Bettye LaVette Live (The Encore)

 

Bettye LaVette and Darryl Pierce enjoy a moment at Sony Hall. Photo by Rick Stachura. September 21, 2018.

 


 

If you’re going to do an encore, make sure you do it like Ms. LaVette. After your penultimate song, have a security guard bring out a long, black sweater and drape it over your arms. As the audience whoops and applauds, have him steady you offstage a la Danny Ray to your James Brown while the garment unfolds like a superhero’s cape. Let the band play on grinning as they watch you leave knowing they’ve just participated in the best performance of their lives. Let the crowd keep wondering if you’re ever coming back. As the murmur accelerates, slowly return to the stage right stool. Sigh as you sit like you’re resigned to confessing. It’s a difficult conversation, but you’ve had it before. The music will help. When the people repair to their seats you begin.

Begin.

You begin.

Begin.

You call on the strength of Mary Gauthier, Beth Nielsen Chapman and, through the conduit of their song, admit that you…

 


 

Bettye LaVette, Darryl Pierce, James Simonson, and Brett Lucas count off the beat at Sony Hall. Photo by Rick Stachura. September 21, 2018.

 


 

Left stumbling in the dark

I had to go within

So I traded my scars

Back to where I been…

 

A diamond in the dirt 

Perfectly concealed

Down beneath the hurt

It’s been so hard to feel…

 


 

Bettye LaVette in media res at Sony Hall. Photo by Rick Stachura. September 21, 2018.

 


 

Worthy

What a thing to claim!

 

Worthy

Ashes into flame–

 

Worthy

Am I worthy?

 


 

 

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