I was stunned when I thought about how many years back it was that I last saw Chris Isaak and his band perform in concert. It was at the Oakdale theater, in the 1990s, but tonight when I saw him again at the Calvin Theater, the show felt similar, and the band, the same tight knit group as before. Isaak did a lot of talking up on stage, talking about his band Silvertone, who have known eachother since they all were kids, and joking about playing ‘both’ of their radio hits.
It’s been a solid decade or more since they had a big radio hit, but they play gig after gig like big time stars, and the near capacity crowd at the Calvin loved it all, not missing any chance to laugh, dance and cheer the gregarious Isaak on. One thing I did notice that was different from the ’90s show was that in the years in between, he’s gone on to have his own TV show on Showtime. So he’s much more jokey and talkey and he’s so charming it all works. I am sure many of you know of musicians who simply talk too much up on stage. Chris combines his banter and sly jokes about the band (“my bassist spent his own money to take a cab all the way over to the more expensive hotel where I stay to knock on my door!”) with trips out into the audience in search of people to dance/sing with.
Since it was December, we got a very cool toe tapping version of Rudolf and even a song that Isaak said was a rarity, a one-of-a-kind tune–in it he actually celebrates love instead of moaning about being left behind. I am sure he won’t sing too many songs like that, as we know his trademark is the heartbreak, the tears, and the simple fact that once again he’s alone again– hopes dashed by another woman who choose someone else.