• Images/story by Joe Del Tufo


CURRENT SITUATION: Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen at The Grand Opera House

Like a lot of people, my first glimpse of Lyle Lovett this last week came on social media. There was Lyle, sitting at a table at Lucky’s Coffee Shop, looking just exactly like what you’d expect Lyle Lovett sitting in a coffee shop to look like. Turns out he was there for a photo shoot, and it seemed like the perfect place to capture him. (The photo I saw on social media was taken by a friend sitting at another table, and I’m both impressed and jealous by what the new iPhone 7 camera can do, for sure.)

But Lyle didn’t just come to town for the coffee. He played in front of a capacity crowd at The Grand Opera House on Saturday night with fellow Texan Robert Earl Keen, another renowned musician with whom he has collaborated for over 30 years.

"It's so nice to be back in Wilmington, so nice to be back in this beautiful venue." Lovett said. (He wasn’t just playing to the crowd. A Grand employee told me that Lovett had his own camera and tripod out earlier in the day, touring The Grand and capturing images for more than an hour.)

"And it's really great to be here for the very first time,” Keen said.

The duo performed for almost three hours, playing hits like “If I Had a Boat,” “Bears” and “She’s No Lady,” as well as a number of songs from deeper in their catalog. There was much banter and stories shared. At one point, Lovett asked Keen what song could he play that would get him disqualified from the presidency. Keen chuckled and launched into his popular live version of “Phuck It,” bringing a roar and eventual sing-along from the full house.

Both artists seemed at home on this stage, and the generosity of the show made that clear.

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