It is an extreme rarity when one is able to see and hear two vocalists of the highest caliber on the same stage on the same night. This was the case when Rickie Lee Jones and Madeleine Peyroux appeared at Tucson’s Fox theatre on March 16. This event was very special. They have been touring the United States and Canada for the last month and they only have a few dates left on the west coast.
If you were expecting collaboration between the two artists, you were likely a bit disappointed. The evening was split between these two great artists and could have easily been on two separate evenings. There was no duet on this particular evening. That said, each set was a representation of what made the singers famous.
Rickie Lee Jones performed the first set. She played guitar while Clift Hines played electric guitar and Mike Dillon performed on drums and percussion. All performers were awesome. The sound was impeccable. This was a “pin-drop” performance. Every nuance in her voice was present and time has been good to Ms. Jones.
She gave stirring renditions of “Last Chance Texaco,” “Weasel and the White Boys Cool,” “Pirates,” and “Chuck E’s In Love.” It seems that she had an attraction to ‘bad boys’ in her early days. Her writing paints pictures that are easily compared to Dylan, Springsteen, Waits, or any other protigy of the 20th century.
Rickie revealed early in the show that she had grown up in Phoenix, but, she added, “Phoenix is a different place now.” (That statement drew a lot of applause from the crowd.) Her earlier works seem to draw from her experiences in Arizona. Much of “Last Chance Texaco” portrays visions from Arizona. She also revealed that she and her family lived on the outskirts of Phoenix that at the time was Dunlap Avenue. Those experienced with Phoenix know that Dunlap is in the center of Phoenix proper. She still maintains mental visions of Horney toads, the call of doves, and magnificent cloud formations when she thinks of Arizona. For a complete set list, please click here.
Madeleine Peyroux followed with another outstanding set for the evening. Ms. Peyroux came to national attention with her first solo albums, Dreamland and Careless Love 20 years ago. She has only had seven solo albums during that time. Her voice is very reminiscent of Billie Holiday at times and she knows how to manipulate her instrument very well.
Steely Dan guitarist Jon Herington and Israeli-born bassist Barak Mori joined her for this tour. Both gave outstanding performances. Ms. Peyroux played ukulele and acoustic guitar during the set. The arrangements were a perfect showcase for her voice. Peyroux’s voice totally conveys every song’s emotions. Whether she sings the blues or jazz, she easily takes the audience on that emotional ride with her.
Tonight, her version of Willie Dixon’s "If The Sea Was Whiskey," Allen Toussaint’s "Everything I Do ‘Gohn’ Be Funky (From Now On)," and Sister Rosetta Thorpe’s “Shout Sister Shout” were performed from her recent CD release, Secular Songs. Peyroux dished up lots of the old familiar, favorite tunes such as “Guilty,” “ Careless Love,” and “Dance Me to the End of Love.” For a complete set list, please click here.
Madeleine was also very congenial with the fans. She had a repertoire of jokes that seemed to missing in her shows in the past. She performed a Beatles tune, “Getting Better,” that she remarked was cheeriest song of the evening.
The show was a rich feast of incredible talent seldom experienced live. Tucson is ready for the return of these great artists.
The next tour dates to see Rickie Lee Jones and Madelein Peyroux are:
March 18 – Los Angeles, CA – Luckman Fine Arts Complex
March 22 – Seattle, WA – Neptune Theatre
March 28 – Burnsville, MN – Ames Center
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