April 10, 2014

Concert #147 - Nancy Sinatra at the House of Blues (April 19, 1995)

On April 21, 1995, at the House of Blues on Sunset, I saw not one, but two of my all-time favorite acts. The first one was Nancy Sinatra. The second one was even bigger: Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood, whose music still drives me crazy after all these years.

Yes, you heard it right. I did say Nancy Sinatra. Not once, but twice. Go ahead, look up "guilty pleasure" in any dictionary and most likely you will find a picture of me listening to Nancy - I’ve always liked her songs and her singing, too. Many have laughed at me for my uncool taste, but I ignored them all and kept listening. When they announced her unexpected comeback in 1995, my first thought was "I just hope she won’t make a fool of herself". So did she? Read on. 

I went to the show with my Better Half and our good friends Ron and Bobbie. At first, Nancy's vocals were a bit shaky, but soon she found her bearings and from that point on she sounded pretty much like her own old self. Wearing her signature boots and showing a lot of leg, she looked great, too. For the following 70 minutes or so, we got to hear most of her radio hits from the sixties, interspersed with the best songs from "One More Time", her then-current album. Listening to "Sugar Town", "How Does That Grab You, Darlin'" and "Run For Your Life" was fun, but I must say that her newer material did not make a lasting impression on me.

When Lee Hazlewood took the stage, it was goose-bumps time. My beloved duo of Nancy & Lee sang six songs: "Summer Wine", "Jackson", "Some Velvet Morning", "Did You Ever", "Sand" and one other song I can't recall. Overall, they sounded quite well, with just a touch of rust showing up here and there.

Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood a few days before the show
When Nancy said "And now I'd like to sing a song in which the bass guitar plays a special role", we all knew that it was time for the song that put Nancy on the map. Her 1995 version of her 1966 mega-hit "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" came complete with the same dance steps seen in her old video. The crowd went crazy, needless to say.

Overall, it was a great evening - Nancy most definitely did not make a fool of herself and I will never forget the boundless joy I got from hearing and seeing Lee Hazlewood perform live.

Band line-up: Don Randi (leader), Melanie Vasquez, Michael Hakes, Bobby Furgo, Charles Camper, Tom Lilly, Miles Robinson & Mike Faue.

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