Thursday, September 28, 2006

Jamie Cullum

I would be crazy not to fill you in on the Jamie Cullum concert I went to on Tuesday night @ the Pageant in St. Louis. I can say right now that, hands-down, that was the best show I’ve ever been to. Few concerts are probably as entertaining, relaxing and yet high-energy at the same time, and well-worth any money spent. I would have paid quadruple what I paid for the show we saw and still would be happy. After all, he played for longer than it even took us to drive to St. Louis for the show…he played for about 2 hours and 15 minutes, and it seemed like he could have played all night even when he was done. We had great seats in the General Admission area where there were lots of tables, chairs, bar stools and bar tables, so it was a good atmosphere and the Pageant is a sweet venue.

There’s something about a guy who can play the keys like he does, sing with a voice like his, and speak with a sexy British accent. Let’s just be honest. His youthfulness is so evident, but he sings like he’s been around for about 70 years. He came out in his British getup, just as I pictured… suit jacket, tie, button-up shirt, and finally he shed down to just his very European jeans and a White Castle t-shirt that he proudly wore in honor of his first White Castle visit last spring in St. Louis. In between his swigs of Guinness he crooned all of my favorite songs (Frontin’, I Could Have Danced All Night, What a Diff’rence A Day Made, All At Sea, Mind Trick) and much more. Taking a break from the actual keys, he’d start tapping out percussion beats on the piano itself and singing acapella. He even broke out from this into a brief rendition of “SexyBack” (which I LOVED!) and “Don’tcha wish your girlfriend was hot like me…”
His band members are insanely talented and he gives them all the credit they deserve, which was quite an impressive amount. Because they just returned from Brasil, the entire band showed off their percussion skills which were quite remarkable. A good 20 minutes, at least, of the show were spent jamming out to a sweet samba beat. I was lovin’ it. I’m also pretty surprised that my shins and calves aren’t sore today from all of my foot tapping. I don’t think my foot stopped the entire night.

Josh Ritter opened, and I honestly didn’t know what I was going to think about him or his music. As soon as he and his cowboy hat-wearing, poker mustached, vintage Western-attired bandmates came out onto the stage, I was pretty sure they’d be entertaining. They were every bit of it, and their sound was so good. Dustin Bagby, you’ll be proud to know I’m now a fan. I was a little disappointed he didn’t come out for an encore WITH Jamie, but I’ll get over it.

The entire night I couldn’t help but think of how amazing it must be to be so good at something like playing piano. It kept running through my mind that “the piano is his home…those keys are like home to Jamie…” It is obvious that when he sits down in front of a piano, he can do just about anything. He can create, he can recreate, he can change, he can beatbox, he can write, he can hear, he can relax, he can unravel himself, and he can entertain while doing so. I’m jealous. While he was playing, singing, smashing his seat onto the keys, beating a big red drum, or running around the stage, I was never disappointed. I think the only disappointment of the night was my Thai food beforehand (I ordered some Tom Yum Shrimp Fried Rice…cooked w/ lime juice and lime leaves and cilantro…and very much tasting like cleaning solution. never again, Tom Yum, never again.).

If Jamie’s coming to a city near you, go see him. I promise you it’s well worth it.

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