I wore a black velvet bodysuit with spaghetti straps, black pants and boots, and a wild-rose necklace just like the one Erica Orloff and I are giving away for our Web site contest. (I couldn't resist--I bought one for myself, too. And, by the way, get on over to my site if you'd like to see it or win it! plug, plug www.crystal-green.com) Then, crossing my fingers that this...yes, this....would be the night I finally saw Chris Isaak live, strumming his guitar and crooning his heart out, I headed into the Star of the Desert mini-arena at the Nevada-California state line.
Until this point, I'd been unsuccessful in my endeavors to see him. I'd been thwarted by bad timing and cancellations (see previous blog). But that night, as I headed to my seat--which was only about twenty feet away from the stage--I kept my optimism at a peak.
And, damn, was it worth the patience!
If you've never seen Chris Isaak and his band, I urge you to go whenever you have the opportunity. Sure, he's a babe, with his Elvis hair and sexy smile. But forget that. If you're a fan of music at all, this man will entertain you. It was obvious that he's a pure musician--he just loves to play. He and the band didn't only perform his songs, they sat up there and jammed. Johnny Cash, Cheap Trick, Christmas tunes...they were all covered, but Chris Isaak made every note his own. And he absolutely knows how to own a stage: his charm and relaxed rapport with the audience made the concert fly by. Also, there was no lip synching here, thank goodness--there's a lot of talent to back up his recording career.
For years, Chris Isaak has been on the cusp of hitting the big time. With his rockabilly/surf/Orbison/hip TWIN PEAKS vibe, he stirs up the familiar and manages to make his sound original. It looked like he was finally going to be welcomed into the mainstream when "Wicked Game" became a hit, but it didn't quite happen. Then came "Baby Did A Bad, Bad Thing," which was used on the EYES WIDE SHUT soundtrack. Still...denied. Then he got his own show on the Showtime network, and...nope. Part of me would love for him to "make it," but I like his music the way it is, and I fear what going "mainstream" would do to him. Yeah, I'm being a selfish fangirl, but you know as well as I do how this industry can eat up the best of performers and spit them back out as a "new and improved" package. I never want to see that happen.
Ultimately, I'm just happy I finally witnessed my Holy Grail of performers. (Excuse me for a second while I giggle like a thirteen-year-old. Oh. My. God. I was twenty feet away from Chris Isaak!)
And, needless to say, when he comes around again, I am so going to be there.