Moving away from the mighty Zep, Hart and her ace band --- Joe Nichols on guitar, Tom Lilly on bass and Bill Ransom on drums --- kept things rocking with "Delicious Surprise," a cut that Hart said was inspired by advice from her sister. Changing up the pace a bit, as Hart did throughout her two hour set, she sang a version of Melody Gardot's "If I Tell You I Love You," which the listener will get the gist of from the title's expanded lyric, "If I tell you I love you, I'm lying." Gardot is an American but "If I Tell You I Love You" is a jazzy song sung as a French chanteuse might with some words sung in French and Hart pulled her interpretation off perfectly.
Hart started the show just performing vocals but then she moved to piano for a series of songs, playing the keyboard both with band accompaniment and on stage by herself. It wasn't just Hart's expressive voice and her musicianship that wowed the crowd; she also endeared herself to the audience with her between songs patter where she spoke candidly about troubles she's had in the past. Hart referenced her past struggles with drugs and alcohol (she's been sober for seven years now) and at one point told a gripping but also amusing story of how her process to sobriety began, giving thanks to the Korean church and one of the church's patrons who helped her get clean. She also told how she used to not like Los Angeles at all but had her mind slowly but surely changed by the man she would eventually marry, Scott Guetzkow. In honor of that Hart sang a song of love that she wrote for Guetzkow, "My California," after which Guetzkow, working off stage as part of Hart's crew, came onstage to give her a good long hug.
Among the songs from the evening's career-spanning set were "Sugar Shack," the rarely-played "Monkey Back" from the Leave the Light On album, the rocking, pop-leaning "Bad Woman Blues," "Fat Man," the story of a drug dealer that featured Lilly on upright bass and "Oh So Shaky" that again spotlighted Lilly, this time with a hot solo on electric bass. By the time Hart finished her show with a cover of the Etta James chestnut "I'd Rather Go Blind" the audience left the theater, not only elated but also uplifted.
Beth Hart remains on tour in the US through early May after which she heads to Europe. Follow Hart and find a complete list of her upcoming shows here.
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