Chris Isaak Moves and Grooves at the Fillmore Miami Beach, September 14
|Photo by Alisa B Cherry|
The Fillmore Miami Beach
Friday, September 14, 2012
Better Than: Any other professional show biz showcase.
Chris Isaak is at his best when he's going back to basics. Of course, that's no surprise. Well before he released his most recent album, a collection of remade rock 'n' roll standards entitled Beyond the Sun, he excelled at revisiting a style flush with classic rock appeal.
Boasting a cool croon, matinee idol good looks, and a veteran backing band that's adroit at recapturing the moves and grooves that their retro stance demands, Isaak comes across with a rare combination of charisma and charm.
Those attributes were on ample display Friday night, before an adoring crowd that seemed fixated on every move Isaak had to offer. He and his band commanded the stage, which was alternately decorated like a fancy New York nightclub and, later, the Memphis recording studio from which that recent album got its name.
Isaak and his colleagues posed and postured via playful choreography, and consistently got up close and personal with the audience, both by venturing out into the aisles and even inviting a bevy of local woman (and one guy for equal time) onto the stage to shimmy and shake along to the boogie-based standard, "Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing."
|Photo by Alisa B. Cherry|
All the while, Isaak successfully demonstrated the good-natured, boy-next-door charm that not only earned him his devotees, but also a series of roles on both the big screen and small screen alike. It's the easy, affable approach that's garnered him a steadfast following over the course of a nearly 30-year career, one that's clearly in no danger of subsiding. And yet, his self-effacing humor makes it clear -- onstage and off -- that he's one of those rare artists who's not absorbed with his own stardom.
Resplendent in a baby blue sequined suit (the jacket was eventually discarded and the whole outfit exchanged for a dazzling, seemingly mirrored ensemble for the encore), Isaak made a series of self-deprecating cracks. "Thanks for coming out," he said. "If you didn't come tonight, I'd just be wandering around the beach in this sequin suit with nothing to do." Later, when the band began teasing him about his choice of wardrobe, he took pains to point out that most professional figure skaters wore something similar.
To his credit, Isaak also seemed content to share the spotlight, mugging with his band mates and teasing them about their equally droll personalities. Still, he couldn't help but make fun of himself. "When I'm up here onstage singing, looking out at you, I see you looking back at me. And that's the way I like it!" At another point, he challenged the house rule about limited photography. "I went to a lot of trouble to get all dressed up, so snap away." he insisted. Consequently, his various forays into the audience also included pauses to pose with enthusiastic onlookers.