I bought tickets the day they went on sale, so I was obviously looking forward to seeing Leo Kottke at the Egyptian on Wednesday, May 18. My date for the night was the BW I.T. Guy, and because he's far more organized than I, he was the designated ticket holder. When we got to the theater and realized he'd forgotten to bring the tickets, I thought it was a particularly ominous omen. Would Kottke cancel? Would there be a power outage? Would we be seated next to people who talked through the entire show? We rushed back for the tickets, rushed back to the theater, stopped briefly for a cup of beer-a treat now available at the Egyptian-and rushed to seats 21 and 22. As we waited for the show to start, we made small talk with the nice people in seats 19, 20, 23 and 24 (who were very polite and didn't talk during the show at all).
I was getting nervous as the 7:30 p.m. start time came and went. But, the guitar and a microphone on stage had to be good signs. When local singer-songwriter Dale Keys stepped onstage and gave the obligatory opening announcements, I knew everything was going to be OK. And, OK it was. Kottke walked out accompanied by thunderous applause. When Kottke started to strum, however, the place went silent-everyone tuned to each note he played on his guitar and each note he sang in his raspy voice. I knew I was listening to a man with a gift. The sound he makes with one 12-string guitar might put an orchestra to shame and I kept looking to see if someone might be playing bass or rhythm guitar somewhere behind the curtains. But it was all Kottke. His melodies were rich and beautiful and some of the chord changes were so sweet I almost cried. I kept whispering, "Wow," under my breath and at the end of the show, I looked at the other faces in the crowd. Standing and applauding, eyes and smiles wide, everyone looked like I felt: Wowed.