A musician marked by life, a voice marked by life - and an audience that reflects both (meaning benevolently): This makes it clear that there are hardly any children of the streaming age here in the hall, there is good old rock music here.
The light in the Hamburg club Gruenspan is discreet, no flickering on the stage, the room breathes history.
Well over a hundred years ago there was a dance café here, then a cinema, then a steam bath, and since 1968 it has been a music club.
You are in the middle of Hamburg's Beatles district, and the concert of the evening is also that of a classic, albeit one that has not yet been sufficiently appreciated.
Nothing can go wrong there
Editor in the Feuilleton.
Follow I follow
So now: Spotlight on Lucinda Williams, who will be seventy next week and is standing here at the microphone in a black leather motorcycle jacket, supported by a band that also radiates mature rocker charm and, as casual as the whole thing may seem, is at her command and can be controlled with the smallest of hand movements.
You can't go wrong with a Texas hat drummer whose first name is Butch.
It took Lucinda Williams a long time to break into the music business, she went from
to star attraction and has since released a formidable body of work.
The awards she's won for it are a testament to her indecisiveness as to whether she's making folk, country, or rock music.
She won't care, but more importantly, she's Southern: She's from Lake Charles, Louisiana, and that's what her accent sounds like.
Like her role model and deceased friend Tom Petty, she cultivates the
that others try to conceal.
It also goes well with the bluesy lyrics about people who are often on the run or at the bends in life.
Fingers that bleed, strings that snap
Right at the beginning she belts out her musical damage to the people: "Real Live Bleeding Fingers and Broken Guitar Strings" is a piece that sounds more like Stones than Beatles, with two guitarists to be on the safe side, with double booms, so to speak.
Shortly thereafter, she complains about scorpions behind the door and under the skin – the ballad “Those Three Days”, which is about an all too short liaison, also wants to be among them.
How do you explain to those who might be reading this over coffee with a clear head that Lucinda Williams' music probably arose from a completely different constitution and was definitely intended for a different one?
What whiskey drinkers sometimes
call a slight buzz
labeling might help: a slight hum, a slight crunch.
The band also operates in this bang mode, always on the verge of distortion and towards the end of the concert also clearly beyond, in drum thunderstorms.
When Williams squeezes the piece "Pray the Devil Back to Hell" out of himself, one is certain: If anyone could do it, it would be her.
Her introductions, including an ironic dedication to the US Supreme Court on the rebel song "You Can't Rule Me," come across as jaded and witty, all the more so when you know that she recently suffered a stroke.
Keep rocking in the free world
Once she apologizes for her dark lyrics and then sings about a "Big Black Train" that drives by from time to time and that you don't want to get on.
What is also striking is the way in which she gratefully bows to colleagues and boasts of their greatness (as she recently did on her tribute albums entitled "Lu's Jukebox"), be it Bruce Springsteen or Mark Lanegan.
At the same time, it secures its own place in the canon, which it deserves.
The "Blues Brothers" quote in the title of the piece "Let's Get the Band Back Together" can also be understood far beyond her own band: partly as necromancy.
The fact that Lucinda Williams then plays Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World" as the last encore in Hamburg's Große Freiheit seems like fun at first - until you realize that after a phase of parodies and abuse of rock music, there may be a new phase of sincerity has started.
With all seriousness, wide open eyes and crystal clear harmonies, the band beams the audience with their “Keep on.
And Lucinda Williams, who has never been a musician of the really big rock gestures, at some point stands aside with a grin and a slightly brittle smile and only moves her lips.