David Lindley played in the intimate setting of the Park Theatre Saturday night to a sold out house. Armed with two acoustic guitars, a bouzouki and his witty stories, Mr. Lindley slayed the audience, leaving them begging for more.
The California native has played in Winnipeg many times over the years and is always a Folk Festival favourite. The eclectic musician is proficient with any of the stringed instruments he picks up. Indeed, if you closed your eyes, you would almost think there were two or three musicians up there on stage.
Winnipeg Folk Festival Artistic Director Chris Frayer introduced David Lindley, saying that David said rehearsals are for cowards. As Lindley graced the stage in his always colourful apparel, he said, “It’s nice to be in a place where they have healthcare.”
He kicked off the show with the Bonnie Raitt tune, ‘Leave Home Boy,’ changing the lyrics to ‘Leave Home Girl.’ Lindley is very adept at covering another’s tune and making it his own.
Second song was the first of two Warren Zevon covers he played called, ‘The Indifference of Heaven.’ He ended the first set with Zevon’s ‘Play It All Night Long,’ which started off with some serious guitar picking followed by the line, “Grandpa pissed his pants today, he don’t give a damn…” which elicited laughter from the crowd.
Seems like Mr. Zevon and Mr. Lindley were dear friends who shared the same sense of humour. Several stories were told to the audience such as, “The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was designed specifically for Warren Zevon.” He also mentioned how the man could kill a cockroach across the room with a .44 Magnum.
Lindley picked up the bouzouki for the Danny O’Keefe song, ‘Well Well Well’ and when a fan yelled out, “Thank you, David,” he replied, “Did you say thank you, or nice shoes?” Another fan yelled out, “We love you” to which the performer responded, “I love you too, you helped me buy my house.” He followed that song with ‘Rag Bag.’
The second set started with ‘Tiki Torches at Twilight’ which had the audience singing the chorus ‘throwing up in cars’ as Lindley ad libbed the dialogue between the person throwing up in the car and the horrified friend whose car he was throwing up in. Lindley admitted the song got out of control but I don’t think anyone minded. We were all having a great time by this point.
This song was followed by a lesson in the dynamics of how poop will float in the toilet bowl after you eat fatty foods. Fun stuff, vomit and poop; at least it’s funny when David Lindley talks about it.
Next up were his adaptions of two traditional songs, ‘Pretty Polly’ and ‘Little Sadie’ followed by two meaty songs, ‘Meatgrinder Blues’ (inspired by another friend Ry Cooder) and ‘The Meatman’ which ended the second set.
In between these songs a fan remarked, “Thank you for Kaleidoscope,” referring to the psychedelic folk band Lindley played in from 1966-1970, which pulled another story out of the memory banks.
When he came back for an encore, one fellow yelled out, “You make the world a better place.” In response, Lindley played Johnson Boys.’
As he left the stage, and the house music came on, fans cheered for more. Lindley obliged and came back for one more song, ‘Full Blown Boogie.’ Before he did that tune, he shared a story about a friend who worked in the Vatican library.
The night before the Park Theatre show, Mr. Lindley was given the 2014 Artistic Achievement Award at the Winnipeg Folk Festival’s 3rd annual gala fundraising event. He also did a 40 minute concert. Local band Black Sea Station were honoured to have the man join them on stage during their set with his bouzouki.
Two very entertaining evenings of good playing, good stories and good vibes. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much during a concert. I think the last time was at, hmmm, let me see…I think it was a David Lindley show. Yes, Mr. Lindley, you DO make the world a better place. Can’t wait till he comes back.
All photos by Doug Kretchmer except as noted