Powerful performer is a Port Washington favorite
When WFUV DJ John Platt introduced Joan Osborne on Friday, January 16th for yet another sold-out Landmark show, he described her as a singer who could sing virtually anything. He was absolutely correct. [See Steve Sandick’s show photography.]
Joan Osborne (@Joan_Osborne) has performed at Landmark on Main Street several times in the past, always to a sold-out crowd. At one show, several years ago, she performed despite a terrible cold. On every occasion, even sick, she was superb. As Platt aptly noted, Osborne can sing anything – blues, rock, pop, folk. I’m convinced she could do cabaret and show tunes if given the chance.
Accompanied only by her long-time keyboard player, the “wonderful and talented” (as Osborne described him) Keith Cotton, Osborne still created quite a big sound. She used a drum machine, apparently triggered by her iPhone, on some songs (and joked as she was turning it on that she was actually checking her text messages). A drum machine is a dicey proposition – it could work out, it could sound hokey. Osborne clearly has her act worked out and the drum machine only enhanced certain songs, particularly the beautiful, rumba-like “Work on Me” from Osborne’s 2014 solo album, Love and Hate. Osborne performed several songs from this CD over the course of the evening. The most memorable of these were two angry ones (probably the “Hate” part of Love and Hate): “Mongrels” and “Thirsty for my Tears.” The latter song has some great lyrics, including the chorus: “I’d never cheat, I’d never lie, you should know me after all these years. The only man who could come between us is the one who’s thirsty for my tears. Why are you thirsty for my tears?”
Osborne delighted the audience by performing two of her biggest hits – a scaled-back piano version of “One of Us” and a powerful “St. Teresa.” Her rendition of “St. Teresa” evoked a collective “wow” from the audience when she finished. That song in particular highlighted the incredible control she has over her voice – sliding up and down with glissandi, but always ending up exactly where she wanted to be.
Some incredible highlights of the evening included Osborne’s performances of the Grateful Dead’s “Brokedown Palace,” and a funky Mavis Staples-version of The Band’s “The Weight.” [For those who don’t know, Osborne toured with the Grateful Dead after Jerry Garcia’s death.]
Osborne dedicated the Sam Cooke song, “That’s Where It’s At” to the recently departed Popsy Dixon of the Holmes Brothers (who also performed at Landmark in the past), crediting Dixon for teaching it to her. [Osborne produced one of the Holmes Brothers’ albums in the past.]
Keyboardist Keith Cotton deserves credit for his excellent keyboard work, particularly some of the amazing funk played on his Nord keyboard. His backup vocals also added to the performance.
Osborne closed with “Make You Feel My Love,” and it’s safe to say that she must have been feeling the Landmark love at the time. As was expressed after her 2012 show, no amount of Joan Osborne is enough, so we hope that she’ll be returning to Landmark very soon!