma City, that was embarrassing.
This past Saturday night saw the great Alejandro Escovedo in town touring in support of his just released album, “The Crossing” which was reviewed here: (https://americanahighways.org/2018/09/14/alejandro-escovedos-the-crossing-is-one-of-the-finest-albums-of-the-year/ ) by our own Mark Joseph Engleson.
I’ve been fortunate to have seen Escovedo many times over the years, and it’s my humble opinion that he’s an artist to never, ever miss. Unfortunately, Oklahoma City seemed to have missed the memo.
Of the many shows I’ve attended at the Tower Theatre, I’d be hard pressed to be able to name a smaller crowd I’ve shared the room with. It really was embarrassing. But fortunately, the crowd that was in attendance, was a prime example of quality over quantity. If Escovedo was disappointed, it wasn’t apparent. He and his band put on an incredible performance, playing impassioned renditions of his back catalog, such as “Sally Was A Cop,” “Sensitive Boys,” “Always A Friend” and “Castanets”.
On any other night those songs would be the easy highlights. But not this night. This performance really gained its magic from the songs presented from the new album “The Crossing.” There was an obvious joy emanating from Escovedo and band with each subsequent track played from the album. “Teenage Luggage,” “Outlaw For You” and “Texas Is My Mother” were all outstanding and memorable. Yet, the one performance that resonated with me the most was “Something Blue.” Every single aspect of that song and performance hit me with fervor and emotion. It’s as well crafted song as I’ve heard this year, and I feel fortunate to have witnessed it live.
As I mentioned earlier, despite the mostly seated crowd, Escovedo managed to make the most of this evening. He regaled us with tales of visits to OKC with the True Believers, the Nuns and Sensitive Boys, as well as his niece Sheila E. Escovedo did everything in his power to entertain and excite the sparse crowd. He finally encouraged everyone to forgo their seats and fill the area directly in front of the stage, which the audience gladly did. It was like a switch went on. Nearly immediately the energy level changed in the room, and the magic grew.
Escovedo’s band is effectively the same as “The Crossing” album line-up, a fine band in their own right. That band is Don Antonio, led by namesake and guitarist Don Antonio Gramentieri, and thankfully we got a full set from them to open the night. Playing mostly instrumental songs, the Italian band were a perfect warm-up in their first Oklahoma appearance. I would happily see Don Antonio again, and without question Alejandro Escovedo is not to be missed. Escovedo seems rejuvenated and inspired right now, and this was one of the best performances I’ve seen him put on. It’s just a shame that Oklahoma City didn’t turn out as they should have. I can think of no better way to spend a Saturday night.
Alejandro Escovedo & Don Antonio next head over to Europe, but without a doubt will be back on the road here in the States soon. Keep an eye on the tour dates here: http://www.alejandroescovedo.com/tour-dates/