Leo Kottke - vocals, guitars
This remarkable Leo Kottke set, when he opened for Linda Ronstadt at the Greek Theater, captures him at a peak time, just as he was releasing his classic Chewing Pine album. Not surprisingly, this set features a good chunk of that material. Kottke's astounding guitar skills are here in abundance and fans of his earlier albums will be delighted with his choice of material on this night.
The set opens with a double dose of material from the new album, "Standing On The Outside" and "Regards From Chuck Pink," both soon to become staples among Kottke's live repertoire. Following these, he delves back a bit and performs "Tiny Island." This is followed by a jawdropping take on "June Bug" that defies description. Suffice it to say that few have ever come close to this intensity and intricacy level on an acoustic guitar. He decides to toy around and flies directly into hints of "San Antonio Rose" followed by "America" before closing the song.
In direct contrast to the frenetic finger flying on "June Bug," he continues with the stark melancholy sounds of "Easter." This gradually builds and transitions into the familiar and welcome opening riff to one of his most beloved instrumentals, "Vaseline Machine Gun." This is another mindblowing example of Kottke's incredible virtuosity, where he is playing lead, rhythm and bass simultaneously with sparks flying in all directions!
Kottke's deep voice is an acquired taste, but those who enjoy that facet will be pleased that both "Louise" and "Pamela Brown" make appearances as the set progresses. Otherwise, we are treated to three more songs fresh from the new Chewing Pine album. "Scarlatti Rip-Off" is another scorcher, here extended to nearly seven minutes and the set closes with a second double dose of new album material. First is "Can't Quite Put It Into Words," a song written for his father, he informs the audience, followed by his utterly unique take on Procol Harum's "Power Failure."
Unfortunately, the tape ran out here, but what remains is a testament to Kottke's engaging stage presence and astounding acoustic guitar skills when he was at the peak of his powers.