Loudon Wainwright III – Chautauqua Auditorium, CO

On a co-bill with Richard Thompson, actor, comedian, songwriter and generally funny guy Loudon Wainwright played the first set at Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder to a half-crowd and a bunch of stragglers in the park.

He opened with

My Biggest Fan

He noted that the fans were “moving in from the sides now,” as Chautauqua only seats people in between songs.


He said, “I’ve got some family songs for you tonight, so watch out!”

during which he asked “anyone?” after he sang “what happens when you die?”

The Picture

He talked about how the passage of time has become his “favorite topic” and that “death and decay is where it’s happening.”

Doing the Math

He noted how the last song was on his record called Strange Weirdos and that it wasn’t for sale but they did have some “oblivion flake cocaine” which was “always a big Chautauqua favorite.” He continued on about being in the movie Knocked Up and being Katherine Heigl’s gynecologist saying, “to prepare for that role was a dream come true.”

Grey In LA

He said that the next one was a song he wrote with Joe Henry for the movie

You Can’t Fail Me Now

He said, “Here’s another death and decay” song and that it was actually a combo, a “hybrid” and that his favorite topic in the ’70s was “shitty love” because there was “no other way to put it.”
He added that it was swerving over into the “double D realm” and that this was “a combo platter of death, decay and bad love.”

Guilty Conscience and a Broken Heart

He said that he wrote the next song in “1970… maybe.”

Be Careful, There’s A Baby in the House

He said that he had written that song before he had any kids.

Being A Dad
during which he tried to get the Dads to sing along… which failed miserably… so he said, “you moms join in.” That still flopped and he said, “It’ll get better, I know it. Pretend I’m Pete Seeger!”

He said the next song was a great song written by his friend Pete Blegvad


He paused to check his list (of songs) and someone hollered out a request which he acknowledged saying, “that’s a good one,” but he needed his ukulele to play it. A few more requests were shouted and he said that they were “great requests” and “White Winos, there’s another good one.”

Days Till We Die

He talked about going to Australia and that it’s a long flight and that “an hour and a half in and you’re thumbing” and reading the inflight magazine and someone’s already done the crossword puzzle, in ink, and that there’s this graphic that shows the International Dateline. He added that it’s an imaginary line and whoever drew it must have “been stoned.” He continued about losing a day and how Tonga and Samoa are really close but across the dateline and that he thought, “what an incredible idea for a song! People will love this!” and that we’d have to pretend we were in Australia.

Samoa and Tonga

White Winos

He said, “Um, this is another song about drinking. I wrote this one in 1972 when I was drunk all year basically, pretty much.”

Drinking Song
during which he stopped halfway through because he couldn’t remember, “how does it go?” and added “1972 was a long time ago!”

He said “Trying to get, you know, positive, it’s not easy for a guy like me, but time’s passing and I’m working on it. Here’s a stab at it.”

It’s Just The Middle of the Night

He said, “What can I do to bring it back down again? It’s always a hard day on the planet.” He added that he was living in London and Ronald Regan was the president and that they thought it could never get any worse but “don’t you miss Ronnie?” He said that he wrote this while he was watching Live Aid, the first one, and he was wondering why Bob Geldorf didn’t invite him to play, “I mean Duran Duran, come on!” but he watched it on TV and took his “”twisted bitterness and crafted it into a song.” He said, “I know you guys don’t like to sing along…” and then “Oh come on, let’s to Kumbaya!”

Hard Day on the Planet

“Ok, now the fun starts. Bring that thing, that crazy little microphone out here,” he said and invited Richard Thompson out.

Animal Song

Loudon said that the next one was from an album called, Am I Right and that it was another oldie that they dug up at sound check.


He said, “Mr. Richard Thompson ladies and gentlemen” and that they’d finish up with their most recent collaboration on Strange Weirdos.

Final Frontier

He said “thank you and nice to be here” before leaving with no encore.

Photos by Nichole Wagner

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