As a prelude to tonight's particularly goosefleshy rendition of "Not Even Stevie Nicks...", Calexico frontman Joey Burns gets to tell his Glen Campbell story. "Scottsdale, Arizona, is a very strange place," he begins. "We have friends who've been to his house there. As you enter the driveway, electric bells start playing 'Rhinestone Cowboy', then barking dogs drown out the chorus." Burns stops fingering the chords of the buckskin balladeer's biggest hit and pauses, senses a certain bafflement in the audience.
The greatest living rock performer? It's hard to think of any of her peers who've managed to keep their live shows both physically thrilling and smart. Or of any rising combo who wouldn't pale beside her. When other legends (say, Lou Reed) recite poetry mid-set, it's embarrassing and hubristic. When Patti does it, it's as electric as the best guitar riff. Others spout ideological platitudes, Patti makes you volunteer to assassinate Bush right now.
Only 40 minutes of old BBC footage but still an exhilarating glimpse of Blondie live in '79, as their commercial peak kicked in. Filmed at Glasgow's Apollo Theatre, it climaxes with a bagpipe quartet screeching through "SundayGirl". It's the band's raw energy, and La Harry's endearingly awkward presence, which radiate through "Atomic", "Union City Blue" et al. Novices should then graduate to the Eat To The Beat-era videos: a pinnacle for punk and pop.
BUSH HALL, LONDON
Monday March 1, 2004
Rouse closes the first of two nights here with a version of Neil Young's "For The Turnstiles" so intense and intimate that when he sings the line "though your confidence may be shattered" we all inwardly go "uh-oh",and when he adds "it doesn't matter" we all go "phew, what a relief". His crowd are rapt throughout, whooping at every intro like he's just won the Superbowl.