You know we’re heading towards a more normal concert scenario when we’re back at Humphrey’s and Chris Isaak is holding court. This time, he only waited two songs instead of the usual three songs to start discussing the boat people, anchored just outside the room. As always, he warned the ladies that they were having a cheap date, but eventually admitted that he would like to be there too.
Isaak kicked off the evening with his ostensible theme song, “American Boy,” which also opened up the mysterious disappeared Chris Isaak Show. The TV series is expected for a return, possibly even with new episodes.
The night at Humphrey’s was remarkable, Isaak made several of his energetic acts sweat and muffled the beat beautifully when he brought the group forward for a series of acoustic acts.
But before he sat down, guitarist Hershel Yatovitz unleashed plenty of steamy leads. His versatility was evident when he turned to more fluid styles on the cool, watery “Wicked Game”. Isaak in one of his many pounds between songs indicated that he had done nothing during the pandemic other than puzzles. He gave a hilarious life update during Covid, saying he and the group were ‘the last responders, so going out tonight you know it’s safe’.
But Isaak was busy last year and presented a sufficiently effective new song called “Pandemic Blues”.
Drummer Kenney Dale Johnson has never been so good, the Texan’s drum work is crisp and his snare crackle is higher than ever. Maintaining the other half of the engine room was bassist Rowland Salley, whose fretwork was excellent as always. Isaac’s vocals always display an impressive range, whether it’s channeling his inner Johnny Cash on “Ring of Fire” or hitting the high notes of “Two Hearts”.
Two-thirds of the group proved their acting skills on the aforementioned brilliant, underrated and sadly unavailable. Chris Isaak Show. But they certainly all exude the feeling of really having fun on stage.
There are only a few things for sure when it comes to live music, but a great show from Chris Isaak is one of them.