Shawn Colvin is one of those unique singer-songwriters who require no elaborate stage set-up, special effects or a huge backing band to make an impression. Colvin can simply take the stage and draw in an audience simply with just her and her guitar, making the concert seem more like spending an evening in her living room, sharing some wine and great music. She has a gift for connecting with fans by bridging the gap between the stage and the audience, a skill that has helped earn the loyalty of an large, eclectic fanbase. Friday night's show at the Capitol Theatre probably earned her a few more.
With a Martin acoustic guitar in hand, Colvin strolled onto a nearly bare Capitol Theatre stage to a standing ovation, seeming almost uncomfortable at the overt display of affection. She didn't waste time with smalltalk, preferring rather to launch straight into her vast collection of tunes, including "Polaroids," "Sunny Came Home," "Witchita Skyline" and, my personal favorite, "Shotgun Down The Avalanche." As the evening wore on, Colvin seemed to relax a bit, sharing stories and funny anecdotes while sliding from one alternate guitar tuning to another. She even explained that friends had encouraged her to clarify the title of "Fill Me Up," as it was often mistaken for "Feel Me Up." This drew a huge response from the audience and a devious smile from Colvin. She even managed to squeeze in a few cover tunes, such as the Tom Waits' tune, "Hold On" and the Gnarls Barkley hit, "Crazy." She confessed that "Hold On" was a song that intimidated her and that she had avoided performing it until fellow songwriters Emmylou Harris and Patty Griffin offered to help her work out the kinks. In my opinion, they did a great job.
While I've been fortunate enough to experience Shawn Colvin in a variety of settings, including under the stars on the lawn of the Biltmore House, the well-worn Capitol Theatre seemed a perfect match for Colvin's casual style and familiar sound. For those who missed this performance, I can only offer this advice: don't let it happen again.