As Strange As You Are

This is a recap (not a review or a critique) of Jon Brion’s show at Largo on October 30, 2015. It was the day before Halloween and Jon noted that the iconic helmet that sits on top of the piano originally came from the Halloween costume of a guy who used to work at the door of Largo.

The Largo Piano

The Largo Piano

As often happens, Jon started off at the piano. He played a song recorded by Billie Holiday in the 1930s called “I Must Have That Man!” He followed this by playing and singing David Bowie’s “Lady Stardust” from the album Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. He dabbled a little bit on the piano, briefly playing “Tara’s Theme” from Gone With the Wind.

Then he moved onto his own music next, playing “Here We Go” from the Punch-Drunk Love soundtrack. The blog post title was taken from this song’s lyrics. He then dug into the I Heart Huckabees score to perform “Strange Bath.”

Jon Brion's Acoustic Guitars

Jon Brion’s Acoustic Guitars

He switched over to his Epiphone guitar to play a laidback version of “It Looks Like You,” which was originally recorded by Evan Dando (sounds like Jon singing harmony on the recording). Still on guitar, he brought out his notebook and played a new song he has played a couple times previously in the last year. It is the one that has lyrics such as “The sweetest smile on your face…what are we left with?..the fact all the things that used to be are severely diminished…you ended up with much less than you thought…no trace of the thoughtful things you’d say…reduced to a monstrous cliché…left with the ramblings of a bitter skeleton.”  I would love to find out what Jon is calling this song.

Got out his 12-string guitar to play “I Believe She’s Lying,” which can be found on his album Meaningless.

Back to the piano for another song from I Heart Huckabees, “Over Our Heads.” Such a simple song, such perfect lyrics. “Think your troubles are so serious; well, one day you’ll be so long gone; ’cause nothing ever lasts; it all gets torn to shreds; if something’s everlasting; it’s over our heads.”

Jon then dove into a medley of tunes, playing piano and the microKorg, adding a drum beat, including songs: “People Are People”  by Depeche Mode, “Funkytown” from Lipps Inc., “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35” by Bob Dylan, among others.

Then, I can’t believe he finally played “Walking Through Walls,” from Meaningless, which I have been wanting to hear since May. I know he played it once since then, but it was at a show I missed.

Then he strapped on his black and white Gretsch and played that awesome “At It Again” song.  Please record this song Jon Brion, so I can play it at home.

Jon asked for requests with the intention of an audience singalong, and so we got covers of Randy Newman’s “Short People,” (blech, who requested that?), “How Deep is Your Love,” by the BeeGees, in which the audience failed to sing the verses, and The Beach Boys song, “God Only Knows,” which fared the best as a singalong. This concluded the main set.

Largo at the Coronet

Largo at the Coronet Sign

For the encore, he asked for requests again and I said quietly, “A sad song.” He heard me through the cacophony of requests and actually responded, “I was thinking more in the other direction…but we’ll get there.” He ended up playing a lot of stuff on the piano, I just called it piano craziness in my notes, too much going on to be written down properly!  Next he played his song “Knock Yourself Out,” another one from I Heart Huckabees. To close, Jon picked the perfect sad song, Cole Porter’s, “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye.” I chose to link a version sung by Ella Fitzgerald, who is my all-time favorite female vocalist. Thanks Jon, that was breathtaking. Largo forever!


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