Robert Earl Keen - Furnace Fan in Phoenix

Robert Earl Keen - Furnace Fan in Phoenix [Crescent Ballroom]

Robert Earl Keen and his band rolled through the desert on Tuesday night and to no surprise it was hotter than a ‘Furnace Fan’ out in Arizona again. It was a marvelous show at Crescent Ballroom in downtown Phoenix that showcased a collective extraordinary talent as well as some good storytelling by him and fellow fans. REK and Co. opened the evening of good ol’ country with ‘I Wish You Were Here’ and proceeded with ‘It’s The Little Things’ which not unlike his other songs and in-betweener stories was humorous to supplement the coalition of talented strings and vocal harmony.

Alongside Robert and his guitar was a pal confidently donning a Heisenberg hat, rocking the electric bass in addition to 2 others switching in and out of a box guitar, mandolin, pedal steel guitar and Dobro. The guy on that resonator looks just like Ned Ryerson fromGroundhog Day so I was frequently saying ‘Bing!’ in my head every time I glanced stage left. A lot of Keen’s songs are sung in story-like fashion that include vivid descriptions of things and thorough recollections that are sure to crack anyone up. I’m particularly amazed with the detail of story-telling and story-singing, being that the occurrences were from 30-something years ago and one could say he partook in some booze and some pot during those 3 decades. He grew up in Austin and went to college living next to his good friend Lyle Lovett.

There was a good portion of fellow Texans in the crowd last night, made apparent by their Texas A&M garb, cheers at every one of REK’s nostalgic mentions and I was the only one in the bar celebrating the miraculous comeback by the Heat to take down the San Antonio Spurs right before the show started. Awkward.

The stories didn’t stop there – or begin there, I should say. I met a lot of very friendly people before the show really excited to see Robert Earl Keen for the 1st, 5th, 20th, etc. time. Every one of them had a story to tell about how they first got into listening to REK and how long they’ve been a fan. My favorite was one guy, probably pushing 50, telling me about hearing a set in 1989 while making love to a beautiful woman during Austin City Limits. It seemingly changed his life and he’s proud to have presented this discovery to his so-called music-savvy friends who still thank him for this gem of a contribution to their music collections.

I was able to get some good shots of REK and his fantastic Jeff-Bridges-slash-Kenny-Rogers beard during the opener, however, you’ll have to wait for the update [tonight hopefully] to see them while I recover my cable to upload the pics. Sorry.

Anyway, Robert Keen and his band play a great show. Even if you aren’t a huge country fan like myself, you’ll appreciate superior talent and good times conveyed through music like they do so well. You can probably even relate to a song they have about it being hot as shit in Phoenix which was inspired by a sweaty summer show they played at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix -not Scottsdale like he says in the song. He knows that now.

I Wish You Were Here
It’s The Little Things
Front Porch Song
Merry Christmas From The Family
I Gotta Go
Feeling Good Again
Gringo Honeymoon
Furnace Fan
Man Behind The Drums
Ready For Confetti
Dreadful Selfish Crime
Road Goes On Forever

Tangled Up In Blue
I’m Comin’ Home

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