As I posted a few days ago, Syd Straw was making a rare Capital Region appearance and I was going. She's someone I've admired and have been a fan of for a lot of years. Admittedly, I didn't know who she was until she came out for her first solo album SURPRISE, but I've been a fan ever since. I hate that she goes years in between albums. She's only put out three solo albums in her career so far, one in 1989, one in 1996 and one in 2008. That third one I only just found out about recently. Looks like she put it out herself without a label behind her and that's why I missed it.
I talked about how she randomly liked a comment on my Facebook page already. That led to another comment posted shortly before the show. I really have to tell you what a freaking boost seeing something like that is. It's wild. But what's wilder is the show she put on Saturday night.
She came out and played two songs before really having much interaction with the audience. After the second song she mentioned that they told her to not talk very much between songs because it was being recorded for Northeast Public Radio, which of course lead to her talking a lot. More than I think I've ever experienced at any show I've ever been to. She also mentioned that she had to sign a form saying she wouldn't swear (again, taped for Public Radio), so all she wanted to do was cuss. And during this chat section of the show, she said something the blew my mind. Just randomly, she said the to crowd "Walt Curley is here tonight. At least, I think he is. Is he?" I responded and she gave me a wave and complimented me on my second row seat. LOL. But that was only the first of three times she name checked me during the show. The second time was when she said I'd made a request for a song before playing it. I wish I knew when the request was going to be played so I would be ready to tape it. I started recording right after that, but at least I knew to hit the record button on my phone.
She gave a truly magical, yet surreal show. She talked about a lot of stuff, whether it was song inspirations, stories from the road, stories from home, just all sorts of stuff. And I love that the show really had no structure to it. She had a set list written down in her notebook, but as the show went on, it became more of a list of suggestions rather than an actual set list. She talked directly to people in the audience, told stories about some of the people there that she's known forever. It was amazing.
After the show I stuck around and got to talk to her for a little bit. She's so warm and open and just about the friendliest person you could ever meet. I've seen a few great shows this year, but this show tops the list. And in the last twelve months, this is the third show I've been to of an artist I never thought I'd ever get the chance to see, at least locally. The other two were Morrissey and Midge Ure. Now I'm stoked to see who else is going to swing through these parts that I would never suspect.
Me, looking like I'm on To Catch A Predator, and Syd, looking AMAZING!
Back when her second album came out, we used to play it all the time at the store I worked at. My friend Sharon and I grew to LOVE the song "Black Squirrel." So naturally that was my request for her to play. I got it on video and was thrilled to hear her do it live.