Lyle Lovett may not have brought his Large Band on his current tour, but his acoustic ensemble  is a power packed lineup with no need for amplification. Over the course of two and a half hours the crowd was treated to frenetic speed duals among the various musicians. Although Pittsburgh born drummer Russ Kunkel was the obvious crowd favorite,  guitar/mandolin ace Keith Sewell and fiddle player Luke Bulla put on incredible picking displays. He came out with the knee slapping  bluegrass  of  White Freightliner Blues.

The stage was set for a rocking evening, but it slowed quickly with the mellow cover of  Release Me. The show was billed with no intermission, but it seemed built in. There was far too much audience participation. Lovett made a few humorous attempts to deflect the interruptions, saying “the Western PA accent is very hard to understand, so I don’t know what you’re saying.” Nonetheless, the typically chatty Texan engaged the crowd enough to eat up at least 15 minutes of show time.


The set began to hit its stride midway with the always rocking  My Baby Don’t Tolerate< and a mesmerizing performance of White Boy Lost in the Blues.<  Lovett’s voice was silky smooth yet authoritative throughout. Sewell and Bulla proved up to the tall task of harmonizing alongside the iconic front man. The band and even some of the crew were dressed in suits. The absence of jeans and cowboy hats that audiences have grown immune to was very refreshing. Their entire stage presence harkened back to days gone by when formal attire was the norm for artists performing everywhere from speak easies to the symphony pit. ‘Release Me” is  his last album for Curb. Like his swan song for the label, the show is  chock full of covers and short on original  material. The latter is what he does best.