Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Lyle Lovett is a shining star at Humphreys, boat people and all

Concerts by the bay attract sell-out crowds to picturesque venue

"If I had a boat / I'd go out on the ocean / And if I had a pony / I'd ride him on my boat / And we could all together / Go out on the ocean / Me upon my pony on my boat ..." Humphreys' "boat people" gather on the water to listen to the concert. The venue is a San Diego, sold-out favorite.  

Lyle Lovett's performance included generous
time to show off mandolin, bass and other players.

GO OUT on their boats, they did!
Although there were no ponies in sight.
One of the prettiest concert venues in the country -- perhaps the world -- is Humphreys Concerts by the Bay.
Lyle Lovett likes it, too.
Humphreys concert patrons may also stay in the Half-Moon Inn, above.
The Texas born troubadour recently played a sold-out concert at Humphreys. Lovett's "Large Band" -- spiffy in suits and ties -- came on stage promptly at the promised 8 p.m. curtain time, receiving a generous hand from the audience and launching into a rousing swing opener, each musician taking a solo turn.
THEN LOVETT walked on the stage to cheers, thanking the sold-out crowd for its rousing welcome, and giving a hello to the folks in their boats, who also enjoy the evening's music -- but without buying a ticket.
"You've been here with me from the beginning of my career here," Lovett deadpanned. "But I think your boats are getting bigger."
The crowd was in a good mood. Who isn't, at Humphreys?
Cookie thanks her lucky stars for the good life,
recently a  fabulous Humphreys concert with Lyle Lovett.
The audience showered cheers upon Lovett, appreciating his singing, playing and writing and his versatility in any style -- from down home country and bluegrass to gospel, pop, jazz, rock blues and swing.  Wow, does he swing.
I'VE BEEN a fan for his entire career, from back when he was a struggling songwriter and opening act. Swing, he does, along with that crack back-up band.
Lovett's grueling tour features perhaps the best band in the country, each a magnificent musician himself.
He gave wide forum to each of his players -- horns, guitars, bass, mandolin, violin, even steele guitar and his longtime cellist, who sits to Lovett's left.
Lyle Lovett always brings down the house at picturesque Humphreys.
Besides being a top musician, Lovett is a nice guy.  A real professional.  His rapport with his musicians is evident the entire performance and while the players come and go, he stays on stage the entire time, sharing the spotlight and giving generous time to their endeavors, new songs, solo capabilities and vocal talents.
Another sell-out at Humphreys.  Our advice: book your tickets early.
Lovett is a Humphreys regular, dating back to his days as an opening act for singer Bonnie Raitt 25 yeas ago.
He returned many times since and pronounced Humphreys "one of our favorite venues."
HUMPHREYS, like Lyle Lovett, has it all, too: ambiance, terrific location with the ocean view, good food and drink, friendly waiters and a civilized, fun loving audience.
The venue has hosted the creme de la creme of the entertainment world since its opening a quarter
Humphreys is alight with its signature palm trees swaying in breezes.
century ago on the picturesque boating and tourism hub of Shelter Island, on Point Loma west of downtown on San Diego Bay.
Among celebrities to play, and return, are singers Tony Bennett and Cindi Lauper, Boz Scaggs, Steely Dan, Melissa Etheridge, and the legendary Willie Nelson, who is also a frequent visitor to my other favorite state, Montana. Popular groups and duos also play Humphreys, ranging from Chicago and Gipsy Kings to Huey Lewis and the News, the Doobie Brothers and Air Supply.  And comics like the venue, too -- Joan Rivers and Bill Cosby both visited this summer.
Pretty view of San Diego's skyline, strolling back to the car after the show.
LOVETT'S generous show featured many of his hits and award winners, including "If I Had a Boat" and "She's No Lady."
He grinned approval as the crowd sang along to the rhythmic and whimsical boat song: If I had a boat / I'd go out on the ocean / And if I had a pony / I'd ride him on my boat / And we could all together / Go out on the ocean / Me upon my pony on my boat..."
LOVETT'S craggy, weathered look spells endurance. He's survived a much publicized marriage and friendly divorce with actress Julia Roberts and a horrible accident when he was smashed against a fence by a bull at his Uncle's ranch.
Keller and Cookie -- singing along
at Humphreys with Lyle Lovett.
What makes him endure are his class-act musicians, his own genius and versatility and his professionalism which shines through on stage and is obviously part of his off-stage history.
HUMPHREYS feels smaller than its 1,400 seats indicate.  And there's really not a bad seat in the house.  We try to get up in the first 10 rows to avoid the need for binoculars.  Humphreys is romantic, a fun treat for an anniversary or birthday celebration.
And the stage is elevated for good views --  you won't find better lighting or acoustics in San Diego's varied performance venues.
Humphreys Concerts by the Bay are held on the grounds of Half Moon Inn at 2241 Shelter Island Drive. Take I-5 to the Rosecrans exit, take Rosecrans west to Shelter Island Drive and turn left. Humphrey's Half moon Inn is on the right. There is a parking fee at Humphreys, but we usually park along the bay, in one of the free spots a few blocks up.
The stroll to Humphreys from free parking is a pretty one along the water.
Concert prices are  in the $50-$75 range and dinner and overnight packages are available. Sell outs are usual.  Book ahead. You can pay and park on the site, or drive a few blocks to park by the water.  It's a pretty stroll to Humphreys, past picnic areas and pelicans.
Bring a wrap because the ocean breeze kicks in about 9 p.m. Prepare to have your purse or satchel looked in.  You cannot bring in your own food or snacks, but there's plentiful libation within the venue.

COMING SOON: Birthday tradition in the writer's family involves the "Happy Birthday" song, with a unique addendum. Find out what "Without
Come to our casbah -- Saturday!
No Pants On" means, and the link between the famous silent film star Rudolph Valentino and Cookie's mother, Ellen. We'll also pay tribute to the writer's mother who is greatly missed and would have been 86 Aug. 27. And we'll go to Montana for a flowery summertime diversion, then travel north to Alaska, check out the colorful history of the Alberta Bair Theater in Billings, and travel "26 Miles Across the Sea" to Santa Catalina of song fame.  Remember to explore, learn and live.
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