Cat Power - Live at The Tabernacle 06/15/08
Cat Power – Live at the Tabernacle 06/15/08
Cat Power is one of those musicians that you hear about first from a friend; it took at least three of mine telling me that I should really check out her music before I finally gave her a listen. This was sometime before The Greatest was released, and I have been a love struck fan ever since. On Sunday, June 15, 2008 I finally had the chance to not only see her live for the first time, but hallelujah, I was granted a photo pass as well - which means that for the first three songs of the evening, there would be nothing between Chan and me but my camera and her smoky voice filling the space. Held in the recently rebuilt Tabernacle (following a nasty hit from a twister that shut it down for a few months), the show was filled up with eager Cat Power devotees. Opening for Cat Power was the brother/sister band The Dexter Romweber Duo (who is raved about by none other than one half of another famous duo - yep, Jack White of The White Stripes); they treated us with a set of bluesy rockabilly straight out of the Athen's underground and held the audience enraptured until the time finally came for Chan to play her set.
She walked onto the stage wearing a loose button up shirt with a tie draped over it and opened her set with "Ramblin (Wo)Man" - possibly my very favorite track from Jukebox. I was curious to see how her live shows may have evolved since her early days of extreme stage fright and emotional anxiety (often fueled by heavy drinking), but it was clear that time and sobriety has imbued Chan with a stage presence that is both eager to please and perfectly confident in her abilities. She said something to the effect of "Forget New York, forget Paris, no other place can make me as nervous as playing Atlanta". Completely understandable, as Atlanta is her hometown - oh, the pressure! But everyone showed her complete and total love and adoration; though she stalked the stage back and forth for the whole show, it was visible as the pacing turned from being caused by nerves to being a way for her to connect deeper and deeper with everyone in the audience. The keyboard player from The Dirty Delta Blues Band (who are backing her up for the tour and the new album) mentioned how she used to work at Fellini's Pizza, no wonder she left Atlanta for New York! In the middle of her cover of Janis Joplin's "A Woman Left Lonely", she spotted me taking her photo and she leaned forward and gave me a blinding smile and a cute little wave; had I not been so star struck I might have used that opportunity to get some amazing shots, but instead I just stood there and mouthed the words "I LOVE YOU!!" to her instead. Smart cookie, me.
Most notable songs for me were her covers of "Silver Stallion" originally by The Highwaymen, "Blue" by Joni Mitchell and two of her originals off Jukebox, "Metal Heart" (which is actually a cover of her own song off an earlier album, and "Song For Bobby", her ode to Bob Dylan. She also performed a chilling rendition of "Fortunate Son" by Creedence Clearwater Revival, which is not on the new album, but was recorded and may end up a B-side somewhere down the road. At the end of the show, she came out minus the band holding a handful of flowers that she passed out to everyone in the audience. Someone once said "You can't go home again.