' From page three
_ -. assorted stringed and percussion instruments, is
.1 delightfully exuberant by nature. Sukay plays it
' better than anyone else I‘ve heard.
Honorable mention: At the time this was written,
- l‘d attended 113 concerts in 1989. so there were
many vying for top spots in my memory. In addition
to two brilliant performances by Elvis Costello in
Chicago. I look back very fondly at shows by the
_ Chieftains. the Love Experts, Joe Ely. the Balancing
Act. the Proclaimers. World Saxophone Quartet,
Chicken Truck. Barrence Whitfield. Bonnie Raitt,
Lyle Lovett. Richard Thompson. the Oyster Band
and Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson.
- Terry Perkins
First of all. I didn’t go to Busch Stadium to see the
Who or the Stones. Nothing against either group —
i ' I've just had my fill of mega-concert spectacles.
Here's the best of what I did see in ’89:
, Lyle Lovett/Leo Kottke, March 4, Westport
Lovett’s first time through town with his Large
Band was a revelation — a high-octane mix of
country, blues. jazz and R & B with lyrics that re-
vealed a master’s touch. Kottke was great, as usual.
Tony Williams Quintet, J uly 2, VP Fair Jazz Stage
What a band! The peerless Williams on drums. the
| incredibly talented Mulgrew Miller on piano, Char-
nett Moffett on bass and Wallace Roney and Billy
Pierce on trumpet and sax. Backstage before the
set, tensions were on edge because of production
foul-ups (the band wasn’t met at the airport, etc).
But the musicians channeled their frustration into
an incredibly energetic set.
‘ Oliver Sain Soul Reunion, May 12, Mississippi
From Oliver‘s band to the Sharpies to Fontella
Bass, everyone was on the money that night. A
compact history of St. Louis R & B in one evening‘s
worth of music.
Bonnie Raitt/Lyle Lovett, Nov. 3, Fox Theatre
Another great show from Lyle and a very impres-
sive set by Bonnie. proving she‘s definitely on the
Bob Dylan/Steve Earle, Aug. 11, The Muny
Dylan didn’t reach the incredible heights
achieved during his 1988 Many show. but there was
plenty here to sink your teeth into. I’m sure it
antagonized purists to hear new versions of Dylan
classics. but it proved to me that he's not about to
turn into just another "oldies" performer.
Honorable mention: Jackson Browne/David
Lindley, Timeless All-Stars, Wynton Marsalis, Tracy
REM, March 3, The Arena
It was impressive to see how the songs of these
contemporary troubadours transferred so readily
from small, intimate venues to the relative coldness
of The Arena stage without losing any of their
A testimony to the talent inherent in the band that
delivers them, these songs were never more vibrant.
A new-tound maturity has touched not only REM's
material but its stage presence as well. and the
resulting concert was the best of both worlds.
Lou Reed, April 9, the American Theatre
In a business filled with warmed-over clones, Lou
Reed is an original who‘s never been afraid to stand
firmly outside the mainstream of pop music.
The concert featured some of his most brilliant
work — a scathing look at New York as few have
captured it. His music is filled with creative anger,
and the resulting performance was one of the most
coherent and provocative we’ve seen from him.
The Who, Aug. 11, Busch Stadium
After a wait of more than seven years for this
group‘s return, the anticipation almost outweighed
the actual event. That was exacerbated by the pre-
ponderance of media attention and the fact that
Pete Townshend himself kept insisting we would not
be seeing the Who. just a thinly disguised replica.
As it turned out, even Townshend underestimated
the power the three remaining original members of
the group can generate when onstage together. Pete
was extraordinarily pumped Up for this show. wind-
milling his way through the Who classics along with
Roger Daltrey, a marvel of physical and vocal fit-
ness for the over-40 set. and John Entwistle, who
plays bass like no one else in rock 'n’ roll.
The Rolling Stones, Sept. 17, Busch Stadium
How rare for St. Louis to experience two first-
class stadium shows in one summer. Whether you're
a fan or not, you have to admire the Stones’ ability to
put out some of the best music of their long career.
There’s still enough energy left to pull Mick Jag-
ger through a three-hour set and enough musical
inspiration to see him and Keith Richards through
another stormy period in their relationship.
The Sports Section, Sept. 30, Mississippi Nights
An established arena act returning to its nightclub
roots made this show a singular experience. Few
people were fooled by the clever disguise —— Huey
Lewis and the News delivered the same set of
energetic, happy-go-lucky tunes as always, only this
time, up close and personal.
Chicago/Beach Boys, Oct. 25, The Arena
In a better year for concerts (I saw neither the
Who nor the Rolling Stones), this double feature
might not have captured my top spot. I've heard
both groups sound better than they did here in
October, although not much.
But the encore was a different story. By itself, this
phenomenal 25 minutes was worth the entire eve-
ning and may have been the best in any concert
year. If you've never heard Beach Boy vocals on
“Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is” or
great Chicago brass licks on “Help Me, Rhonda" or
“Fun, Fun. Fun." you’ve really missed something.
Daugherty & Field, May 18, Webster University
A homecoming of sorts for former St. Louisan Bill
Daugherty, the Irish tenor half of this New York
cabaret act. With Robin Field at the piano, the duo
did things so remarkable that even their unusual
sense of humor could not disguise their talent.
For example, they do-wopped a Bach Invention
(try doing that sometime). The second half, consist-
ing mainly of “From Bach To Rock," was a fluid,
funny and totally engaging whirlwind through re-
cent musical history.
St. Louis County Pops, “Gershwin,” J uly 4, Queeny
In a program that was already better than the
usual county pops fare, symphony pianist Barbara
Liberman stepped in and knocked a grand slam with
her interpretation of “Rhapsody In Blue."
Everything that "serious” orchestrations and ar-
rangements usually bring to the piece — stodginess
and an attempt at profundity — were wisely kept out
of this arrangement. Credit Liberman and guest
conductor Newton Wayland for restoring the piece's
Take 6, Aug. 12, The Muny
This young soul/gospel vocal sextet opened for Al
Jarreau and could hardly have been better. Tight
harmonies and a wholly engaging group personality
made their set the best 45 minutes all year.
K.T. Oslin, April 1, The Fox
She appeared with Randy Travis, and the two put
on a country vocal clinic. Oslin, who has been
around for a long time (though not so long in the
spotlight), used every bit of her experience to keep
things fresh, something I found slightly lacking in
Honorable mention: Eric Burdon, “The Music of
Andrew Lloyd Webber.”