What a great way to celebrate the holiday season, a Christmas concert with friends. Nick Lowe’s “Quality Holiday Review featuring Los Straitjackets” was so much more than I expected. Nick Lowe’s backing band, Los Straightjackets, were fantastic. Dressing in suits, and wearing Mexican wrestling masks, they played some of the best Tex/Mex surf music I’ve ever witnessed. When they did a wild surf cover of the Charlie Brown Christmas song the crowd went nuts! This was the final concert date on the tour, and that usually means the performers give something extra.
The concert started with Nick Lowe performing three songs by himself on acoustic guitar. After an introduction (interrupted by someone in the audience standing up and shouting “it’s my birthday!” to the delight of Nick Lowe) Los Straightjackets came on stage. They backed up Lowe on selections from his recent Christmas album, and then continued with brilliant surf guitar songs while the singer took a break. He returned to perform selections from his impressive back catalog.
The encore was something special. Again, Los Straightjackets transformed a familiar song into something new; this time an instrumental cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Time Is On My Side”. The highlight of this segment was Nick Lowe, again alone on stage, doing his most famous song, “(What’s So Funny About)Peace Love and Understanding”.
But the best was left for last. For the final encore, Nick Lowe performed a stunning solo acoustic version of Elvis Costello’s “Alison”. He dedicated it to Elvis, who was in the audience earlier in the evening with his equally famous wife Diana Krall. The audience sat silent and mesmerized through the whole song.