Every once in a while, you get the chance to do something as an adult that brings you so fully back to a moment in your past that it almost overwhelms you. I experienced such a feeling this past Sunday night as I saw the delightfully talented Lisa Loeb live in concert. Loeb’s distinctive voice provided a soundtrack to my adolescence and seeing her perform transported me back to my teen years in the mid to late 1990s.
Lisa Loeb brought as much charm and personality to the stage as she did talent…
Most people who know Lisa Loeb know her for her record-breaking hit “Stay,” from the iconic 90s film “Reality Bites.” Starring Winona Ryder, Ben Stiller, and Ethan Hawke, the film and, by extension, the song, came to define the disillusion and restlessness of Generation X. It was also historic in that it was the first song to reach number one on the charts by an unsigned artist. Almost overnight, Lisa Loeb and her iconic cat’s eyeglasses were thrust into the spotlight.
Loeb took the stage with just her guitar and her acerbic wit, charming the audience immediately. I hadn’t realized that “Stay” wasn’t her only film soundtrack song; she played two more. First up was the hopefully mellifluous “Truthfully,” that Loeb told the audience was originally written for the film “One Fine Day,” starring George Clooney and Michelle Pfieffer. She walked through the process of the creating a song for a film; getting the call, being told they want a song that was “Shawn Colvin-like,” going through several edits just to have them use an actual Shawn Colvin song. She said that years later she actually met the director of the film and he told her that “Truthfully” was his favorite song of hers; apparently he had never had it played for him during the film’s production. She also played “321 Let Go,” an upbeat pop-rock ballad from the film “Helicopter Mom.”
In the last few years, Loeb has actually produced a large catalog of original music for children, including several full albums. In fact, earlier in the day she held a family-friendly concert featuring her original music and lullaby covers. The evening audience was not left out, though, as she played us the title track from her latest album, “Lullaby Girl,” and the incredibly original and upliftingly comic “The Disappointing Pancake.” You can see her perform “Lullabye Girl” here. Both tunes were impressive in that they could be enjoyed by both kids and their parents. Last year she released “Feel What U Feel,” an album emphasizing the idea that you don’t always have to be best friends with someone to show respect to one another. She collaborated with musician/comedian Craig Robinson on the title track.
One of the most enjoyable moments of the evening for this reviewer was getting to hear the story of how Loeb’s biggest hit, “Stay” came to be and how it launched her career. She was living in New York and had met then upcoming actor Ethan Hawke. She played him the song, which he then took to co-star and director Ben Stiller who loved it. He put it in “Reality Bites,” and the rest is history. In addition to “Stay,” she also played many of her other hits, several by request. Highlights were “Do You Sleep,” “Taffy,” “Underdog,” and she closed the show with “I Do.”
AMP Strathmore was the perfect venue for this performance; the intimate space allowed the audience to really connect with Loeb and the warm ambiance allowed the music to wash over you. Lisa Loeb brought as much charm and personality to the stage as she did talent, and it was an incredibly enjoyable evening that lived up to all of my expectations. This reviewer highly recommends catching one of her shows if you get the chance.
You can find more information about Lisa Loeb and her tour here.
For upcoming shows at AMP Strathmore, including one of Loeb’s contemporary’s Paula Cole this coming Thursday, October 19th, click here.