Lyle Lovett Release Me album art. Lyle Lovett sings with a catch in his throat as though each song had sentimental value.

Lyle Lovett’s Release Me Tour
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Yardley Hall, Overland Park, Kansas
Lyle Lovett did not travel with high-tech lighting on his “Release Me” tour, instead, the multi-colored spotlights shown down on the band and reflected into the audience. Those in center seating came back dazzled. Good thing I was on the side. Lovett’s Large Band was a total of ten musicians, each given ample time for a solo. It began with the opening flamenco guitarist, who, it turned out to be, was actually a technician with the band. The one complaint I have about this concert is that no musician or orchestration  names were given in the program and when live introductions were made, Lovett turned his head to do this and away from the mike. Thus, I have only a partial list including John Hagen on cello, Luke Buller with fiddle, Keith Sewell on guitar and mandolin, and Russ Kunkel on drums.
It’s unusual to travel with a band half the size of a chamber  music orchestra. There is a keyboardist, percussion, five guitars, steel guitar, cello, bass and all wearing dark suits and ties. If the CIA had a band, this is what you would envision them to be. Actually, it was a touch of class and the cello solo’s were rich and full. 
The band played for two and a half hours without a break. They just went right on through and I could tell the audience needed a break by the number of cell phones lighting up to check for calls. One guy in my row forgot to turn his off and when it rang, he got it out of his pocket, managed to turn it off, and then it slipped upward a good two feet, fell down and was caught by his girlfriend, who handed it back to him with an admonition. You could write a novel just watching the audience.
As for myself?  The Lyle Lovett tickets were a present, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The musicians worked as a well-tuned unit even with a few dance steps tossed in. Lyle Lovett sings with a catch in his throat as though each song had sentimental value. Fans liked this, but I needed a bit of variety and finally it came with “Isn't That So,” “If I Had A Boat” and “That’s Right You're Not From Texas.” Orchestration was full and the amount of guitars did not overpower. Percussion, which can sometimes deafen, was just right so when the drummer's turn came, you could appreciate it. The steel guitarist sat on the side, so you could actually see him play. Lovett had arranged music for a PBS special on the late Buddy Holly, so in the middle of the concert was a tribute to Holly since Clear Lake, IA isn't far north  from the Kansas City area. Lovett has been on the music scene for 30 years with his unique larger band. Touring to promote is a serious business (and tiring in a bus) and the band came to Kansas from Colorado and then back to Texas (where Lovett is from and proud of it) and on to Boston and Port Chester.
Copyright 2012 Marie Asner

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