Live: Robert Earl Keen, Houston
When the baseball season goes south, it’s always a good idea to give the fans a little extra to keep ’em interested. Of course, the Houston Astros have yet to be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention (one or two more losses oughta do it, though) but they have been playing pretty good of late. The team attracted about 29,800 to a game Saturday night against the league-leading Cincinnati Reds and although the homeboys lost a few hundred faithful fans got a bonus.
Texas singer/songwriter Robert Earl Keen offered a free concert after the game, and it was a perfect pick-me-up after a stinging 11-1 Astros loss. Kicking off with “The Man Behind The Drums,” Keen had the crowd singing along from the start. He dedicated a couple of tunes to the hapless Astros, including “The Great Hank,” a goofy parable about Hank Williams in drag and a certain Houston baseball team on the barroom TV. Keen’s from Houston, and he commiserated with long-suffering Astros fans by offering up a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”
Keen’s wire-taut road band, led by sizzling guitarist Rich Brotherton, supported brawny new arrangements for Keen classics “Corpus Christi Bay” and “Dreadful Selfish Crime,” then slowed it down for a singalong version of “Merry Christmas From The Family.” Then they wound up the short concert (about 35-40 minutes) with the one-two punch of “Gringo Honeymoon” and of course “The Road Goes On Forever.”
Keen tipped his cowboy hat to the crowd then retired to the concourse to sign autographs. Nice way to the end the baseball season … that is, if network TV is the closest you’re getting to the playoffs.