The timing of this show is somewhat odd, coming as it does nearly a month before the release of Malin's second album, The Heat. The audience doesn't know the new songs and Jesse chides them for their reserve when he plays the unfamiliar material. He admits it's his own fault, though. The album was meant to be out now, but was delayed when he added two extra tracks.
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.