Sunday, June 17

Jonathan in Asheville

June 15, 2012
Asheville, North Carolina, USA
The Grey Eagle

Hello Jonathan Land,

A few nights ago I saw Mr. Richman play in Asheville, North Carolina at a venue called "The Grey Eagle".
Me and a buddy drove from Raleigh to see the show and everyone was in a real mellow mood after a beautiful day in Asheville.

The venue was average sized, with a main concert area and a bar/food area.
There was also an outdoor area where I saw Jonathan sitting with some people before the show.

I waited until it looked like he was free and asked for a photo. Then I had to ask him about the song "Bohemia". This song is so special to me, and the last time I saw him play at this venue (February of last year) he had played like a 12 minute meandering version where it seemed like he was just making it up as he went. It was probably my favourite moment at one of this shows seeing that, and this was about my 12th one.
He said that most of his songs are made up that way...just made up as he goes along, each time putting his own twist on it.

I said that I'd be in the front row, and he said that he'd "see me there!"

A little while later the show started, with what I thought was probably a smaller than expected audience. He mentioned for the venue people to turn on some of the lights so he could see the audience, and after a false try, they were brightened.

The beginning of the show was pretty standard...Egyptian Reggae, Vermeer, Let Her Go Into the Darkness...but then he played a GREAT new (to me at least) song about how his (I think) wife's laugh sounds like a trumpet. It was in Spanish I believe, and it had kind of a 12-bar blues feel to it. I don't know if it was a cover or not, but it sure sounded like something he would write.

A few songs later he broke a string in the middle of "A Que Venimos...", and nonchalantly said that he would just use 5 strings! And it still sounded great! After finishing the song, and playing a fast version of "Keith Richards", he said that if we wanted we would take a little break while he tended to his guitar.

After the break he played a few other standards and then came the most magical part of the night...a new song about a fight he had. It sounded like a fight he had with his wife, but I suppose it could have been with anyone...but definitely someone that was tender. He kept on singing that he should have been softer, and just stopped, but that he would do better "next time". It was a slow song and was simply brilliant.

When he left the stage the audience naturally clapped and made all sorts of noise for an encore.
He came back up to the stage and did something interesting...he announced that there would be no encore, and that he had instructed the venue to turn off the lights after he had said goodnight.
This news coming from any other person could have enraged the audience...but due to his truly unique nature it was simply accepted with very little fuss! He left the stage saying that he had said all he had wanted to say, and the show came to a close.
The only other time I had heard of him doing this was about 10 years ago in Atlanta.

Overall it was a (as usual) great gig, but with a little less of a closeness with the audience than with previous gigs I had seen. I'll always remember those new songs he played and the meeting I had with him before the show.

1. intro
2. My Affected Accent
3. Let Her Go Into the Darkness
4. Egyptian Reggae
5. No One Was Like Vermeer
6. Take Me To the Plaza
7. Trumpet?
8. Celestial
9. Vincent Van Gogh
10. A Que Venimos A Caer
11. Keith Richards
12. Le Primtemps Des Amore Est Venue
13. Her Mystery Not Of High Heels or Eye Shadoe
14. O Moon, Queen Of Night On Earth
15. These Bodies That Came To Cavort
16. We Had a Fight Last Night


  1. Nice review. Thanks.
    Years ago (Oct. 31, 2000) he did an encore in Rotterdam, but during that final song while he kept on singing put on his coat and placed his guitar in it's case and walked out of the building: leaving a still playing Tommy behind...

  2. Dean wareham on Jonathan:

  3. thanks for this great review nugrape!

    pepijn, that's funny!

    keepsakes, your comment and my post on dean wareham crossed in the ether, great minds think alike!

  4. just found your blog. i was there at the grey eagle that night and it really was an awesome show. i had never seen him live before. at one point he came down and stood right next to me and played. my heart stopped, it was very cool. thanks for sharing a great review!!

  5. Just found this blog. can anyone tell me which album "we had a fight last night" is on, or if that's the actual title?
    i saw him in philly a month or so ago, and as it happened my girl and i really HAD had a fight the night before, and that tune just killed me.

  6. Hey Brendan,

    "We Had a Fight Last Night" isn't on any album...I think it's a brand new song.

    Here's a recording of the Asheville version: