She'll Grow Back: Cat Power

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cat Power

I've had a crush on Cat Power for a few years now. Last week, when I finally got to see her live (at the mostly-restored Tabernacle), that crush became full-blown love. I know this seems a little weird, and if Chan ever reads this I hope she understands, but her performance style is so open, so emotional and moving, I couldn't help but fall in love.

The show was dominated by songs recorded for her latest album, Jukebox. (By my count, 12 songs were from these sessions, though one, "Fortunate Son," has yet to see release -- I can't wait.) And so is this post:

"Aretha, Sing One For Me" is a cover of George Jackson's 1972 paean to the Queen of Soul, and expresses a lot of the emotion listeners can get out of, and put back into, music. Similarly, "Song to Bobby" (the only Cat Power original in this post, one of two on the album) expresses Chan's love and admiration for Robert Allen Zimmerman, and tells a story about the two. "She's Got You" is a Patsy Cline cover, a song which isn't on the album proper (but the deluxe edition is only $2 more, and the buy link goes there anyway). Finally, my favorite song on the album, "Silver Stallion," is about freedom and horses and hope and the future (a cover of Lee Clayton, though the song might be better known as by The Highwaymen).

Chan roamed the stage all night, and as there was only one row of people between me and her, I got a great view of the show. She sang directly to the audience all night, dancing, grooving on the band (who, incidentally, are great) and working off her nerves. She even sang directly to me for about a minute, and that's when I fell in love. After the concert was over, Chan came out, sans band, and tossed us all flowers, one by one, and made a point of pulling the setlists off the stage and throwing them into the audience too. The crowd was appreciative and loving (even before getting the flowers) and we were paid back tenfold with a great, heartfelt show.

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