By Chuck Cox
After loving his music and hearing about his prowess as a live performer for several years, I finally made it out to see Lee play for the first time myself.
Lee and his five-piece band were nothing short of spectacular, making their way through a set list of Lee’s incredible material and some pretty sweet covers. Lee played songs from his five studio albums, including last year’s sublime Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song.
Every song had a life of its own, and each and every one of them was just perfect in its own way. It’s hard to even pick a favorite, but I did really enjoy “Dresser Drawer,” which Lee said he wrote about a friend of his in San Francisco whose marriage fell apart. It was one of those moments during the show where you could just about hear a pin drop.
But just like he does on his albums, Lee is able to seamlessly shift into an entirely different gear. After doing some songs without his band, he brought it back on stage out front to do a pair of rousing covers of Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” with his bassist handling lead vocals. I couldn’t control smiling throughout those six minutes or so. So cool.
Lee had a surprise for the Dallas crowd, too. After he sang “Night Train” in the encore, he brought out Fort Worth’s The Quebe Sisters Band. The trio did a song by itself and two with Lee, including a cover of Lead Belly’s “Goodnight, Irene.” Very cool stuff. It was my third time to see the Quebes, who are great.
And then there was opener and fellow Pennsylvanian Langhorne Slim. I have to give Lee lots of credit for having a guy who held his own as well as Slim open up for him. In just 30 minutes, he owned the room. He was just amazing. So much so that I really can’t remember a better opening act — especially one that I wasn’t familiar with heading into the show. Lee and Slim pretty much define the term “showman.”
Two more cool notes about the show. Baylor coach Art Briles was at the show. And Lee did a little bit of Erykah Badu’s “Tyrone” during the encore. Really fun. I’ll see Lee any time he is in town, in the future.