When singer-songwriters Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt book a concert tour as a duo, they travel light — just a couple of lanky guys with guitars, and a long list of songs that their fans love.
The fans heard some of their favorites Monday night during the duo's sold-out show at Green Music Center's 1,400-seat Weill Hall on the Sonoma State University campus in Rohnert Park.
Playing both old songs and new, each songwriter threw in some of his best: Hiatt's "Icy Blue Heart" and "Tennessee Plates"; Lovett's "Redneck Woman" and "Lights of L.A. County."
At one point Hiatt turned to Lovett and said, "We should co-write" a song. "Let's do it now," he added.
But they didn't. They did a duet, but it was Michael Franks' "White Boy Lost in the Blues."
The hall is known for its classical concerts, but this was a change of pace. Looking out on the world-class concert hall, Lovett drawled, "This whole place was made out of popsicle sticks" as a student project. Then he grinned and added it was a step up from the halls he played in Texas as a youth.
"I have seen Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt perform several times over the years both separately and together," said one fan, Pamela Joyce of Petaluma, before the show — her first visit to the Green Music Center. "No two shows are alike, there is no script."
Instead of backup from Lovett's fabled Large Band or any of Hiatt's hard-working bands of the past, the two stars only had each other, taking turns singing and maintaining a fairly steady stream of banter.
Lovett and Hiatt have known each other for nearly 30 years, but when they tour together, the only time they see each other is onstage, Lovett recently told an interviewer. So they take time during their shows to chat a little, and sometimes a lot.
"We make it look harder than it is," Hiatt quipped during Monday night's show.
Out in the lobby, one Santa Rosa fan said that both Hiatt and Lovett are good but together, they're great.
"I've seen them both several times, together and separately," Keith Young said. "I like them both, but I like together, because it's an interesting contrast in styles. Hiatt can play the madman sometimes, and Lovett can be the country gentleman."
You can reach Staff Writer Dan Taylor at 521-5243 or firstname.lastname@example.org. See his ARTS blog at http://arts.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.