Yesterday Johnette Napolitano played downtown at lunchtime for Noon Tunes, some sort of summer program that I’ve never paid much attention to. She was the lead singer for Concrete Blonde which was one of my very favorite L.A. bands in the 80’s. I saw them a bunch of times. I last saw them when they came through town in 2002.
I was having challenging day so it was nice to get out and have something fun to do at lunch. It was down at Pioneer Square and I failed to crop and upload my own photo so here are a couple of good ones not by me. (I can’t decide which I love more Wikipedia or Flickr.). The audience sat on those steps and there was this random 10 foot square patch of grass in a wooden frame and a few chairs in front of the stage.
I got there right as she started and it was one of those perfect blissful collisions of past and present, hanging outside, woman and guitar, kooky dancing lady at the front of the stage, that for a full 5 seconds I considered joining, and my P and J sandwich. The faint scent clove cigarettes wafted by. I was thrilled to be there.
She played a combination of covers, new stuff and classic Concrete Blonde. The audience was part longtime diehard fans like me and then lunch crowd people stopping to check it out. She got some passionate applause and she sounded knock-your-socks-off fabulous. At the end she played Joey which was a minor hit and you could sense that audience shift whenever an act plays a song everyone’s dying to hear. Right about then a group of high school age kids who were probably not even alive when this song was on the radio shuffled through the stage area. They did this sort of mocking conga line thing like you would have done at that age if you walked through your Aunt Eunice and Uncle Larry’s 50th wedding anniversary and they were playing Love Me Tender. It was funny and sort of depressing at the same time.
My only complaint, and stop me if you’ve heard this before, is what is up with those people who take the time and trouble to show up at live music and then proceed to talk during the entire thing? You can eat your lunch anywhere. Why show up at this thing and yak yak yak. I finally moved and sat on the ground by the stage.