Monday, July 8, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 153


 
 









 
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 performance by
Natalie Merchant, I began to wonder if I was in the mood to stay. Merchant's songs were OK, but her stage presence was almost
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
soundtracks.

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 a hit.

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 piece.

Isaak entertained with soundtrack hits such as "Wicked Game," "Two Hearts" from writer Quentin Tarantino's True Romance and
"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 provocative note.
 
 
 
 
 

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