However, I think an objective observer would agree that the Coronet Theatre - Largo's current home – is undoubtedly one of the finest listening rooms in North America (or the world?), much as the old Largo location was. The staff is courteous and professional, while reminding everyone that chatter and photography are not welcome. At around 150 seats, the Coronet still qualifies as ridiculously intimate, and what better venue could possibly host the live premiere of Reverie in its entirety?
The rough edges of the new record shone through in the live performance, though with world class musicians like Jay Bellerose, David Piltch and Keefus Ciancia in tow, one could hardly expect anything less than stellar. Having never seen Joe Henry live before (no, seriously), I was perhaps a bit surprised how animated and energetic he was as singer and guitarist. But otherwise, the evening was predictably beautiful and revelatory, and – for an event that can now be marked off my personal bucket list – absolutely exceeded all of my expectations.
The trip was all the more memorable since I got the chance to meet and hang out a bit with fellow blogger Josh Hurst of The Hurst Review. We got to chat with both Joe himself and Jay Bellerose, who seems to me a quiet and thoughtful guy, not necessarily traits you would expect in such a monster drummer. Of course, Jay is in such a class of his own as a musician, one should probably expect the unexpected. I'm also pretty sure he owns the world's biggest tambourine.
I hope it goes without saying that if Joe Henry makes it to your town, jump at the chance to see him.