Review of Aladdin Theater show with Marc Cohn and Rebecca Pidgeon

Rebecca Pidgeon. Now, here’s a weird thing. Rebecca is an actor. She studied at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (I’m not sure if that’s as good as it sounds, but it does sound good, does it not) and has appeared in numerous movies. I recognize her, though I didn’t Saturday. She was too far away and my eyes are not what they once were, but when I got home and looked her up on the Net, I recognized her. I even confess to my heart skipping a beat now and again during her screen performances. But I am glad I did not know that Saturday night. To my mind, she was another musician waif, struggling to be heard in a din of white noise and I listened with that in mind.

When she walked out on stage, she seemed almost lost, walking in small and mincing steps. There was no sense of self-confidence or bravado— no “How ya doin’, Portland” with a casual wave of the hand. She picked up her guitar tentatively and stepped up to the mike (her guitarist, Tim Young, on the other hand went straight to his guitar and amp and plugged in as if he belonged) as if she was not really supposed to be there and was on the verge of being caught. Little did I know it was a ploy. She introduced herself with a few humorous quips, plucked a few strings and laid her first song out for dissection. It was a good song. A really good song, perfect for breaking the ice for herself and for her audience. She has such a soft and breathy voice, I wrote in my notebook, and a feel for the music. She would have that same breathy voice throughout her five or six song set except for the too few moments when she rared back that lovely little head and gave the audience what for and during those moments, I was in love. With the voice. With the girl. With the song. Between songs, she bantered with the crowd. Cohn fans, I was slowly finding out, are vocal and inclusive. Did they know who she was? Did they know about her acting career? Not all of them, or maybe they did and, like myself, just did not equate the two or maybe just didn’t recognize the name. Had they seen her on TV, they may have known.

Would it have made the show better for them? I think not. Rebecca was in charge and the crowd was more than willing to go along and perhaps knowing her would have gotten in the way. Regardless, she (and Tim) played a set that kept building right to the last and had the crowd’s total attention. No rousing or standing ovation, though I think she had earned it. Well, there was this one lady who stood and in my mind I stood right next to her, but the applause was mainly polite. The crowd, I think, just did not understand what they has just seen and heard. I loved it.

The highlight, besides that last song, had to be when Rebecca introduced Tim as THE Tim Young and then altered the introduction to include him as member of the band— Rebecca Pidgeon & The Tim Young, as if he was a band in himself. I laughed hard. I got it. I got it because he was the band. Whereas Rebecca plays solid acoustic guitar and has this beautiful voice (and writes damn fine songs), The Tim Young laid down licks almost worthy of a Lester Quitzau in their simplicity and aptness to the song. If you don’t know who Quitzau is, you don’t know how much of a compliment that is. Not only that, but Young’s voice blended perfectly with Pidgeon’s. Right after Rebecca said it, I knew that was how I will always remember him. The Tim Young. Well done, Mr. Young.