Monday, May 16

Jonathan Richman in Nashville

Hello Jojo-ites,

I just got back from a road trip to see the great troubadour, Jonathan Richman.

He played two shows in Nashville, Tennessee at a place called “The 5 Spot”. I liked this venue. It was very small and the stage was less than a foot high. There seemed to be college-age people running everything and it was very appropriate for a Jonathan Richman show.

1st night:
To my surprise, only about 30 people attended this show. There were people seated at a table in the middle of the venue and some other people to the side. Throughout the show Jonathan would walk through us while playing his guitar as if he was feeling us out. He would frequently hop off the stage so that he would be right next to us and dance in the way only he can.
He played the song “Bohemia” which was a huge highlight for me. After the intermission I told him how much I loved that song and he mentioned how sometimes his Dad would drop him off at Harvard Square and other times he would “take the trolley or somethin’”.
I also asked him about a band called “The Shaggs” (there is a cd of theirs that has a quote from him on the back). He said he loves the Shaggs and they are “real”.

2nd night:
This was a complete change from the previous night’s show. This time people came out and the place was much better attended. There was a slightly rowdy element to the crowd but instead of distracting it actually enhanced the experience because they were clearly into the show and participated warmly.

The absolute pinnacle of the show was another version of “Bohemia” but with a very different feel than with other versions. When he started the song he had the complete attention of the crowd, so much that he quickly started to get them to sing along with him. Most of them hadn’t even heard the song before but after only a few minutes the entire venue was doing a sort of call-and-response bit with him! There were many choruses and at the end there was the kind of applause that tells you that everyone had just gotten something very special from that song.

He closed the set with an up-beat version of “He Gave Us the Wine to Taste” that was continued for a sort of half-encore.

The one thing that was in common for both shows was the connection that the audience gained with Jonathan. Whether it was the quiet, subdued first night, or the rowdy, triumphant second night, one could not help to feel that they knew Jonathan on a first-name basis!


Because Her Beauty Is Raw and Wild
In Che Mondo Viviamo
O Moon, Queen of Night On Earth
Egyptian Reggae
I Was the One She Came For
Le Printemps Des Amoreux Est Venu
No One Was Like Vermeer
Italian Party Song?
Her Love Is From Somewhere Else
Let Her Go Into the Darkness
El Joven Se Estremece
That Summer Feeling
When We Refuse To Suffer
Keith Richards
Not So Much To Be Loved As To Love

No One Was Like Vermeer
Let Her Go Into the Darkness
Her Love Is From Somewhere Else
Come To Our Party? (hebrew)
If You Want To Leave Our Party Just Go
O Moon, Queen Of Night On Earth
Keith Richards
Because Her Beauty Is Raw and Wild
Take Me To the Plaza
These Bodies That Came To Cavort
Sa Voix M'Atisse
Vincent Van Gogh
I Was Dancin' in the Lesbian Bar
That Summer Feeling
When We Refuse to Suffer
My Baby Love Love Loves Me
He Gave Us the Wine to Taste


  1. Wow Nugrape! Always a pleasure to read your reviews- and nice to know 'That Summer Feeling' is returned to the setlist :)

  2. Great review, and very good set-lists!
    Probably, the Italian party song was "Chiusa la festa, chiusa la sera"