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Hiatt and Colvin shine — should’ve sung together

SHARE Hiatt and Colvin shine — should’ve sung together

JOHN HIATT AND SHAWN COLVIN, Red Butte Garden, Wednesday.

Only John Hiatt with Shawn Colvin could have sounded better than Hiatt and Colvin did during separate sets at Red Butte Garden on Tuesday.

The two master songwriters never actually shared the stage during the three-hour-plus concert. Considering their mutual appreciation of each other and the fact that Colvin, who played first, watched from the side of the stage during Hiatt's set, their failure to play even one song together was disappointing.

Separately, both gave very strong performances on a stage adorned with nothing more than the singer, a guitar and, in Hiatt's case, a keyboard and harmonica. They also both held the crowd's attention, which is not always an easy task for acoustic performers at the garden — a chattering crowd plagued Hiatt's Red Butte show last summer.

Hiatt easily gave the best performance, which can be credited to a new album, "Master of Disaster," a much more extensive catalog, and the time he spent touring earlier this summer with the North Mississippi All-Stars, which backed him on the new album.

Some of the night's best songs came from his new album, including the title track, which opened the show, and the haunting love/hate song "Ain't Never Goin' Back." Additionally, "Thunderbird" prompted the best story of the night when he confessed to car theft in his youth.

Classic songs written by Hiatt — some of which were made classic by other artists — dominated the latter half of his set and his two encores. They included "Riding With The King," which was recorded by Eric Clapton and B.B. King, and "Angel Eyes," which became a hit song for The Jeff Healey Band. Sitting at the keyboard, Hiatt was also able to reclaim his "Have A Little Faith In Me," which was hijacked two years ago by Mandy Moore.

Some serious picking skills and funky blues-guitar playing were also showcased by Hiatt, especially on "The Tiki Bar Is Open," "Carry Me Down The Line" and "Slow Turning."

Colvin played a very similar show to her performance two years ago, even apologizing at one point for possibly repeating stories. Despite that, she played a beautiful set of songs which were powered by her singing.

While Colvin has not released a complete new album since 2001, she has one planned for early next year, and she debuted a couple of the new, somewhat dark, tracks, although she promised there are upbeat songs on the album. Both songs — "Goodbye, Mary Anne" and "Don't Worry," titles surmised from the choruses, although she didn't introduce them by name — fit well with her sound.

Aside from the new songs, other highlights included "Polaroids," "Wichita Skyline" and crowd favorite "Sunny Came Home."

E-mail: jloftin@desnews.com