Let’s officially say I discovered the great Mr. James Hunter on May, 14th of this year. Once I got a good listen to a few of his tracked, I bought his most recent album The Hard Way. Never did I imagine less than half a year later I’d be sitting less than 10 feet away from him, listening to him sing a few of his owns songs and several covers of many other songs he loves while enjoying a delicious chicken parmesan panini in the heart of Manhattan. Oh, and I had the lovely accompaniment from a dearest friend and great appreciator of music (and film) like myself. You might see her commenting here and there as Koala.
In any event, we spent the night out on the town enjoying Hunter’s catalog of soul and blues tunes that clearly influenced him as an artist. In between songs he would tell short antidotes about the conception of some of his songs or how he “stole” them from other writers.
What always amazes people, including myself, is that if your heard this guy on the radio–meaning you have no idea what he looks like–you wouldn’t expect to see a white guy. I’m not saying that’s a problem at all, it’s just surprising. Then to hear him speak? What?! This dude is English? It’s pretty crazy but for us, that just made him all that more unique.
He played a few songs from his recent album, a few from his older album(s), which I felt like a bad fan for not hearing prior to this event, a few covers of other older songs like “Lonely Teardrops” and “Please, Please, Please” and even gave us a couple new songs which hopefully means another Hunter album soon. What Koala and I (and several others, actually) were waiting for was the song “Carina” which happens to be the song we jointly declare to be our favorite. I love many other songs too, actually. Sadly, he never played this song even though it was requested. In the crowd he heard “Jacqueline” so he sang that one instead. I can’t be mad at that. The song is about his wife. It’s also a really good song too.
So overall, we weren’t disappointed. Sadly, though, we missed out chance to actually meet the guy backstage. Possibly two or three times. The first time he escaped us for a smoke break. We didn’t know if we were allowed where he was, but I noticed another fan out there, so I decided we should go back in to find him. But by the time we did, he was gone. As we stood backstage, we heard what sounded like his voice, but it’s possible it may have been a friend of his or something, so we decided to leave. It’s not like we left empty handed.
As I said, we were about 10 feet away. I took advantage of this distance and my phone (which I don’t think has a zoom feature) and recorded him performing his “last” song. He came back for an encore, much to our delight. By the way, this is my first official YouTube upload. I really wanted this entire friPod post to be a video, even if that meant posting it a couple days late… like it already is. I ran into a few tech problems getting it uploaded in the first place, but here it is, J. Hunter live performing “Please, Please, Please.”
I loved the intimate setting provided by Joe’s Pub. It was a little too intimate, due to the limited space, but it wasn’t too terrible. I just felt bad for anyone who had to use the restroom because that would require making everyone in your path get up from their seats rather than “suck in”. Regardless, it was a very cozy atmosphere and I loved the candles on the tables. The lighting was nice too. It was bad if you were trying to see what you were eating, providing you can make out whatever there is to be seen via candlelight and from some of the stage lights, but that wasn’t a concern of mine.
Koala and I sat next to an old married couple from Florida. They hadn’t heard of James Hunter before and I wanted to ask him if they enjoyed the show, but they left before I got a chance to. He seemed like he did, nodding his head a little to the beat. The wife seemed a bit cold and frigid, she barely moved or even had much of an expression. Unlike other patrons, who were either clapping or dancing in their chairs or applauding wilding after almost every song. A lot of people enjoyed his guitar solos and when he played the harmonica. Quite the talent. And no other band members either! I’m sure he would’ve slaughtered had he brought at least a drummer… but with the songs he played, he didn’t need them. He used his foot most of the time and at one point almost accidentally sent his microphone into the face of one of the audience members sitting by the edge of the stage! But in true class and professionalism, he caught the microphone, still holding (and possibly still playing) his guitar, threw in a quick joke, all while still singing without missing a beat. Impressive.
His show was only an hour, I wish there was more. The amazing thing about this whole experience is that I had no idea he was performing until two weeks before it happened. On top of that, this is the second time I was introduced to an artist and then got the opportunity to see them live in the same year. Also, for this show, I got to go with the only other fan that I know. It’s good to go to a concert with a fellow fan.
However, my experience in the city that day is another story, for another post. Due to being out in the city and also not getting this video online the same night, I obviously couldn’t post this on the same day. By the time I got home, it was already 1AM and I was in no condition to recount the awesome show I had witnessed hours earlier. Plus I was having problems uploading the video. But there’s also a post coming that should have been written months ago regarding on our reliance on GPS and other technologies, so stay tuned for that.