Search This Blog

Glen Campbell, Royal Concert Hall

Glen Campbell, Royal Concert Hall October 17 2008

The voice is still there, his guitar playing – maybe scruffy at times – is dazzling and as proven by the latest album Meet Glen Campbell he can make any song his own.
But he can't remember his own band members' names. Or song lyrics – a lot of the time he's reading off an autocue. Or that where he enters the stage is where he exits. Three times he headed for the back curtain and had to be led in the right direction by his daughter Debby.
Oh and that's another thing, has no one pointed out how inappropriate it is to sing a duet with your daughter that includes the line "each time we make love..." ?
And as I discovered a few days ago in an interview with Campbell, for a man who has played with Elvis, Sinatra, The Beach Boys and Phil Spector, he's a terrible storyteller. Not that he doesn't have a go but each anecdote ends without point.
Yes, he's 72 but the 73-year-old next to me was roaring at his bumbling.
But I'm getting bogged down here.
The half-capacity audience loved it. And rightly so. He led off with the early big hitters Gentle On My Mind, Galveston and By The Time I Get To Phoenix but it was the new songs that had the biggest response. Everyone cheered for his countryfied take on Travis' Sing (the pedal steel guitar was wonderful), Green Day's Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life), Tom Petty's Walls and The Replacements' Sadly Beautiful.
They're enhanced by twanging lead guitar and mandolin.
He fluffs U2's All I Want Is You and has to ask who it was by, then sings Angel Dream (Tom Petty again) with a sweet in his mouth. And the Everly Brothers duets with the daughter are self-indulgent.
But the passion is still there.
Further dips in to the past include True Grit, the theme song for the movie in which he starred alongside John Wayne ("the most natural actor ever"), his "favourite song" Wichita Lineman ("the most played song of the millennium"), a yodelling Lovesick Blues, The Highwayman – for which he really comes alive – and set closer Rhinestone Cowboy.
He's back to turn the Foo Fighters' Times Like These into a country-rocker before ending with the Velvet Undergound's sombre Jesus.
Much like Elvis, who he apes for Conway Twitty's It's Only Make Believe, Campbell's later period may find a less coherent a performer but the ability to deliver remains.
Here's hoping he can keep it together to make more albums like Meet Glen Campbell.

No comments:

Post a Comment