Last time I saw The Jayhawks on stage, was in 2009, at Primavera Sound Festival, right before Neil Young. It was a good show, but with this band, it’s never enough, shows always end with the feeling of missing too much stuff. Although I haven’t listened to Mockingbird Time much, because I don’t really connect to it, this wasn’t enough to miss a show, thus when the Spanish tour dates were announced. I got my ticket right away.
Yesterday breaking news shocked us, just the very same day they were starting this mini tour. Gary Louris admitted not having future plans for The Jayhawks. He sounded tired, and it was easy reading between lines that he admitted boundaries to his vocal mate, Mark Olson, no longer existed, and all the magic was gone. From the same interview you could distinguish a confession of Mockingbird Time to be a failure, with unfulfilled expectations. They have changed, their vibe didn’t flow, and nothing could return to the way it used to be.
After reading this pessimistic confession, it was hard to keep up the good spirits. It was a rough day for me too, as I had been advised my candidature for a job position in Madrid had been dismissed due to a cancellation in the recruiting process, but I was determined to have a good day, and enjoy the show regardless.
Many acquaintances from a music themed forum I regularly participate at, gathered at a bar to have the pre-show beer. Everybody was commenting on Louris’ statements, and even though expectations weren’t unreal and too high, we all thought the show was to be fine.
Punctuality was more than perfect, and the guys from Minneapolis opened with wonderful Wichita. Apolo is one of my favorite venues together. It used to be a proper music hall, and fortunately it’ very comfortable for the audience. You can see the stage from any corner and sound quality is quite decent. On this regard, this was something which couldn’t fail, The Jayhawks always sound neat and perfect, and yesterday was no exception.
They played around 5 songs of their new album, which, with all due respect, broke the rhythm of the show. We’re not talking about Megadeth, ok, but The Jayhawks, at this time, know exactly what their loyal Spanish fans want, thus, playing their new stuff they’re not even enthusiastic about, it’s like a waste of energy and time, and the risk of missing the audience attention easily, which happened too.
This didn’t happen when they played Two Angels, Take Me With You, Settled Down Like Rain, Blue or I’d Run Away. Those are the classic moments I wanna fall in love with someone and live happy ever after. Tears run down my cheeks with Rainy Day Music’s Angelyne, as this album is related to a season in my life I was falling in love, it was a very emotional moment, and yes, I’m too sensitive sometimes.
Thus, the setlist wasn’t that bad considering they completely dismissed some albums, sound was immaculate, but what was happening on stage was the confirmation of Louris’ statements. I’m 98% positive we’re not seeing this band all together on stage any more. Two perfect matching voices creating the most beautiful harmonies you can imagine are not enough to make Olson and Louris stand and endure each other any longer. Communication was non existent, they didn’t look at each other, Louris was hidden behind his dark glasses and his harp stand, Olson was smiling and laughing as if he was among friends in a barbecue party, but when addressing to the audience and starting the songs, you had this feeling of something not going well. They barely looked at each other, Olson was making jokes with the bass player while Louris was singing… a bit tense, really.
There was a moment Olson had to sing without the guitar, and the stamp was terrible. It was as if your drunken uncle was stealing the mic to sing a couple of shitty songs, demanding the audience attention. Very very sad.
Anyway, though I enjoyed the show, the band looked tired and old and the magic was gone, as advanced by Louris himself. They were professional enough as to deliver, but yeah, I had the feeling it was the last time, and now it’s time to look forward to see what Louris and Olson are capable of doing separated, because talent is something that remains after all.
It wasn’t a bad farewell. The Jayhawks, so long!