Attending a Chris Isaak concert is definitely not a passive experience as evidenced by his Sunday appearance at the Palladium on the campus of the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Ind.
It was a truly interactive exercise which saw Isaak and his guitarist venture separately out into the house to perform songs to the delight of an enthusiastic audience. The genial entertainer with a playful sense of humor also thrilled some female fans when he invited a few to come on stage to dance. Encouraging everyone with smartphones to shoot as many photos and videos (a huge no no at most concerts) as they liked, he said, “I didn’t get dressed up like this for nothing.” And to one very lucky fan — he even gave away a free guitar.
The singer-songwriter, musician and actor known for his rock and roll, rockabilly, roots rock and surf rock repertoire was accompanied by his seasoned band which included bass player Rowland Salley, lead guitarist Hershel Yatovist, drummer Curt Bisquera, pianist Scott Plunkett and percussionist Rafael Padilla.
Wearing one of his trademark sequined western suits and two-tone black and white shoes while playing a guitar with his name embedded on the face, Isaac’s 90-minute show included many of his hits, such as“Best I Ever Had,” “Somebody’s Crying,” “Two Hearts,” “Cheater’s Town,” “Go Walking Down There” and his iconic, pining love song, “Wicked Game” featuring its distinctively plaintive high note.
In a special segment dedicated to the famous Memphis’ Sun Studio, where music legends like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis recorded, Isaak paid tribute to his rock and roll heroes and his own musical roots. Recapturing the mid-50’s sound, Isaak and his sensational band had the audience on their feet much of the time as they performed such tunes (many of which are on his 2011 album “Beyond the Sun,” recorded at Sun Studio) as “Only The Lonely,” “Ring of Fire,” “It’s Now or Never,” and “Pretty Woman,” prior to closing the concert with Jerry’s Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire.”
Isaak returned to the stage for an encore wearing another costume covered with dazzling mirrored appliqués as he performed more of his own compositions. They included “Blue Hotel,” “Big Wide Wonderful” and the yearning country ballad “Western Stars,” made famous by k. d. lang.
For tickets and information about upcoming 2013-14 season performances at the Center for the Performing Arts call (317) 843-3800 or visit www.thecenterfortheperformingarts.org.
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