John Hiatt brought the best of his catalog, while Joan Osborne brought pretty much her entire songbook to Red Butte Garden Sunday night.
Both delivered to a crowd that was ready to celebrate the end of summer, with an almost steady stream of bluesy roots rock.
Hiatt, a man who has an almost uncountable number of songs to his credit, primarily played the songs recognizable to even casual fans. Aside from a few early new songs, his set was comprised almost entirely of his greatest hits.
While many of the songs were played straight, Hiatt did embellish on a few of them. The best of those was "The Tiki Bar Is Open," which included an extended bass solo and a jazzy '50s interlude.
There was also the one-two punch early in the set of "Cry Love" and "Buffalo River Home," a pair of up-tempo road songs about love loss and remorse.
As for the new songs and with Hiatt, there are always new songs "The Old Days" seemed to resonate the most with the crowd. Essentially, he reminisces about a number of his early shows with people such as Mose Allison and John Lee Hooker, but does so not because he wants to return, but because he lived without regret.
Osborne, meanwhile, played a dozen songs over the course of almost an hour. Her set drew heavily from her major label debut, "Relish," and her new album, "Little Wild One."
Most of the crowd was probably only familiar with the debut album, since her latest one isn't even out until this week, and her numerous other albums have been heard primarily by her devoted fans. Even more than that, many in the crowd based on the cheers may only know her one hit song, "One of Us."
Despite that, the crowd seemed impressed and entertained by Osborne. Her voice is especially attention-grabbing and much bluesier than many people expect from their limited exposure to her.
Her debut album was a stunner and deserved to have more than one hit. Thankfully, her new songs all of which translated well on stage are nearly as impressive.Although it was not the final show of this year's Red Butte series that would be Thursday when G Love comes to town Sunday night's show was a great way to close out the summer. Much of that had to do with the two performers, who gave the crowd every reason to ignore the encroaching cold and simply enjoy a nearly perfect evening.
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