Deirdre O'Callaghan The National have released the first single off their…
- Posted on Nov 4th 2010 1:02PM by Steve Baltin
John Shearer, Getty Images
The ringleader for both the pair's album, 'The Union,' and the show, a beaming John came onstage at 8PM to introduce his " friend and idol," Leon Russell. Backed by a spectacular 12-piece band that featuring four horn players and four backup singers, Russell worked through a selection of his greatest hits, including opener 'Tight Rope,' a beautiful ' A Song for You' and a raucous 'Delta Lady.'
Following a brief intermission, the two walked out to their face-to-face to pianos to perform 'The Union' album in its entirety. John's smile never came off his face, and he acknowledged that the main portion of the show was more for the two of them. "We appreciate your patience and we enjoy doing it," he told the crowd. And if it did occasionally take away the spontaneity that usually comes from live performances, there were still plenty of musical highlights. The upbeat 'Monkey Suit,' a song written solely by John, would have fit in Russell's set of classics earlier. Later, John introduced 'In the Hands of Angels' -- a song Russell wrote for him as a thank you for the project -- as one of the greatest gifts he'd ever received.
After that, it was John's turn to shine. Clearly energized by sharing a stage with his hero in such a historical venue, John kicked off with a fiery version of 'Burn Down the Mission.' Embracing the honky-tonk boogie roots of his early work, he also showed off his nimble fingers on an extended intro to the celebratory 'Take Me to the Pilot' and added a jazz swing to 'Levon.'
After almost every song, he would stand point to the crowd with a huge grin, having as much fun, if not more than anybody else there. And why not? If anything, this night showed that he's created something very special by collaborating with Russell, and as always, it's a thrill to hear hundreds of people screaming along to 'Delta Lady.'