Written by Eddie Ferranti
This year Christmas came early for us in the form of a Chris Isaak concert at the House of Blues in Houston. It had been over two years since he appeared at this same venue and he was no worse for wear. Backed by his band of thirty-three years Isaak cooed, rocked, felt the blues, and tossed in some Christmas tunes to round out a beautiful night of music. The dude is a flat out great entertainer which is becoming a lost art for sure. His blue dashing sequined suit fit him well as he jumped into “American Boy” which set the tone for him to proclaim himself the “original American boy”! The guy has a knack of talking between tunes, but never slowing the momentum of the show. The sound folks at the HOB did a masterful job of showcasing this event with crisp clear vocals.
Isaak’s voice is as strong as ever especially on crowd fave “Somebody’s Crying” and “Wicked Game”. The thing about an Isaak concert is you get a little bit of everything presented like his own. Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” and Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” were superbly done. Toss in a rocking “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” featuring stud guitarist Hershel Yatovitz, stirring “Blue Christmas”, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), ” Silent Night”, and a dancing Santa Claus to round out the Christmas feel. Roland Sally on animated bass plus Borger,Texas native Kenny Dale kept the beat rolling big time. Isaak loves to play the crowd and four songs in he was down milling thru the crowd! This guy has reached the age of 62 without losing his young boy playfulness always steering his jabs at himself. Having experience as a talk show host and actor make it easy for him to dominate the stage in a good way. He never forgets to thank the audience for showing up. Nice move.
The set included over two dozens songs with stellar highlights including “Washington Square”, “T for Texas”, moving “Blue Hotel”, “San Francisco Days”, and “Big Wide Wonderful World”. You knew he was not done when the crowd brought him back for a well deserved encore complete with him adorned in a thirty-five pound mirrored suit! Not many performers could pull off these shenanigans, but he does quite well indeed. The band slowly moved into my all time favorite song, “Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing”, which took off and rocked hard! Another encore song that fits like a glove to this cat was “Can’t Do a Thing to Stop Me”. Amen brother. The glitzy costumes wrapped around high falsetto ballads with a dash of comedy thrown in for good measure worked. Judging by the high energy in the building the packed house agreed. Hopefully he comes back sooner rather than later……..Please support live music people!!
Eddie “Edge” Ferranti
Houston Music Review