In October of 1998, Lou Barlow was having a going away party at the Green Street Grille in Cambridge, MA. That night, there was a show, hosted by the late Billy Ruane, a champion of the Boston music scene for decades whose escapades are worthy of the term ‘legendary’. What made this night special was that this show would feature an acoustic performance from recent Oscar nominee Elliott Smith who spent many years touring & performing with Bostonian, close friend and fellow songwriter Mary Lou Lord.
Thanks to Mary Lou, this never before seen footage of the show, captured by Jody Urbati-Moore and Mark Ventola, was unearthed and digitized over the last few days. The quality isn’t the greatest, but for archival purposes and the many fans of Elliott’s out there, it’s more than satisfactory. Though it might actually be considered one of Elliott’s less technically-proficient shows (he constantly forgets words, drops cues and stops songs before starting), it has a warmth and depth that reflects more of what I would call “the real Elliott”. There’s simply zero artifice to him on this night.
I cannot thank Mary Lou enough for sharing this set with the world, one featuring acoustic versions of “Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands”, “Waltz #2” and “I Didn’t Understand” on acoustic guitar.
Wherever you are Elliott & Billy, I hope you’re having a round for the rest of us. You are so loved and so missed. God bless you all and Merry Christmas .