Last night Aaron and I attended the first night of legendary multi-media performance artist Laurie Anderson’s five night stand at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater at the Time-Warner Center, where she presented a remarkably low-tech version of her latest show, Homeland. Four acoustic musicians, two backup singers, and Anderson’s keyboard with its loops and beats. No video, no lasers, nothing.
And it was serene and lovely. Well, as serene as any show that touches on global warming, terrorism, consumerism, advertising, and American imperialism could be, I suppose. The transfixed house hardly breathed or moved during the entire show, only interrupting with applause twice as song flowed into spoken bit flowed into song. Just incredible. Near the end, Anderson brought out her longtime boyfriend (and recently, husband) Lou Reed for a compelling version of Lost Art Of Conversation. Price of admission, right there. Speaking of which, our seats were only $30. But even way up in the balcony, the excellent sight lines and acoustics of the beautiful Rose Theater provided no problem. Get tickets here, the run ends on Saturday.
I’ve adored Anderson since I first drove my college roommate to madness with her spooky 1980 hit, O Superman. “Cause when love is gone, there’s always justice. And when justice is gone, there’s always force. And when force is gone, there’s always Mom. Hi Mom!” (Had that bit on my answering machine.) Anderson’s 1984 classic Mister Heartbreak would probably land somewhere in my all-time Top Ten best albums ever list, with its beautifully weird single Sharkey’s Day having been the regular final song at the afterhours club we were haunting that year. “Sun’s coming up, like a big bald head.” (I knew I would love the Farmboyz forever when shortly after we met, we discovered that we could all recite every word from Sharkey’s Day.) My final day living in Fort Lauderdale, my roomate treated me to a Laurie Anderson concert, which I’ve always thought was a fittingly strange entree into my new life in San Francisco.
Lincoln Center Setlist: The Lark, Bad, Transitory Life, Only An Expert, Mambo and Bling, Maybe If I Fall, Short Fall, Underwear Gods, Out Of The Heart, Callin’ Em Up, Strange Perfumes, Pictures and Things, Bodies In Motion, Sky Flying Birds, Lost Art Of Conversation, No Man’s Land.
Video: A highlight of last night was Only An Expert, recorded here during the 2007 European tour of Homeland, where video projections were used. The current stand at Lincoln Center is performed on a bare stage strewn with candles.