Two Krista Detor MI shows - Semptember 2008
September has been a fabulous music month for me! I got to see Kitty Donohoe's amazing performance of There Are No Words that was part of the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial Dedication Ceremony when the ceremony aired on TV, and I traveled to see Wilderness Plots performed in Bloomington. What was particularly special about this month, though, was getting to see one of my absolute favorite artists -- Krista Detor -- perform right here in Michigan twice in four days at two of my favorite music venues. These shows were Krista's first time performing in Michigan since the night I was first introduced to her music when she opened for Carrie Newcomer at The Ark in August of 2005, and having seen her perform many times in other places since then, I was truly thrilled to be seeing her back on home soil, so to speak, again.
The first of these two shows was at the fabulous Trinity House in Livonia on Saturday, 9/20, and Krista was opening for Jill Jack. For those not familiar with Trinity House, it's a very intimate performance space that seats less than 100 in the audience, and it has a very warm and inviting atmosphere. The stage looks much like you would expect someone's living room to look, with a large rug in the center and a faux fireplace flanked by faux windows along the back wall. The lighting fixtures both on the stage and along the walls of the listening space are lovely, and seating is tiered so there isn't a bad seat in the house. The stage is only a couple of feet off the ground, and those in the front row are only about an arm's length away from the edge of it, adding to the feeling that you're watching the amazing performers who play there right in your own living room. My friend Jenn and I have seen several shows there over the last couple of years, and we'd said to one another in the past we thought Krista would fit in well there, so it was a true delight to see that thought come to fruition.
Besides the space at Trinity House being ideal for live music, the folks who work and volunteer there are some of the nicest I've met, and when Jenn and I arrived too early to take seats on the night of Krista and Jill's show due to the soundcheck still being in progress, we enjoyed visiting with some of them in the lobby and expressing our excitement for the upcoming show. We have favorite seats in the front row on one side of the aisle, and we settled into them once the doors had been opened. We're often in the minority in the front row, as others seem to gravitate to tables and chairs farther back from the stage, and tonight was no exception. Save one couple in the front row across the aisle from us, we were on our own and almost directly across from Krista's keyboard. She played a longer opening set than I expected -- 8 songs -- and had the crowd with her from the first note. She chose to do a good mix of songs from Cover Their Eyes and Mudshow -- 3 from the first and 4 from the second -- along with one from A Dream In A Cornfield, and the audience responded enthusiastically to everything. Jenn and I heard multiple favorite songs and grinned from ear to ear throughout Krista's full set.
Neither Jenn nor I was familiar with Jill Jack's music before she and her band took the stage, though I had heard her name from several folk music fans and been told by multiple folks I should see her live sometime. Within a moment of them taking the stage, I understood why. Jill's lyrics are creative, her voice is warm, the band is tight and polished, and her smile and on stage energy are infectious. Jenn and I must have been smiling throughout her set, as Jill made eye contact with us more than once, and when she saw us talking to Krista after the show, took the time to say hello and ask our names and thank us for coming, etc. Both the performance and the person were simply delightful, and I look forward to the opportunity to hear Jill play again. I would particularly love to hear her in an acoustic setting either playing solo or with minimal accompaniment to give me a different perspective from a full band show.
The second of Krista's two Michigan shows was at The Ark for Take A Chance Tuesday on Tuesday, 9/23. Take A Chance Tuesdays happen on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Admission is free, but concert goers are asked to make a monetary or a non-perishable food donation to Food Gatherers. I get the impression this series has a small group of regulars that come out every month and then draws others who are fans of the specific performer(s) of the evening. For Krista's show, I didn't see anyone I knew well, but I saw a handful of faces I recognized. Among them was the couple who had sat across the aisle from Jenn and I in the front row at Trinity House on Saturday. They had come to Trinity as fans of Jill and had no prior familiarity with Krista's music, and they were so impressed with her opening set that they made the drive to Ann Arbor to hear a full show. We were delighted they had made the trip and enjoyed seeing them again and having a chance to visit.
I had been expecting two full sets with an intermission in between for this show, so I was surprised when Krista played one long set instead. One of the best things about The Ark is the grand piano they have for pianists who play there to use, and after seeing Krista play her keyboard every time between her first Ark appearance and this one except once, it was a total thrill to see that grand piano open and surrounded by microphones and to see her actually sit down and begin to play. I had imagined seeing her play it again so many times when attending The Ark for other concerts and seeing it on the stage, sometimes ready for use and sometimes covered and off in a corner, that it felt a bit like I was imagining things when she first took the stage.
Of course, having a grand piano at her fingertips, she played many of her “big piano” songs, and the crowd loved them. For this show, she was accompanied not only by Dave Weber on guitar (who has played with her every time I’ve seen her perform outside of Wilderness Plots), but also by Bobbie Lancaster on harmony vocals and mandolin, and Bobbie added a lot to several songs, including beautiful vocals on a new arrangement of Lay Him Down that featured all three of them, and beautiful harmony on a favorite of mine I rarely hear live, The World Is Water. At the very end as part of her encore, Krista did a solo version of I’m Still Here (another beautiful gem I’ve rarely heard live) when someone called it out as a request, and you could have heard a pin drop during and just after this. It gave me chills and was absolutely stunning. The second song of her encore, the hysterical One Too Many Christmases, showed the crowd her sense of humor and had everyone laughing along. All those in attendance seemed to have a great time, and when I chatted with a woman afterward whom I’d seen in line outside before the show and asked what she thought of Krista’s performance, she promptly said “She’s fantastic!” I couldn’t agree more.
As always, thanks for reading!