Hoot Owl Callin’
“Fight the greed and the federals. Fight the need and the toxic spills. Drink from that wishing well, but may it never quench your thirst…”
Tacoma, WA was the second stop on the Summer 2018 Tour, which my friend, Amy and I dubbed the I Didn’t Know A Damn Thing Tour after the new Amy Ray solo song… even though she didn’t play it at all. I had a day off in between the Kirkland show and the Tacoma show, so Jonath made me some coffee after Kirkland and I made the drive home to sleep in my own bed, with my cat, Olive, and have the entire next day to prep for the 3-in-a-row shows!
My friend, Marin, was gracious enough to let me borrow her car for the week, and on Friday, I was heading Northbound again. I arrived to town a few hours before show time to check into my lakeside accommodations in Federal Way, WA and was able to kill a bit of time before I found the Steel Creek Whiskey American Whiskey Co. I grabbed a spot outside on the patio and waited for my IG peeps, Amy, Lynn and Lynn’s friend to “kick up their heals and join in.” Our waitress was a hoot and we ended up skipping Lucy Roche’s set to have more time laughing in the sun.
The Rialto Theater is gorgeous with a capacity of just 450 (50 more seats than Kirkland). Though unlike Kirkland’s Performance Center, the inside of the Rialto is very tall and hard, with a balcony, which caused a slight echo. It made for a diverse sound amidst an extended tour, but the sound could not compare to Kirkland’s cushy walls and no balcony, encapsulating a real studio feel.
Here is my run down of the show:
Third row 2 shows in a row, this time - aisle seats! Also, we immediately saw violins, which meant… Lyris is back!
1. Fill It Up Again - The opening song two nights in a row! It’s a good vocal warm up… for all of us! “Hole in, my sky…” The energy in the venue was bubbling, but the front two rows were all members of the venue who did not understand the fan’s singing, clapping, and squealing.
2. Become You - With the harmonica! I love when they get lost in their own songs. Emily threw in an extra “it took a…” on accident. Barely noticeable since she caught herself but very cute.
3. Hammer and Nail – Ya know what?! Classic! Hammer and Nail is another great song to get the crowd brewing. Amy Ray was wearing the black button up with red arrows on the shoulders with what I refer to as, her Fern Gully Chic pants (the new ones with the tropical flair covered with palm leaves that get confused for birds). After the song ended, someone yelled out “Where did you get those pants?!” Though, there was a lot of yelling and laughing and when Amy didn’t hear her, she yelled out again, “No seriously, where did you get those pants?!”
4. Spread The Pain Around - Amy never answered the pants question (maybe ignored?), but instead said, “We’re gonna play a really sad song now. It doesn’t feel right, but we’re all set up for it!” Already, they knew the place was hoppin’! Amy introduced Lucy Roche again and confessed how she had Lucy’s voice in mind when she wrote Spread The Pain Around. Amy and Emily both agreed Lucy was their muse and inspiration, which made Lucy feel extra awkward.
My favorite Spread The Pain Around introduction was Jordan Brooke Hamlin on the No Songs Left Behind 2016 Tour (Portland, OR at [Little] Revolution Hall). Amy egged her on, as if they had been joking about it earlier and Jordan comes out with… “Is there a doctor is the house?! Cause we’re gonna Spread The Pain Around!”
5. Get Out The Map – Not quite the same impact on this crowd as the Kirkland peeps, but this is always a staple on tour. At this point, I’ll introduce the Tacoma Screamer. She was in the row behind me, maybe 5 seats to my right and was very enthusiastic. I love the excitement between songs and maybe a quick shout during a guitar solo, but this was blood curdling and though sometimes appropriately timed, mostly just consistent and primarily obnoxious.
6. Let Me Go Easy - This was written as Reunion on the set list. In between songs, after the Tacoma Screamer, my friend, Amy, yelled out “Let Me Go Easy!” from our seats. Amy Ray and Emily were already holding their Reunion guitars but stopped in their tracks. They whispered to each other for a bit, told Lucy to stay on stage as she tried to sneak away. They actually played the request right there on the spot! Lyris filled in on the violin and our night was made.
