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Patty Griffin at the Warfield

by VM Brasseur on March 18th, 2007

Friday night March’s resolution obligation was fulfilled by seeing Patty Griffin at The Warfield.

After a quick bite at Out the Door in the new Westfield Shopping Center I scooted up Market and arrived just in time to meet my friend Robert in line. Robert was the natural choice for a companion to this show. Not only is he lots of fun, he’s also the one who introduced me to Patty’s music about three years ago.

I hadn’t been to the Warfield since November (Pink Martini, an unmemorable show and not the best of evenings) so I’d forgotten what the layout was like inside. Thankfully Robert was very familiar with the venue and led the way. We ended up at a table on the third tier of the floor level. The view of the stage was perfect, with no obstructions of either the human or architectural sort. We learned later that the view came at a price: we were near the kitchen and the staff there was very disruptive throughout most of the show.

There was an opening band which came on stage very promptly at 8pm. I did not catch their name, nor did I particularly care to. It’s not that they were bad, they simply were not compelling. Good background music for our conversation but nothing which demanded my attention. Thankfully they only played for about 45 minutes.

Unfortunately Patty Griffin and her band did not come on stage until about 30 minutes later. Why it took so long for them to come out I have no idea. The stage was already set up for them. Regardless, it turned out to be worth the wait.

Patty Griffin is this little thing. She can’t be much more than 5’4″. Fairly slight build. Head full of long curly flaming red hair. When she speaks between songs it’s difficult to hear her (something I’d also noticed on her live CD). But when she sings? Somewhere in that small body is an enormous reservoir of power and emotion and she sends it cascading out over the audience. As voices go it’s not the most beautiful but it probably ranks right up there at the top of the most sincere. Listening to her albums can be a very cathartic experience for me and seeing her live was no less so.

Despite the fact that her entire set lasted for under an hour (or so it seemed; I didn’t time it) and the constant uproar from the kitchen kept ruining otherwise touching moments this was still my favorite show of the year so far. I very very lucky to have noticed that she was coming into town and even luckier that Robert was willing to go with me. It was a great night and I highly recommend both her shows and her music.

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