Set List: Lucinda Williams At The Echoplex
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By Crystal Larsen
It's been more than 30 years since she released her first album of original material, but as GRAMMY winner Lucinda Williams said at her sold-out concert at the Echoplex in Los Angeles on Feb. 25, "As you can see, I haven't slowed down."
The comment came just before Williams announced that her untitled 11th studio set will be a double album and released "maybe in July." Williams recruited a multitude of talented musicians to play on the album, including longtime Wallflowers guitarist Stuart Mathis, who joined her onstage. Filling out the band were drummer Butch Norton and longtime Williams collaborator bassist David Sutton.
With 10 studio albums under her belt (plus approximately 34 songs that were recorded for her forthcoming new album), Williams was anything but short of material. After taking the stage a full 30 minutes after her expected start time, Williams, with her trusty lyric book situated on a music stand that was within reading distance, opened with a new song, "Something Wicked This Way Comes" — a swampy blues number that was apparently inspired by the late science fiction/horror author Ray Bradbury.
If there's one thing Williams does very well (other than singing, writing songs and thanking her audience) it's telling stories through songs. She didn't spend too much time on anecdotes about what inspired her songs and who they're about, but that's likely because they're so well-written it's impossible not to develop vivid images of the stories she's telling, or at least your own interpretation of them. One performance highlight was "Bus To Baton Rouge," which Williams mentioned she wrote about her grandmother's house and the memories there — "some good and some not so good." And as she sang of her memories about beautiful lamps and fig trees, she gritted her teeth when she sang, "There are other things I remember, as well/But to tell them would be just too hard."
Throughout her two-hour-long set Williams traveled through 22 songs, and surely many more memories. She didn't move around the stage much, unless it was swaying back and forth while playing her acoustic guitar at the mic, or tapping her foot and clapping her hands during one of Mathis' solos, but she didn't need to. Her fans cheered loudly after literally every song, but you could have heard a pin drop while she sang.
As she closed the "L.A. encore" night of her SoCal tour (she played the Troubadour in West Hollywood on Feb. 18), she brought back her opening act, Southern Rockers the Kenneth Brian Band, for performances of "Joy," her GRAMMY-winning "Get Right With God" and an epic cover of Neil Young's "Rockin' In The Free World." I left right before the end of the performance so I wouldn't get trampled by the hordes of fans, but as I exited the small venue I was still within earshot of her final words: "Peace, love and independence."
"Something Wicked This Way Comes"
"2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten"
"World Without Tears"
"Bus To Baton Rouge"
"I Lost It"
"Little Rock Star"
"Real Live Bleeding Fingers And Broken Guitar Strings"
"Out Of Touch"
"Get Right With God"
"Rockin' In The Free World" (Neil Young cover)
To catch Lucinda Williams in a city near you, click here for tour dates.