Friday, June 26, 2015
The Wilbur Theatre, Boston
I’ve had The Weepies come up on Pandora stations for years and their sweet, sentimental songs are up my alley. I haven’t listened to them more purposefully than that, so when my steadfast concert friend, Colin, mentioned he had an extra ticket to go see them in Boston, I decided to embrace the freedom of summer vacation and join him. It turned out that this was a magical day, because the Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled that same sex marriage would be legal throughout the country, and my Facebook feed blew up with joy and rainbow flag profile pictures. I wrote “LOVE WINS!” on my car’s rear windshield to celebrate and soared to Portland to fetch Colin. We had the most unusually easy drive into Boston, which, as if jinxed, ended abruptly less than a block from the garage where Colin had pre-paid for our parking spot when the road was closed moments before we tried to turn in. An hour later, we had circled the block, gotten into our spot, grabbed some burritos at Boloco, and made our way to the Wilbur Theatre with plenty of time to get a good spot up front. Colin bought general admission tickets, but the folks at the Wilbur informed us that we had GA section 1 tickets (not specified at purchase), and were corralled into literally a pen far enough away from the stage that I was not impressed. So, if you are ever buying tickets to a concert at the Wilbur and want to be up front, you want GA section 2 tickets. I hope that tidbit helps you someday.
Greg Tannen and Amanda Brown took the stage to open the show. Greg’s brother Steve is half of The Weepies, and he talked about how great it was to be touring with family. Amanda stole the set and her voice really impressed. Deb and Steve joined them on stage for “Vegas Baby,” which the two brothers wrote together at least a decade earlier.
The Weepies are married singer-songwriters Deb Talan and Steve Tannen. People in the crowd were mostly really engaged and friendly. Deb and Steve were so sweet together. Almost two months later (oops!) and that’s what sticks out to me most clearly about the night. Deb is the more focused in the couple. There was an instrument mix up at some point and Deb was clearly right and Steve was confused and he stopped to joke with us that he’d messed up and she was right, so he complimented her boots and said “Baby, you rock!” That they love each other a lot was what shone most brightly that night. They gave a shout out to Matt Smith in audience who booked Steve a show in Boston in 2001 that Deb attended. They started making music together almost immediately after that night and now are married with three kids and a handful of albums together.
I felt a bit like I was in Deb and Steve’s living room all night. It was the kind of show I love—filled with warmth and friendly banter meant to engage the audience. I chuckled when Deb looked down and told us they’d actually brought their carpet from their living room so they’d feel more at home on tour. Steve bragged about his wonderful wife and announced that after a fight with stage 3 breast cancer, Deb is now cancer free. The crowd erupted. Soon after, Deb talked about the recording process and putting together a touring band. She said that being sick helped push her to pursue her dreams, and she asked the drummer to join them and introduced him as Peter Thomas from Elvis Costello’s band. She said she never would have thought to ask a living legend like him to play with them, but cancer made her brave and he said yes to joining the band. They played “Never Let You Down” from their 2015 Sirens album after that warm introduction.
Steve kept the laughs coming all night and told us that their kids were on tour, too, but were wiped out from excitement after they learned that the park across the street from The Wilbur (Boston Public Gardens) was the very same one Robert McCloskey wrote about in Make Way for Ducklings. He joked that his kids freaked out like they were at Madonna’s house or something.
Even though I was pretty unfamiliar with their music, I’m glad I decided to go to the show. I was happy to hear “World Spins Madly On” live. The Weepies were solidly entertaining and made me feel really welcome.