Sunday, March 2

Jonathan Richman 3-1-2008 at 40 Watt

It was a busy Saturday night here in Athens, with separate shows in town headlined by Jonathan Richman, The Besties, Dead Confederate, The Dynamites, and The Pendletons. Wow. While a few of those suit my tastes, I wound up at the Fabulous 40 Watt for Richman and opener Vic Chesnutt.

Despite his decades as a dedicated road warrior, this was my first time seeing Jonathan Richman. I expected him to be earnest, enigmatic, and entertaining and was not disappointed. Richman took the stage, as he often has, alongside drummer Tommy Larkin. Equipped only with an acoustic guitar, his famous charisma, and dancing shoes, Richman proceeded to carry the night with his stories and songs.

The setlist appeared to be improvised and included a number of highlights. The duo of painter songs, "Pablo Picasso" and "Vincent Van Gogh," were a delight. The former came early in the set and got the enthusiastic crowd involved for good. The Leonard Cohen cover "Here It Is" was nice to hear, and I was pleased as punch to get Richman's classic "I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar" toward the end of the set. A pair of encores was capped with "Girl Friend," one of the many humorous and autobiographical songs performed.

Jonathan Richman - Pablo Picasso
Jonathan Richman - I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar

Overall, a fine show from a seasoned performer. He now heads to Atlanta where he'll play The EARL on Sunday night. His full tour schedule is available from High Road Touring.


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