Monday, March 26, 2007

Elliott Smith comes alive

Listening to a late-period Elliott Smith show, at Austin's Steamboat May 3, 2003, at the Live Music Archive, really makes me miss him, both individually as an incredibly gifted songwriter and performer and as a part of a scene that doesn't have anyone like him. His voice is a bit shaky, but he's mostly solo here, which is best for my taste (I caught him on the Figure 8 tour and while the band set bored me, his solo encore was incredible; this is probably partly my inclination for solo songwriters and partly that Smith was simply much more powerful alone). He managed to make deep melancholy, paranoia and alienation so accessible and hummable, it even showed up in mainstream Hollywood schlock like Keeping the Faith.

It's a nicely balanced set list, with several songs from Either/Or and earlier, favorite "I Figured You Out" (which he gave away to Mary Lou Lord since he thought it sounded "too much like the Eagles"),and unreleased gem "Somebody's Baby" (not Jackson Browne's), which didn't show up on In a Basement on a Hill and might well have not been properly recorded. UPDATE: "Somebody's Baby" turned up on IABOAH at "Twilight". Thanks, Hugh.


Hugh said...

I thought "Somebody's Baby" was the working title for "Twilight" off of Basement. No?

iff said...

Yikes, you're right. Keeping me honest!

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