– T-Bone Burnett & Friends live at McCabes – December 25, 1991 – National Public Radio –
Okay. You probably had big plans this year. Family get-togethers, usually dreaded were looked forward to this year because you hadn’t seen anybody in almost two years and the tactile sensation of giving and taking hugs more than made up for the otherwise cringeworthy family get-togethers of the past. The crazy aunts, uncles, in-laws and siblings you were able to avoid since March of 2020 you now view with a certain amount of dewy-eyed nostalgia. They were crazy but they weren’t that crazy.
Well, it didn’t happen again. The specter of COVID and its variants put a damper on a lot of holiday festivities all over the world. Not all of you, just the ones who had doubts, cautions and questions over vaccines and who among you was pro and who was con. And since those new words, Variant, Omicron and Spike have become daily buzz-words on media and off, you decided it was best to hold off for another year just to be safe. Some of you decided enough was enough so you’d brave the odds and settle into the familiar get-together, just like the old days complete with nervous jokes and carefully avoiding anything political until somebody broke out the truth serum in the form of the Johnnie Walker bottle. Some of you made it home but found out you may not get back anytime soon because flights got cancelled at the last minute. Oh, the world of the Pandemic is a haywire one.
Whatever the situation is, you are probably stuffed, slipping in and out of consciousness, settling down to a quiet rest of the evening or just climbing the walls because you are overdosing on Apple or Pecan Pie. You could probably use a little music right about now.
I ran across this concert a few years ago and was looking for just the right set of circumstances to post it. Now seems just as good a time as any. Back in the days when NPR was, well . . .different, they would occasionally run these special programs and some of them were downright memorable.
This one is hosted by Harry Shearer and features a galaxy of names that were high on everybody’s collectibles list 30 years ago. Headed up by the legendary T-Bone Burnette, this two hour extravaganza drags the most anti-holiday scrooge kicking and screaming into a state of unbridled joy. It takes place at historic McCabes; a veritable mecca for the dabbling guitarist or virtuoso. The infamous “back room” has played host to some of popular music’s magic moments and seating is just limited enough to make it borderline intimate.
This concert didn’t actually take place all on Christmas day in 1991 – cheating a bit, it’s a “best of” from a series of various performances taking place during the month of November of 1991 and strung together to give the impression it was making a run for a week at Coachella. Still, it’s overflowing with magic moments and just enough holiday spirit to get you searching for snow.
We’ll be back to reality and the day-to-day soon enough. At least for the next two hours you can imagine you’re someplace else with someone else or just calming down from yet another year of drama.
Enjoy the show and don’t forget to exhale occasionally.
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