Amy intro: “This is an obscure little number that I’m not sure how anybody knows it! Nah, it was on something.” (Rarities in 2005) Amy spoke about visiting her friend Neelok, before she passed of cancer, and recalled a conversation they had while Neelok hid in the bathroom from the hospice staff, most likely smoking. “We were talking and I lifted a bunch of quotes from her to write this song.”
7. Mystery - Now, as if Let Me Go Easy wasn’t perfect enough, they followed it up with Emily’s Mystery. 10 gold stars for this show already. Gorgeous.
8. Go – Slo-Go (as we have been referring to the acoustic version since the Symphony arrangement of the song) was starting to turn into another staple on this tour with renewed energy. Amy has always dedicated Go to the youth in the World who can make a change, but it’s most appropriate now more than ever. Emily tore it up again on electric, but it was Lyris who nailed her violin solo! The song was already starting to evolve on this tour.
9. Wood Song - Since Lyris was already on fire, she launched into to the Wood Song intro. I’ve seen them do this with Lyris probably close to 20 times by now and every time, Lyris freestyles a completely different intro. Sometimes upbeat, sometimes sorrowful, sometimes blue grassy, or rock, or folk but tonight was all out dramatic and sucked me into another world. I love that her intro to the Wood Song almost tends to set the tone for night.
10. Share The Moon – I was thrilled to see this moved up in the set list, opening up a vital slot in the Encore! After the Kirkland, WA show, I sent a note back stage to Amy Ray requesting her 20-year-old song, Point Hope. Now, with Share The Moon in the middle of the set, I was hopeful to hear Point Hope in the Encore. (Spoiler Alert: She never played Point Hope at any show, but I digress). More people in the crowd joined us for the hand claps. The members though, now even more confused about the audience participation, surely hated it. So, we clapped louder and prouder. I mean, come on, there are only 4 claps in the whole song! Amy loved it and smiled over to us!
“Hey la la…” ::clap:: “I’m gonna love ya ‘til it hurts, I don’t mind if I do… Hey la la…” ::clap:: “I’m gonna love ya ‘til it works, I’ve got no mind to lose…”
11. Able To Sing - Emily confidently remembered the song was from Beauty Queen Sister as opposed to two nights before and spoke more about Lucy’s harmonies. She told the story about the birds following from the sky again. How some thought it was the fireworks that caused the deaths, how some thought it was a vision of what’s to come. But Emily thinks of goodness and open hearts and truth in power. She spoke about those currently in power and how we, the birds, need to sing for change.
12. Ozilline – I’ll never tire of this song, as it’s always been one of my all-time favorites. For me, it was the first song I learned to play on the Mandolin. But for Amy Ray, Ozilline has been the name of her grandmother, her dog, and now her daughter, Ozie.
13. Train Inside - Solo Emily from Murmuration Nation! Her band shows back in November were truly awesome, and I can only hope for more! Train Inside has been a staple in IG shows for over a year now, though I do feel like Sad One, Fly, or Slow Down Day Friend (with Lucy on backing vocals) would also all make fantastic options to rotate through the acoustic “Emily Solo” segment of the set list!
Or… Philosophy of Loss, anyone? Hell, while I’m at it... Fare Thee Well? History of Us?!
Recently, after the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, the lyrics have brought a new meaning to mind, bringing up many memories of Robin Williams as well as so, so many others, near and far.
“I feel like a train inside, can’t you hear that lonesome sound?”
14. Hammond Song – Emily gives this song an intro and explains how they love The Roches, and have known Lucy since she was a little girl. They decided to learn this song a couple years ago, though since then, Maggie Roche (who wrote it) has passed away. Emily said Maggie is one of the greatest American writers and they now play the song in her honor.
15. Virginia Wolf - This was another request from earlier in the night, but it was actually already on the set list. Always been a pretty song, especially with Lyris, though as time goes on, Emily’s voice contains more and more vibrato giving the song an updated feel. Amy messed up her very last chord and outted herself after the tune: “I was half a fret off and just didn’t know what to do!”
