So we’ve got that going for us.
This weekend, I attended the “First Annual” Lauderdale Live Music Festival. I put “first annual” in quotes because the organizers were confident enough to include that in its promotional materials, but given the anemic attendance, I can’t imagine there will be a second annual outing. And that’s too bad.
I was surprised when I saw the lineup, as bands I love like Lyle Lovett, Indigo Girls and Robert Randolph don’t often venture down to these parts. We have no decent radio who’d ever played any of those artists, and a weird population mix of senior citizens/South American and Cuban immigrants whose musical tastes insured that Donny and Marie sold out the BB&T Center.
This was also the weekend of Art Basel, the Miami Beach-based art event that has grown exponentially in recent years and is the thing for all the hipster and big money people in South Florida to attend.
So I really shouldn’t be surprised that there were, perhaps 250 people in the park with me on Saturday watching the awesome Robert Randolph and the Family Band! I had no desire to stay to watch the headliner Huey Lewis and the News. But if the organizers thought that the masses would show up to see the 80’s hitmaker, they were wrong.
I was hoping the turnout on Sunday would be better for the Indigo Girls and Lyle Lovett, and it was… but not much.
I have no official numbers, only my guesstimate which tells me there were 300-400 people there. And a further guess tells me that perhaps half of those were paying customers.
The Indigo Girls had a great set, regaling us with their signature harmonies and lots of favorites (“Power of Two,” “Galielo,” “Closer to Fine”). I had the opportunity to talk with them for a few minutes before the show, and even take a picture to update this one from almost 20 years ago:
I’ve been a fan of Lyle Lovett’s for over 20 years, since a friend played If I Had a Boat for me. The line about Tonto turning the tables on the Masked Man won me over instantly
The mystery masked man was smart
He got himself a Tonto
‘Cause Tonto did the dirty work for free
But Tonto he was smarter
And one day said kemo sabe
Kiss my ass I bought a boat
I’m going out to sea
I’ve had the pleasure of both interviewing and seeing Lyle Lovett perform in numerous configurations over the years.
The last time I saw him was probably around 2005 when he and an acoustic band similar to the players that accompanied him last performed at the Pompano Beach Amphitheater. I took my then 5-year old with me, and sat in a 2/3 empty amphitheater amazed at how few people turned out.
It was a similar feeling last night. The band was pitch perfect, as it always is – whether it’s the Large Band or a smaller ensemble. The weather was perfect and “She’s No Lady” and the aforementioned “If I Had a Boat” were just what I needed to hear. But when I heard the sparse drumbeats that open the hauntingly beautiful “North Dakota” from my favorite Lyle Lovett album Joshua Judges Ruth, I was transported back to another time and place where really good music was appreciate.
I actually left the comfort of my chair and moved way up front so I could hear the music over the rude people who think that talking loudly during a concert is an appropriate practice.
I knew the show was coming to a close when the band launched into “You Can’t Resist It”, which always features a masterful cello solo by Lovett’s constant band member John Hagen. It was during that cello solo that the speakers on stage right went out, followed soon after by the speakers on the other side of the stage.
We were treated to a very quiet ending to the song, courtesy of the stage monitors and the natural sound of the all-acoustic band (two acoustic guitars, violin, cello, stand up bass and drums).
As I was sitting at the back of the “crowd,” I kept looking to the people manning the soundboard for some frantic concern, but there was no motion. When the song ended and Lyle left the stage, I asked the sound engineers what happened and they told me that the city killed the power to the sound at 9pm sharp.
I’m not surprised. This is, after all, FloriDUH. And Ft. Lauderdale should be ashamed of itself.
Somehow, I’m not holding my breath for the Second Annual Lauderdale Live Music Festival, and that’s sad.
Today on the Show
After talking about the concert and raging against Clear Channel for the news that they’ll be killing the two progressive talk stations in LA and SF, we moved on to our guests.
Paul Waldman is a contributing editor at The American Prospect, and the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success. Last week, his piece, “$2229.11 for Three Stitches? Behold the Wonder of the Free Market” caught my eye and got me to reach out to invite him on the show. And although that’s what we spent most of our time talking about today, I encourage you to peruse his other writings there as well… he’s spot on!
With the passing of Nelson Mandela, it was inevitable that the Sunday shows would look at his life and legacy. Equally unsurprising is how little the Beltway punditry really grasped of what Mandela’s impact really was.
On Meet the Press, the focus was all about Mandela’s legendary calmness and lack of emotion at being imprisoned for so many years. But by focusing on the fact he didn’t outwardly display anger, the Beltway media collectively ignores the policies that they supported and the egregiousness they ignored for all those years.
And on CNN’s State of the Union, Candy Crowley made sure to mention that colleague Newt Gingrich was a champion of Nelson Mandela, although the truth is a little more complicated than that. She also neglected to bring up all the dogwhistle racism that Newt regularly peddles in that may have led conservatives to express all their ugliness towards Mandela on Newt’s FB page.
Michael Eric Dyson accused Mary Matalin of amnesia after she defended her ex-boss Dick Cheney calling Mandela a “terrorist”.
And in a weird, Opposite World nod to Mandela, Rand Paul told Chris Wallace that he opposes extending unemployment benefits because it does a “disservice” to African-American workers.
And to prove that it’s not only in racial politics that conservatives are on the wrong side of history, Suzanne Venker (Phyllis Schlafly’s niece) tells a female Fox News host that she should quit her job and get married because women should spend more time “thanking men” for the ability to stay home and take care of children. No, seriously.
I’ll leave you with one that Lyle Lovett didn’t perform last night (no keyboards or horns in this configuration)…