I will forever know every lyric to (almost) every Jenny Lewis song.
You can always tell just how long a person has been listening to Jenny Lewis by the way their lips synchronize with each lyric to songs that were written 10+ years ago. And it is with this infinite love for Jenny that hordes of fans brave the bouncing floor of the Crystal Ballroom to catch a glimpse of the glittering dame of indie rock.
Having listened to On the Line at least a dozen times, the crowd was well prepared for our heads to roll with the opening track. It really is quite catchy and she did, as she always does, perform it in a style which is not a pitch-for0pitch duplication of the studio version, but with the storytelling tone of a performer who knows how to keep the audience engaged with live variation.
The stage was set lavishly with an evolution of The Voyager era color palette, into a California sunset desert motif, with painted dogwood flowers and glowing pink phones flanking her keyboard, set center stage. These accouterments perfectly set off her late 60’s bouffant and shapely, rose gold sequin gown. The marabou cuffs giving it a vampy, campy quality that far removed the ensemble from the baby blue airbrushed pantsuit of the last tour. To quote Jenny, she had ‘never wiggled so much in [her] life.’
Accompanied by an excellent band, Jenny sang her way through the highlights of On the Line, touched briefly on The Voyager with ‘Head Under Water’ and ‘Just One of the Guys,’ — but also busted out a couple of tunes from Rabbit Fur Coat and Acid Tongue.
The magical set was concluded via a few simple and stunning Rilo Kiley tracks, notably ‘With Arms Outstretched’ that was performed with a single guitar (and by Jenny’s request) lit entirely with cell phone lights. Obliging the screaming crowd with an encore, the band delivered a joyful rendition of The Traveling Wilburys’ ‘Handle With Care’ with the added delight of vocals by Karl Blau.
No Jenny Lewis set could ever be long enough. If I had my way, it would be a chronological, cover to cover, blow by blow of every Jenny Lewis album ever, but I guess I will just have to be satisfied with the taste of ‘Acid Tongue’ until the next time our favorite red headed icon graces us with her presence again.