16. Holler - A new Amy solo song! And my first time seeing it live! The electric Gibson sounded awesome! Her new album is called Holler, but I don’t think she mentioned that. Emily did ask, “Did you tell them it comes out on Sept 28th? I can’t wait to hear it!” Amy looked at her and said, “I’ll send it to you soon.” which made us all giggle. Then they mentioned that the new, live Symphony Album drops “in a couple weeks,” but quickly realized “it comes out in just 7 days!”
17. Let It Be Me - Another political song, with big cheers after “Well the world seems spent, and our president, has no idea who the masses are…”!
Someone yelled out “GHOST!” after Let It Be Me and Amy actually had a look on her face as if to say - we could do that - but Emily looked at her, sternly shook her head and said, “No.” Amy (and us) laughed about the exchange and Emily said sincerely into the mic to the requester, “I hope that doesn’t upset you.” And Amy chirped, “But here’s one from the same record!”
18. ChickenRoot - Loud and awesome! The sound, all of a sudden, was spot on for this one! I think all the bass-y dropped D’s on the guitars enriched the tone that reverberated against the theater walls. I’ll never get sick of Bitterroot River. I remember when they brought it back without Chickenman for the One Lost Day Summer 2015 Band Tour with former Shadowboxer boys, Ben on bass, and Jaron on drums. I saw it at all 3 Texas [Was Clean] shows and it was a hoot!
Bitterroot River was also the very first song at my very first Indigo Girls concert in 2002 on the Become You Summer Tour.
19. Galileo – Fun as always, though with the members in the first two rows, there was no stage rushing yet. They didn’t even stand up! Most of our third row was standing, though I’m tall, so I perched on the arm of the seat and bounced around.
20. Shame on You – After Galileo ended, the audience cheered for more, and my friends and I timed our stage rush perfectly! Dead center, right at the stage, the area behind us instantly filled up. The ‘Girls started playing Shame On You, the Tacoma Screamer was screaming, the non-members in the audience were losing their shit, singing at the top of the lungs and Amy Ray didn’t even sing the first verse and chorus, allowing the crowd to take the lead.
It wasn’t Point Hope, but it was certainly an amazing moment! The only other time I’ve witnessed the fans take the lead like that on Shame On You was at the hot & steamy Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom in New Hampshire where you can smell the energy in the air, but can’t breathe cause it’s so thick!
21. Closer To Fine – A sing-a-long for the ages! And I got my “Hey Colin” point-and-acknowledgement from Amy at the tail end of the show.
“I’m high, I’m on high!”
That night, back at my accommodations, I toasted half of bagel and smeared it with cream cheese while I outlined this blog. The next morning, I met my friends, Nich & Steve for [Starbucks] coffee in Federal Way before heading home to Portland, Or for the next show that night. It was fan-tastic and so heartwarming to be able to meet with my newer Seattle friends (Lynn the night before, and Nich & Steve that morning) whom I’ve met in recent years at the West Coast shows, to sit together and really talk in a quieter establishment where we could actually hear each other’s stories.
I had met Nich two years prior in Kirkland, WA during the February No Song Left Behind Tour (dubbed by friend-Amy and I, the Keg of Wine 2015 Tour). Amy and I had missed the ticket sales, but were already in Seattle, walking home after the Showbox show when Nich messaged us via Facebook to offer 2 tickets! Since it was about midnight, we immediately thought it was a scam, and treaded lightly until we met the next night in Kirkland. His sister had come down with a cold and wasn’t able to attend, but we also didn’t want to scare him off, so we were very nonchalant about our fandom that night.
Nich: “So how many times have you seen the Indigo Girls?”
Us: “Oh, we’ve seen them a few times!” Hah…. A few times that week!
The cat’s out of the bag at this point, and Nich still adores us. His sister was top notch, and they were both in attendance in Tacoma.
These are my people, y’all.