Guy Clark, Joe Ely, John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett – Ikeda Theater, AZ

These guys have all made huge names for themselves on their own, so seeing any of them is a treat not to be missed. Seeing all four on the same stage in the round is like Christmas, Birthdays and Halloween all rolled into one.


They came out in alphabetical order and sat themselves down in the four chairs on the stage. Guy Clark sang Ain’t No Money In Poetry then Joe Ely told a (slightly dirty) story about Townes Van Zandt went something like he had been drinking, was walking around with his car key out and found a police man to tell him that his car had been stolen. The police man asked where he’d left it and Townes said “Right at the end of my key.” The police man said, “Sir, your fly is open,” and Townes said, “Someone stole my girlfriend too!” Joe Ely then sang, Just To Get To You.

John Hiatt joked that it was just a “little dry out here” and sang a song about New Orleans called Walk On.

Lyle Lovett sang Lights Of LA County to which Guy said, “You gotta love a murder ballad” and sang LA Freeway.

Joe continued the theme with Letter to LA. John shrugged and said, “this is a song about leaving LA” and started with Tennessee Plates. He messed up the line “land of opportunity” twice before he said, “Aw, shit” and kept going. When he passed the stage to Lyle, he commented on how great a love song it was and somehow they ended up talking about Crystal Gayle and her hair and then Lyle brought it back to the song and asked John if they stopped to eat on the way from LA to Memphis and if so what did they eat. John thought a moment and said he didn’t know but if it were him he would have eaten.

Lyle sang Which Way Does That Old Pony Run, Guy did Out In The Parking Lot and Joe did I’m Gonna Strangle You, Shorty before John sang Thunderbird.

After John was done, Lyle asked if he had ever had a Thunderbird and John replied that no, but when he was about 14 he stole a ’66 Thunderbird. He told a great story about how they stole this baby blue Thunderbird from a woman when she was getting pizza and Lyle laughed that they had all done things to prepare themselves for the music industry. John finished his story saying they had driven it to school for two weeks and then ran into the man who’s wife they had stolen it from and the rest of the kids all told him that they were just hitchhikers and didn’t know it was stolen, leaving the driver to take all the rap.

Lyle dedicated Nothing But A Good Ride to Randy Paul, a local horse showman. Guy sang Always Trust Your Cape followed by Joe singing Behind The Bamboo Shade.

John did Real Fine Love, Lyle did If I Had A Boat.

Guy told a story about his grandmother’s boyfriend sang Desparados Waiting for a Train. Joe made a comment that there was more to farming cotton than just planting the seed and sang All That You Need.

John played Drive South and Lyle sang My Baby Don’t Tolerate, giving John a very long solo. This was oddly one of the only times that the others joined in on the songs. The final song of this set was a collaborative effort on Old Dusty Road.

When they came back for the encore, John noted that it was kind of an “interesting game we play with each other”.

Guy sang Stuff That Works, Joe sang Honky Tonk Masquerade, John sang Have A Little Faith and Lyle sang “an old Guy Clark song that he never recorded:, Step Inside This House.

They finished the night off together with Guy saying “this is a song we all wish we’d written” before Brand New Tennessee Waltz.

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