Borders Bookstore is a site designed for a children's story hour but is not accommodating as a music venue. Nonetheless, John Hiatt gave a warm and wonderful acoustic performance to promote his latest CD, "Crossing Muddy Waters." The title alone has a great blues reference and one of his songs, "Ridin with the King"- recently recorded by Eric Clapton and B.B.King, is getting regular airplay.
The range of Hiatt's voice makes him a great performer to see live: you wonder how he does all that with his voice. He played a sad song, and then apologized for playing another sad song, "Crossing Muddy Waters". Having said he must be just plain sick for performing a third, he then gave an exuberant version of "Gone" that had the audience laughing and clapping at lines like: "Gone, like a Nixon file." Songwriting doesn't get any leaner than that. He played two songs for an encore before hundreds of fans lined up for autographs.
Every available parking spot in the area was taken by an estimated 1200 devoted fans, and the performance was well worth a variety of inconvenience. It's unfortunate that Borders couldn't shut off its espresso machines during his ACOUSTIC performance which was being broadcast live on the Cities 97. I'm not sure what the profit is on a cup of coffee, but it seems that huge CD sales for the evening would have allowed for a little more respect for such a worthy artist. Borders shot itself in the foot with that kind of greed. If they take on this kind of promotion again, hopefully they'll recognize that this was not the
John Hiatt will be at the Fine Line in October for a sold out performance
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