I love Jonathan Richman. Here’s a picture I took on my iPhone last night at the first night of his three-night residency at the Make-Out Room. Jonathan Richman showed off his guitar prowess by playing extended and complicated riffs and even literally spinning his guitar around his body and stuff. He’s still got his amazing voice. He played two pretty long sets (maybe 45 minutes each?) and had a ten-minute break in between the sets that he announced by singing about it to the audience.
Before he went to take his first break, he fed off the super-stoked energy of the audience and called his drummer Tommy (Tom Larkins) back on stage to play a song about Mission Dolores park. It seemed like a spontaneous moment and maybe even an improvised song, although I don’t really know, but at the least it was an unfinished track. He broke down the many types that hang out at the park and how even the hipster-y of the hipsters might be getting sick of the park and how some people might have just become hipsters that morning before they walked to the park. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been to a show before, where the musician made the audience barrel-over laughing.
After the first break, he played a great rendetion of his epic 11-minute “Bohemia,” where he talks about his snobby Harvard Square days and talking to the Velvet Underground. At the show, I ran into Anthony Atlas, who made us this really awesome mix of Jonathan Richman songs. We got to talking about the great debate of what night is the best night to see a performer when they do a residency. Well, I went on the first night, so I have a lot of defenses for why that would be the best night, like that JR is going to be the most invigorated, rejuvenated, excited and the most spontaneous. Although, JR mentioned how he was working out kinks on certain tracks and, of course, with practice comes perfection (or at least improvement). Well, my friend Peter is going tonight and we’re going to compare notes on the nights. If anyone else goes tonight or Thursday, please let me know or even send in a guest post about how awesome Jonathan Richman was and whether you’d advocate that it was the best night.