On the night of Tuesday, July 15, I saw one of my favorite musicians, Chris Isaak, in concert under the stars at the Valley View Casino in Valley Center. The stage was set up in a fenced off parking lot. My seats were in the front row, stage left, probably about twelve feet from the stage, with a mostly unobstructed view of the stage. A post on the side slightly obstructed the keyboard player, but most of the performance was in plain view. It was a much more intimate setting than most of the concerts I have been to. It was so nice to be so close to the action on stage and in the audience.
Chris Isaak and his band entered the stage and started off with the lively, Lonely With a Broken Heart, and the mellow Somebody's Crying. Then he walked down off the stage and strolled through the audience while singing Elvis Presely's song, Love Me Tender. He drove the women in the audience wild. In fact, during most of the show, a whole group of women were gathered at the front of the stage. Women were screaming, cheering, and calling out throughout the show. I should know, I had one of them right behind me. After that number, he performed, I Want Your Love; a new song, We Let Her Down, off his upcoming album; Speak of the Devil, replete with smoke on the stage and red lights. Then he did another new song, Mr. Lonely Man, then one of my favorite songs, Wicked Game. After that was, The Best I Ever Had, Worked It Out Wrong, two new songs, Blues Stay Away from Me, and All the Way; Two Hearts; another new one, Take My Heart; a cover of the country song by Ned Miller, Dark Moon; I'll Go Crazy; Don't Leave Me On My Own; Roy Orbison's, Only the Lonely; and Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing. He also did a cover of Cheap Trick's I Want'You To Want Me.
I thought that was the end of show, but he and his band came back on stage. They started by playing the instrumental surf rock number, Super Magic 2000, and Chris Isaak came on stage in a mirrored suit and played the country sounding American Boy, then San Francisco Days, Notice the Ring (with a great conga solo by Raphael P.), and ended with Forever Blue.
Chris Isaak's variety of rock, rockabilly, country, blues and ballads makes for a good concert. His singing and guitar playing is backed up by his great band: Roly Salley, on bass; Scott Plunkett, on Piano; Hershel Yatovitz, on guitar; and Kenney Dale Johnson on drums. They are very comfortable performing together which was shown in their ribbing each other and joking around during the show. Chris also interacted well with the audience, which added to the intimate setting. There was also a great energy with the audience as they danced and swayed to the music. It was an enjoyable night and a concert I won't forget.