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Emmylou Harris Live At The Fillmore 
September 26, 2000 
San Francisco
Great Show !!!!!!

Emmylou Harris In Concert 
Harris Amazes At live  Fillmore show

UNPOLLUTED By all The Studio Excess, Emmylou Harris Showcased Her Fabulous Voice During Her Show Tuesday Night 

The singer proves that all she needs is her remarkable voice to wow an audience 

Here’s some pop-music heresy. I think Emmylou Harris  1995 album, “Wrecking Ball” is a bit of a snoozer. That’s heresy, because the thing is generally considered a master-piece, the album that completed her cross over from the country hipsterocacy to the rock hipsterocacy. But we find my mind wandering whenever I listen to it. It’s just too overdone. Producer Daniel Lanois, who did such amazing thins with Bob Dylan’s “Time Out Of Mind” two years later, poured his shimmy, textured shtick  all over . 

Why can’t Harris trust her talent? She’s determined to gild her already gorgeous lily. Still, “Wrecking Ball” was much more accomplished effort than her latest “ Red Dirt Girl” She didn’t have Lanois prodigious if heavy-handed talents for this one. So her lovely tunes are buried in echo, too many electric guitars and even, God help us hip-hop beats. Which is why it was such a pleasure to see her live show and scrubbed bare at the Filmore in San Francisco on Tuesday night September  26, 2000. It was just her, acoustic guitar, the admiral Buddy Miller on electric guitar, veteran Brady Blade on drums and a new jazz-trained bassist doing, a quite amazing job, given that he’d joined the band, according to Harris, just two days before. 

What a great show. She concentrated on songs from the two albums mentioned above , allowing the enthusiastic, sold-out audience to hear how good the songs are without all that studio folderol. That meant the title tracks to “Red Dirt Girl” was a high, tear-jerking story-song in the folk tradition “My Antonia” with Miller sharing lead vocal with (Dave Matthews did the job on the new album) had the feel of an ancient old English folk ballad.  “Deeper Well” was an absolute scorcher of a haunted rocker, with Miller’s molten electric guitar joined with Blade’s crushing drumming on an instrumental break that recalled nothing so much as Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks” 


Truly a Wonderful Album 

Even the cover were spot-on, especially a faithful homage to towns Van Zandt’s “Pancho and Lefty”. It was a pretty much perfect concert. How many shows have you been where the backing instrumentalists were able to join the lead singer on a cappella hymn so astonishingly gorgeous it raised goose bump. But Harris didn’t seem quite capable of trusting herself. She played just one solo song, the stark ballad “The Pearl” with only her acoustic guitar as a safety net. But she couldn’t just go with it. She had to layer in some subtle but quite superfluous prerecorded strings. Trust yourself, Emmylou. All you or your fans need is your pan-pie of voice and your big-hearted talent. 

Miller and his wife, Julie, opened the concert. Lucky for Harris that she’s so talented. Otherwise, her friends and frequent collaborators  would have stolen  the show right from under her. In a better world, the Millers would be major stars. There’s nothing they can’t do in the world of roosty music. Sweet folk Ballads, rowdy honky-tonk, heart-breaking harmonizing, high-hick stomp,  you name it, they’re the best. The Fillmore was packed by the time the Millers took the stage. That almost never happens for an opening act. It made one wonder if they could have filled the place even without the heavy-hitting headliner. That’s the kind of thing that makes you glad to live in the Bay Area. Under-the-radar, deserving talents like Buddy and Julie Miller might never get rich, but they’ll always have a warm reception there.O

 

Revised: September 03, 2007

 

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