Two big shows feature Pantages Theater as destination venue

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The historic Pantages Theater was the destination venue for a weekend of fabulous music with two sold-out shows on the nights of Friday, Jan. 26 and Saturday, Jan. 27.

Country singers, songwriters and storytellers Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen, celebrating 40 years of friendship, put on an intimate acoustic show Friday night. Both men are from Houston and they met in the late 70s at Texas A&M University at jam sessions on “The Porch,” where country and bluegrass music was played daily. The meeting place in College Station, Tex. was the inspiration for a song co-written by Lovett and Keen, “This Old Porch.” It was a treat for Tacoma to host a rare appearance of the native Texans and their music.

On the following night, five-time Grammy winners, the Blind Boys of Alabama, opened for Marc Cohen. Blind Boys’ Jimmy Carter, the remaining original member — now in his 80’s — charmed the crowd with his antics and refined voice, getting the crowd cheering with his trademark “long standing notes.” The Blind Boys of Alabama played their signature song “Amazing Grace” to the melody of “House of the Rising Sun.”

Also a Grammy-winning folk-rock singer/songwriter, Cohen headlined the evening at the Pantages. A special gift of the evening was Cohen performing his hits “Silver Thunderbird” and “Walking in Memphis” with the Blind Boys of Alabama as back-up vocalists.

Photos by Bill Bungard

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