Isaak mixes humor and
music for concert crowd
By Stuart H. Clements
The Daily Cougar
After bickering with the ticket office
at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion for an hour over the status of my
misplaced tickets, I was
finally admitted to what was probably
the most entertaining concert I've ever seen — Chris Isaak.
Still thinking about how I was stonewalled
at the ticket office and then having to sit through a lackluster opening
Natalie Merchant, I began to wonder if
I was in the mood to stay. Merchant's songs were OK, but her stage presence
nonexistent, and her unfocused style was
expressed in her songs and her appearance as a live performer.
Finally, Chris Isaak, the one-time competitive
boxer, took the stage with his token crooked nose, wearing a tacky yellow
and blue suit
ensemble that, for some reason, worked.
The rockabilly superstar showed the kind
of stage presence that only a talented actor can, expressing his music
and humor brilliantly.
Isaak, born in 1956, is an entertainment
renaissance man, lending aid to cult filmmakers such as David Lynch both
onscreen and on
Isaak's acting career began to pick up
sooner than his music career, but after Lynch featured Isaak's love ballad
"Wicked Game" in
the road film Wild at Heart, Isaak became
Isaak opened with some less familiar tunes,
but quickly got the crowd going with his twangy guitar and vocal antics.
Throughout the concert, Isaak offset his
songs with humorous stories, which usually served as prologues to his next
Isaak entertained with soundtrack hits
such as "Wicked Game," "Two Hearts" from writer Quentin Tarantino's True
"Baby did a Bad, Bad Thing," which was
featured in Stanley Kubrick's final film Eyes Wide Shut.
Isaak's music is full of themes having
to do with love, while his evening antics made light of the subject.
After a terrific round one, Isaak left
and returned for a brilliant encore. He was dressed in a silver-plated
suit that looked like an
over-head disco ball, which fell from
the ceiling to reflect light over the audience as he entered.
After a few more tunes, Isaak pleased the
audience by marching out into the crowd to fraternize a little bit while
still playing guitar.
Isaak closed with the song "Forever Blue"
— the title track of his 1995 album, leaving the crowd on a slower, more