Chris Isaak played a rainy Denver Botanic Gardens on Friday. - Reverb

Live review: Chris Isaak @ the Denver Botanic Gardens

Not many musicians can play cross-generational hopscotch quite like 55-year-old Chris Isaak.

Isaak, who played to a rain-soaked gaggle of glitterati at the Denver Botanic Gardens on Friday evening, is that rare performer who can stitch together a catalog that you, your parents and probably even your grandparents would all find wistfully redolent. In fact, Isaak did his best to uncork the Sun Records vault with a laudable assortment of covers from the likes of Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Wages and Johnny Cash.

As ambitious of a set-list as that would seem, it proved effortless for the Northern California native who came adorned in a vintage turquoise suit embellished with sequins. As expected, his vocal splendor (the intrepid hallmark of his success) was the one thing that sparkled brighter than his suit — and also kept his throwback threads from seeming too schmaltzy.

If that weren’t enough, Isaak’s own songs were basted in their own retro-glaze. “Somebody’s Crying” and “Don’t Leave Me On My Own,” from 1995’s Forever Blue, could have easily been plucked from a bygone era. But his own illustrious classic stood-out as a timeless gem — even as storm clouds hovered and umbrellas unfolded.

Doused by a summer squall that shuttered the crowd into a one-hour weather delay, “Wicked Game” should have been renamed “Wicked Rain.” After the monsoon subsided, Isaak resumed to his set with a positive twist on the weather that helped reward the die-hards who kept their seats during the mad scramble for shelter. Rifling through “Speak Of The Devil,” “Walkin’” and “Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing,” Isaak and his bandmates dried off the crowd with fiery charm and rockabilly vim. As a final tribute to a night of relic revival, Elvis’ “It’s Now Or Never” seemed the appropriate bid adieu.

Follow our news and updates on Twitter, our whereabouts on Foursquare and our relationship status on Facebook. Or send us a telegram.

Kris K. Coe is a freelance writer, Denver-native, and new contributor to Reverb.

Nathan Iverson is a Denver photographer and regular contributor to Reverb.

Share: