Usually when a performer proclaims that a particular audience or city is his favorite, it is a comment that should be taken with a grain of salt. With that in mind, during his Saturday night show at The Pabst, Joe Jackson said that Milwaukee was his favorite city in the United States, but his sincerity was easily apparent.
In front of a respectful and appreciative audience, Jackson balanced out his performance by drifting back and forth between his well-established catalog and selections from his latest effort, "The Duke."
Jackson, not unlike David Byrne (who appeared at the same venue just a couple weeks ago), has a very diverse interest in music that has led him to some very unique projects. His recent release is his reinterpretation of a number of Duke Ellington songs. As Jackson explained, when he was younger and first heard Ellington's music, he wrongly thought of it as "scratchy old crap." Once his listening skills matured, he realized how revolutionary it was.
It can be a gamble to focus so much of a concert on a new album that has such a bold concept, but The Pabst audience was completely on board. The performance was greatly aided by "The Bigger Band," Jackson's six-member accompanying band. Violinist Regina Carter and keyboardist/vocalist Allison Cornell attracted the most attention out of this phenomenal band. Cornell's beautiful voice matched Jackson's perfectly, but she really stood out when she was the only vocalist and sang in both Farsi and Portuguese.
The biggest reaction Jackson received was toward the end of his initial set, when he transitioned out of Ellington's "It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" and in-played his original songs "Target," which then blended into "Steppin' Out." The latter is one of those songs almost everyone has heard at some point, but didn't know the name of. By the conclusion of "Steppin' Out," Jackson and company departed to a standing ovation.
After only a few seconds, one of the members of …Read more...