Concert Review: Rickie Lee Jones at Parker Playhouse

Grammy award-winning artist Rickie Lee Jones performed last night at Parker Playhouse, a setting that was perfect for the eccentric singer, who came onstage in sheer tights, a colorful skirt, a quarter sleeve vest shirt and boots. “Thank you,” the blonde said to the whoops and cheers she received. “It’s been a while.” An audience member yelled, “Welcome back!” He was responded to with applause and rightfully so – it has been a full decade since Jones recorded new music.

Jones opened up with “Weasel And The White Boys Cool” from her self-titled 1979 album. She was accompanied with a five piece band (bass guitar, mandolin, drums, keyboard and electric guitar) from Montreal, as she played her acoustic guitar. Following her opener was “The Last Chance Texaco,” where her haunting vocals were complemented by a violin.

The bubbly, award-winning “Chuck E.’s in Love” gave some levity after the slow, somber previous number. “Still got it, girl!” an audience member yelled after a few attendees gave her a standing ovation. “I’m trying to think of something witty to say…” she replied.

Playing a few songs from her newest album, The Other Side of Desire, it was clear that New Orleans, her new home, has influenced he new music: bluesy and jazzy, it was similar to when Dave Matthews Band created Big Whiskey & The GrooGrux King in 2009, a tribute to their late band member, LeRoi Moore, who was from the Big Easy.

But New Orleans-inspired albums isn’t the only similarity that she and Matthews have. Both tend to ramble when they speak in an unconventional, funny manner. And although it may be weird to compare her to a male whose music debuted decades after hers, it’s true. Not to mention, they both just want to play their music sans ostentatious graphics and effects.  Jones is kind of an odd mixture: she’s comprised of one-quarter of Dave Matthews Band, one-quarter Stevie Nicks, and a splash of Tracy Chapman sprinkled with Tom Petty. 

One of her catchy songs from her new album, “Jimmy Choos,” was accompanied with by a tambourine and backup vocals. “That was fun,” Jones said. Judging by the cheers from the audience, they agreed. However, it was her newer song, “The Spider and the Circus,” that was really attention grabbing as the instruments sounded very circus like and creepy.

After a few more singles, Jones finished off with an acoustic version of the classic “Satellite” from the 1989 album Flying Cowboys. However, she appeared once again for the encore, yet this time it was just her and her guitar as she donned a fedora. The last and final single was “Horses."

As simple and minimalistic as the show was, the lack of effects was defiantly compensated for with pure, musical talent. It just goes to show that great musicians don’t need elaborate promo music videos, opening acts or gaudy displays.
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Natalya Jones