Nick Lowe at the Sheldon Concert Hall, 9/26/12: Review and Setlist
But the evening wasn't all torch and subliminal twang. The hilariously rakish "I Trained Her to Love Me" had a dead-on Elvis parody and "I Live on a Battlefield" was even more comic, if only for the story about Diana Ross' awkward cover of the song that bought the songwriter a new bathroom. "Cruel to Be Kind," even on just an acoustic guitar, swung and snapped, while "Rome Wasn't Built in a Day" glided along, even without At My Age's studio-pro horns, strings, piano and organ. For one of pop and punk and rock's great producers it must feel a bit surreal to play these songs alone, given all the care he originally lavished upon them.
By the double encore's greatest hits - plus "Tokyo Bay," an original, as-yet-unreleased rockabilly tune - Lowe had fully argued a defense no one demanded. "When I Write the Book" and "(What's So Funny 'bout) Peace, Love and Understanding" -- the former with an unwelcome response vocal from an over-eager patron and the latter with a quite welcome long and loving delivery - set the scene for "Alison," a song written by an old friend, and a final reminder that the coolest cool can be heard in the wisest whisper.
Personal bias: I'm a dues-paying, volunteer DJ at 88.1 KDHX, the station that presented this "Sheldon Session." More importantly, I'm a true believer in the Church of Our Lady of Acoustic Perfection. Nashville has the Ryman. St. Louis has the Sheldon. If you haven't been to this Grand Center institution, currently celebrating its 100th year, your ears haven't really lived.
Overheard: Nick Lowe on the late Andy Williams [Have those names ever appeared in the same sentence?]: "I didn't really know him, but we crossed paths a few times. I shouldn't go into details, but I saw enough to know he was extremely cool."
Opener: None, though rumor had it that Yep Roc label-mate Eleni Mandell would also be on the bill. She was in town, in fact, cutting an in-studio session for KDHX, but this night was all Nick.
What's Shakin' on the Hill
Long Limbed Girl
Lately I've Let Things Slide
She's Got Soul
I Trained Her to Love Me
I Live on a Battlefield
I Read a Lot
Cruel to Be Kind
Rome Wasn't Built in a Day
Somebody Cares for Me
House for Sale
I Knew the Bride (When She Use to Rock And Roll)
When I Write the Book
(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace Love And Understanding