I was one of those fortunate enough to have gotten a freebie to yesterday's concert/TV taping (thanks again Dee!!!!) at Sony Studios. After having seen RT only twice, and the last time being almost 15 years ago (but still devotedly buying his albums all this time), I was blown away by the complete precision and power of the guitar playing, his increased vocal range (some nifty scat-singing on "Hamlet"), and his ability to completely project the emotional tone(s) of the song. I thought the highlights were the two takes of "Wall of Death," done with Nanci Griffith doing harmony and backed by her band, "Beeswing," a snarling "I Feel So Good...," and of course, that wacky "Hamlet," which I hadn't a clue that RT had in his repertoire. Ah hell, I loved everything, guess that's the difference between being a fan and a critic. Oh, and the jokes between tape changes were so bad they were great. Last poignant memory highlighting the raison d'etre of the session: RT leaving the stage to a thunderous standing ovation by the audience, which, in customary fashion, kept clapping to evoke the expected encore, but since I suppose PBS (which will be airing the series of concerts beginning the first week of July -- though I don't know when RT's will hit the screen) wanted to keep to a tight budget, no encore was forthcoming. Still, RT stuck his head back out of the curtain, and grinning apologetically, made the classic "cut" sign across his throat.....
[The show was edited for viewing on PBS. If you didn't see the show, contact your PBS station to find out when they will be repeating their Sessions at West 54th Street. Otherwise, there are probably some nice folks on the list who would make a copy for you.]
Listen to RT sing from Sessions at West 54th