In which I finally take in a show from the hillside about ¼ mile from the stage.
Jeff Tweedy joked a few years ago, as he pointed to the smattering of folks camped out on blankets in the foothills that surround the Outlaw Field venue at the historic Idaho Old Penitentiary, that they were catching some “secondhand rock”. Well, I finally settled in for some second hand music of my own: one of my favorite singers from childhood, when I was raised on lots of 80s and 90s country music.
Clint Black is a guy I hadn’t really thought of for a couple of decades, but as the show got closer and I revisited his music, particularly from his late 80s and 90s heyday, I remembered just how much I enjoyed his work from that time. Just maybe not enough for the $55 ticket price, so off to the hills I went, with a blanket, hat, sunnies, binoculars, snacks, and a few brewskies (Kavanaugh shoutout-too soon?). Turns out, you can hear just fine, and if you find the right spot – like I did – you can get a direct sightline to the stage, and it only takes a few hundred feet up Table Rock trail to get there.
After intentionally missing the opener, I arrived just as Clint’s crew was finishing setup. When Clint walked onstage, complete with a black cowboy hat, longsleeve shirt (90+ degree temps be damned), and blue jeans, the busy but not quite sold out crowd went nuts. Oh, and his guitar had an American flag color pattern, cuz ‘Merica. A harmonica hung around his neck, and I’ll be damned if he didn’t get after that thing a few times throughout the night.
Although in classic country music fashion, he had a bandmate playing all of the lead guitar and solos, Clint played rhythm electric and acoustic all evening, and keyed in on the hits – the songs we all came to hear. This tour is a celebration of the 30th anniversary of his debut album Killin’ Time album, and a few of those songs were represented. He sounded great, and his setlist was basically a fan’s dream. My only suggestion would be to lighten up on the cheesy crowd work (including “hello Boises and girlsies” – yikes), but nobody down there seemed to mind a bit.
He mentioned the penitentiary, and told some stories about Merle Haggard and his inspiration from Johnny Cash’s visit to San Quentin while he was an inmate, and even covered Merle’s “Mama Tried”. All in all, this was a surprisingly great show and a terrific introductory setlist for those who have no idea who this guy is – and a welcome reminder for old fans of his.
Shoes You’re Wearing
When My Ship Comes In
Untanglin’ My Mind
Mama Tried (Merle Haggard cover)
No Time to Kill
Like the Rain
State of Mind
One More Payment
Good Run of Bad Luck
We Tell Ourselves
Are You Sure Waylon Done it This Way
Nothin’ but the Taillights
Put Yourself in My Shoes
Spotify setlist playlist link: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4s5gpNyTS4QF5jR7riOGyY?si=0HJl_wpbS6ODJqyOEFeltQ