Margo Price-Waiting Room Lounge (6-28-2023)
Margo Price and her band delivered in a big way at The Waiting Room Lounge last night. Right from the get-go when she got on stage (they entered to Waylon Jennings “Omaha” over the PA), it was big energy and big personality, and she is a real triple threat of someone who is exceptionally good at being a song-writer, musician, and performer. During the opening song “Been To The Mountain,” she played guitar, but soon put it away and grabbed a hand-held microphone and began engaging with the audience, and at that point we all knew we were in for much more than a song-writer show. Her and the band’s performance would go between Americana and more of a rock sound through the night, leaning a little heavier on the rock. Two drum sets were set up on the stage, which was already a little crowded with many musicians. Margo herself would get on the second set and do the dual drum thing multiple times over the course of the night, adding some extra fun energy.
Price performed my favorite song, “Hands Of Time,” early in the set, giving it the extended treatment and packing it with as much power as the first time I heard her do it live in 2016. Another highlight was “Landfill”, which she sang along with her husband and guitarist, Jeremy Ivey. On “Paper Cowboy,” the band extended out the jam quite a bit, with keyboard player Micha Hulscher really taking the reigns. Micha would, at different times during the evening, help take things to a futuristic jazz vibe, disco, Muscle Shoals sound, and more. That future jazz sound came out on a really cool version of “That’s How Rumors Got Started”. There was a lot of Tom Petty and Mike Campbell happening at the show this evening. She performed “Light Me Up” which she wrote with Mike Campbell from The Heartbreakers, and “Change Of Heart”, which I think sounds like it was written with Mike Campbell (it was not). Her and the band also covered Tom Petty’s “Have Love Will Travel” and then played a “new” song that she wrote with Mike Campbell during the sessions for her current album, Strays. She stated that there will be nine more songs from those sessions coming out soon. I swear I have heard this song before, and I wonder if it is the “Unknown” song on the set list from Outlandia last year when she was previewing music from the then-upcoming album.
Price and the band would close out the night with a fun rendition of “Radio,” with Price singing in a landline phone that was a prop on stage and distorting her vocals before kicking into the real thing. She also did an outfit change, which she said someone on Instagram stated made her look like a fair carney. She would hand out roses to the audience, and then the band would encore with a medley of her song “Hurtin’ on the Bottle”, Merle Haggard’s “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here And Drink” and Willie Nelson’s “Whiskey River”. She would then finish the night with an acapella version of Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Bends”, that had the crowd singing along. Price and the band’s two hour plus set has been one of the live music highlights of 2023 in Omaha and showcased that she is not just an Americana artist or singer-songwriter. There are many layers there, and I am sure there are many more to come. She really kept the show fun, full of positive energy, and engaging. A real treat.