Friday, May 05, 2006

The Brooklyn Dodgers

We made a rare appearance in Brooklyn last night to see the lovely Rosanne Cash perform at St. Anne's Warehouse. Let me just start off by saying that it was my first time at the venue -- and most likely my last. There was no air conditioning or circulation of any kind. Rosanne described it politely as "a bit toasty in here." It was a testament to how great the show was that the whole place didn't walk out of there after a few minutes. (I may end up suing the joint for the nasty case of swamp ass I'm bound to have acquired in there.)

Pulling heavily from her acclaimed "Black Cadillac" album, Rosanne and her band were in fine form through a good 90-minute set. A few oldies were included too, like "Tennessee Flat Top Box," "Blue Moon With Heartache" and "The Wheel." As is the case with her current album, there's no shying away from her pedigree this time around, and when she performed "September When It Comes" -- her duet with father Johnny recorded shortly before his death -- I halfway expected Johnny to come to life on the screen behind her and sing his part a la Natalie and Nat King Cole's "Incredible."

The set was beautifully designed with a gorgeous black Steinway grand piano stage left and a movie screen above the players that featured a mixture of still photographs from Rosanne's life along with occasional clips from the short film "Mariners and Musicians," which is currently showing at the Tribeca Film Festival here in Manhattan. The film is quite breathtaking, with its use of Super 8 mm and 16 mm visuals and Holga animation, and images of Rosanne running along the beaches of Montauk and at her home in Chelsea. The program describes the project as "an experimental non-linear cinematic tone poem based on conversation, writings, and music by acclaimed singer/songwriter/author Rosanne Cash" -- which kind of tells you that it is a wee bit self-consciously artsy, if not completely pretentious. (For an audience of Rosanne Cash fans, it worked. As an entry at the Tribeca Film Festival, I'm not so sure.)

As was the case at the recent Saint Etienne concert, I'm constantly reminded by groups of my "peers" at shows I attend how old we're all getting. Now I'm not saying people should have been dancing around during the show, but the reaction from one song to the next was pretty indistinguishable. (Even her biggest hit "Seven Year Ache" was met with the same subdued response as all the new songs were.) I think Rosanne was even taken aback as she laughed at one point as the audience quietly sat waiting for the next song and said, "Oh, you're such a polite audience."

With 25 years of work behind her, it was impossible for her to please everyone (nothing from "10 Song Demo" or "Rhythm & Romance"? Are you kidding me?!), but the show was still the perfect ending to a perfect day.

  • View the "Mariners and Musicians" trailer here.
  • Read: Country star Rosanne Cash shares her pain

    Anonymous said...

    Was amazing tonight! Second time I've seen her perform live -- last time was about 13 years ago at Summerstage. I'm definitely not waiting this long again.

    I just hope that next time St. Ann's has some A/C!

    Steve said...

    I remember Rosanne Cash's first hits like "Seven Year Ache" then she was off my radar screen. I've heard a few tracks from "Black Cadillac" that made me think I've missed out on some of her good music in the last 10+ years.