There’s something defiantly radical about playing a gig minus all the technical trimmings. Shawn Colvin played and there is no real light show to report of, no backing band or wall of sound to critique, and no choreographed dance moves either. She entered with a single sheet of paper as her set list (which even this seemed unnecessary) and picked up her guitar for a showing of raw musicianship.
In a way this performance style harps back to the early folk style of a Joni Mitchell more than the pop music side, which also comes with her sound. And like folk music is big on story telling so is Shawn, individual songs paint a picture of heartbreak and loss, and in between the singing the audience was carried away with personal stories that transported the listener to the time of the song’s origins. Carnegie Hall could’ve been a campfire and we all sat around listening in silence.
Underneath it all was an incredible guitar playing ability, coated sounds from ‘Trouble’ had you questioning whether there was another guitarist tucked away backstage playing along. It was honest, revealing, and at times humorous with no façade – just as she described it as a relationship involving herself, the guitar and the audience – she struck a perfect balance.
Words: Jacques Lang
Photos: Shayne Hanley