Alejandro Escovedo Review @ Live Theatre Newcastle Upon Tyne 8 October
Newcastle Live Theatre 8th October 2011
Towards the end of a concert that had entranced, enthralled and rocked the full house at this Jumping Hot Club event Alejandro said that the next song was to be Always A Friend. He then proceeded to go into a part introduction/part “Oscar speech” about how Bruce Springsteen had effectively saved his career. He had promoted his music, sorted out his record deal and even played this particular song live in concert, and had asked an extremely nervous Alejandro to come on stage and sing it with him. He went on to say that he loved Bruce like a brother and had the utmost respect for him. Now let’s face it Springsteen has the pick of songwriters to “sponsor” so why this guy? A songwriter some sixty years of age, without any hits, who’s own son says he plays “old music for old people”. Well after ninety minutes or so of listening to Alejandro play his socks off it is obvious why. Because in the same way that Springsteen does, it is his love for the type of song that was around in the mid 60’s that was taken as a model and worked on by bands like The Ramones and others. Songs honed by punk bands in hovels like CBGB’s and The Bowery in NY. In the same way that Bruce always harks back to the early Beatles, The Crystals, Gary Us Bonds, Mitch Ryder etc well he can see that same love and heritage and respect in Alejandro Escovedo…that’s why.
Supported by ace guitarist David Pulkingham – imagine if actor Philip Hoffman took up guitar – the pair put on some show. Prefacing nearly all the songs with a story to set the scene he went through as much of his back catalogue as he could, remember this guy has delivered around fifteen albums in his career, we were treated to unique performances of Down In The Bowery, Chelsea Hotel ’78, a fantastic Rosalie and an incredible Pissed off 2am. While he always seemed to be looking around for the rest of the band Alejandro played up a storm, as if it was his last gig. Of course many years ago it could have been, as those who are aware of his serious health problems will know.
He tried to end the show playing in front of the mics with a Mott The Hoople classic I Wish I Was Your Mother but was called back as the crowd begged for one more. This turned out to be a new song (I think) called Bottom Of The World. The crowd were happy, Alejandro and David seemed happy. I was happy because I had seen a true legend.