So… Jewel at The Moore, greatest hits & everything. How cool is that? Pretty darned cool, it turns out! I got there & the lobby was already packed with fans of all ages, including fan-families. I noticed several excited small children with their parents, that by the end were little passed out children. Go figure. Anyway, it was set up nice for a family show as there were only seats and no general admission.
The warm up act was Atz Lee. You might be thinking “That sounds familiar, but why?” I’m going to tell you. He and his family, which also happens to be Jewels family, have a reality TV show on the Discovery Channel called Wild Alaska. Turns out he & the rest of the “Jewel clan” are all very musical & Atz Lee is no exception. He’s a great guitar player/singer-song writer himself. He played about three songs that were fun & had funny lyrics too. He even showed off his yodeling skills by the end of his set.
Then it was time for Steve Poltz. He came out, introduced himself like he was introducing someone else, turned around to get his guitar & put it on, and started. You could tell this was a funny guy right from his intro and his first song was funny too. He would talk between songs and was explaining that the difference between being on tour with Jewel & being on tour by himself was that he had someone to plug his guitar in for him. He seemed delighted about this! He played another song, talked some more, then broke into a human beat-box and sampled himself over & over with assorted beats and noises until he had himself a new song. It was pretty good. Then he played a more serious song full of nostalgic stuff. He even played a clip of Dave Niehaus announcing the last play of the Mariners winning the AL West in 1995 (I think). The crowd was silent as we listened. It took us right back in time & we all cheered at the end, like it had just happened. Hearing Daves’ voice really brought back memories of my Grandfather, he LOVED the Mariners and Dave was their voice. I was very surprised at my reaction to the clip.
Finally it was time. The lobby emptied & the seats filled. It was time for Jewel! Stage hands came out & rearranged the guitars that had been on stage since the start, pulled a table forward, and put flowers and a giant binder on it, which later we found out was her song book. There was a curtain behind these things and I was sure that that’s where the rest of the band and gear was hiding. But no, here she comes walking out in cowboy boots, a pony tail, cute little sun dress, a giant smile, and picks up a guitar & starts. This was going to be an acoustic, Jewel-only show, wahoo!
She started singing and I started shooting. I remember thinking to myself “WOW, she could sing about ANYthing and it would sound sweet”. She stopped to talk between songs and she told lots of stories. Some were as funny & frivolous like she was just thinking out loud & narrating what she was doing. For example, she was picking at her fingers and telling us about how she has “mom fingers” now, so she put super glue on her finger tips. But she put on too much and it was in the way, so she was peeling some off because she wasn’t “guitaring” very well. I was cracking up. She’s adorable and real! She played some more and told a story between each song.
The first story she told was absolutely hilarious. It was about how she would go to bars with her dad and play four to five hour sets. She wasn’t quite of age, in fact she was twelve! She went on to tell us about how this biker bar got busted so they whooshed her into the bathroom then sent their wives in to check on her. She was all “So I’m in my sweatshirt, buttoned up to here, with kitty paws all over it. And there were these biker women, smoking like chimneys coming in to talk to me. (She was making hand gestures and voices the whole time. Then one woman asked if I could sing at her wedding. I said you can talk to my dad if you want me to sing to you and your old man at your wedding. He takes care of stuff like that.”
She told us about how she & her family found out about 9/11, way out in the middle of nowhere on their Alaskan Homestead. Then she explained her songs, what they were about, and what inspired them. By doing this, she told us her life story. Her stories were real and she’s a funny, humble girl. She told us about her homelessness and living in her car and about how she would steal healthy food to eat. She was very healthy homeless person and that “carrots are the gateway veggie!” She then went on to tell us about how she was thinking about lifting a cute little sundress, but instead looked in the mirror and tried to figure out when she had lost faith in herself. The faith that she could earn $40 for herself, when did she lose that? She had absolutely insulted herself & couldn’t believe it! She also told us about how the car she was living in got stolen. Fortunately, she wasn’t in it at the time… that was the silver lining to that story!
For me it was nice that she told all these stories, because I had yet to recognize a song. So by telling us about them, they made sense and it didn’t matter. She explained about how her family got to Alaska in the first place. It was her grandmother giving up her dream as an opera singer to leave Germany to marry a guy in the country. The cold, unpopulated, uncivilized country. She then sang ‘My Fathers Daughter’, which she wrote for her father & her grandmother. It made the song mean a lot & I noticed the girls on each side of me wiping tears during her performance. It was a very nice song.
Finally she was discovered! She said it was just like Cinderella. She’d be in the record company’s limo & they’d ask where they could drop her off & she just sorta looked around & pointed at a spot and said “Right there’s fine.” She really had nowhere to go. This and that happened, and by now she was hearing herself on the radio. She said she pulled over and started crying… because she thought she sounded like Kermit The Frog! True story, I’m writing right here. She said she was used to performing live and being in the studio made her nervous and her throat kept closing. She said “No really, listen to the first cd and Save Your Soul. It sounds really throaty.” Again I was cracking up. That was her lead in to her final two songs, the two I knew, I was excited! She ended the show with ‘You Were Meant For Me’ and ‘Who Will Save Your Soul’. My concert was complete.
But wait, there was an encore. And you’ll never guess who came out… Atz, her dad! He sang a song, told us some more stories, then ended the whole thing with himself & Jewel yodeling their little hearts out as fast as they could. It was awesome!
Now you might think this is the end of my story, but no, there’s more! We were slowly making our way to the lobby & my friend wanted to buy a cd. The show was recorded & was for sale. Tons of other people had the same idea so we were in the lobby for a while, waiting for our turn. Atz Lee & Steve Poltz were in the lobby too, signing autographs, taking pictures and talking to fans. Then out of nowhere, Atz came in and jumped on the merch counter & announced that Atz Lee had just turned (or was about to turn) 40! I happened to be standing next to Atz Lee when this happened, so I wished him a Happy Birthday, ‘cus why wouldn’t I, right? But why I said what I did after that, I still haven’t figured out. I told him that he didn’t have to worry about needing Depends yet. I am 45 and still don’t need them and am feeling pretty confident about 46! He was all “Really? That is good to know.” I said “I know, right?” It was on, we were running on dorky like we knew each other. We were both cracking up. It was finally my friends turn to make her purchase; she also got one of his cds and wanted him to sign it. So I got his attention and he came over, but he thought it was for me. SO, my friend has an autographed Atz Lee cd that says “You Rock! Here’s to 48 with no Depends!” written inside. I told him he was feeling really optimistic about 48 and we agreed that hopefully neither of us would need them for a looooong time after that, too.
And that, my friends, is my story about the intimate, storytellers-like, Jewel concert. It was a fun time that I won’t soon forget.
Check out the Jewel Greatest Hits here: CLICK