As music journalist, a lover of great harmonies, and a card carrying lesbian you KNOW I’ve passionately followed the Indigo girls throughout my career. The Grammy winning folk-rock duo recently played one of my favorite venues on this side of the Hudson, The State Theatre. It’s a beautifully restored Historic Theatre withgreat acoustics and comfortable seating. Of course, I didn’t miss this one.
I’m always so impressed with and somehow proud of the wide popularity of the Indigo Girls… On this particular night my Gaydar was on enough to identify more than a few of my tribe in the audience … but the hetero contingent was very strong… both male and female, and a it was a wide age group. How they continuously sell out shows, and have this broad audience without mainstream radio play is remarkable. I have many straight male friends who absolutely adore these women. Is it a sign of the times, or just the undeniable appeal of great harmonies, acoustic guitars and the universal joy of singing along to “Closer To Fine” at the top of your lungs?
The pair, in their trademark jeans, t-shirts and flannel and cowboy shirts, took the stage after a damn good opener named Amythyst Kiah – an alt-country performer with a bluesy voice reminiscent of Tracy Chapman. Indigo Girls kicked off their 2 hour set with “It’s Alright”. Running through 2 hours of favorites, they gave us a tasty new sample “Howl at the Moon”, off their next album coming June 2nd. The Girls also each performed a solo song from their individual releases. Amy’s song “I Didn’t Know a Damned Thing” was a real highlight, enhanced even more by the story of her inspiration for it.
This diehard crowd showed their devotion throughout the night, shouting out requests and an occasional “I love you AMY!” The Girls were funny, engaging in a relaxed meandering banter between songs. They chatted about the music, guitar tuning and motherhood – something I never thought I’d hear from them 25 years ago. They were so chill, in fact, a few of the songs sounded slowed down.
Throughout the evening Ray and Saliers had, at last count, 22 guitar changes. Amy’s voice was strong and steady, Emily on the other hand seemed weaker on this night, her voice wobbling more than I can remember – maybe just early tour fatigue? A real added treat was electric violinist Lyris Hung who regularly plays with the Indigos. Her violin added strength to the harmony and she stepped out for a few really fun riffs. So much fun to watch.
Near the end, they of course played “Galileo”, and left the stage only to be called back for that always anticipated encore. No one was going ANYWHERE until we all got to belt out “Closer to Fine”.
Notable concerts coming to the State Theatre: Joe Jackson, Chicago and the Happy Together Tour (Turtles, Chuck Negron, Buckinghams, Classics IV, Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, and the Cowsills)