Friday, July 8, 2011
Carrie Akre Sings Her Goodbyes
After so many years of saying hello from the stage, Carrie Akre sure knew how to say goodbye, as well. With the help of some friends, last night's sendoff at the Crocodile was more than poignant, more than memorable... it was a great, great night of music.
Seattle's Princess of Rock (Ann Wilson will always be Queen) has taken a job in Minneapolis. Her house is packed up, and presumably she's on the road this weekend. Once you get past the eyebrow-raising fact that one of the greatest voices and songwriters in Northwest rock history has a day job (such is life), the idea of such a fixture, such a backbone being gone is a hard pill to swallow.
Last night made it a bit easier, and a bit harder, to wash that pill down.
Her musical cohorts, admirers and quasi-protegees came out in full force, of course. Those on stage included Amy Stolzenbach, Sean Bates, Rachel Flotard, Mark Pickerel, the fabulous Friel brothers, Danny Newcomb... I lost count.
After Hammerbox and Goodness, Akre boldly launched a genre-crossing solo career that revealed the true, vast extent of her talent. Last night's show seemed to not only remind of us of what we'll be missing, it reminded us of Akre's many facets: soulful singer-songwriter, duet balladeer, ass-kicking rocker.
The show began emotionally — Akre came out early to sing with one of her heir apparents, stunning opener Star Anna — and finished on a raucous, yet even more emotional note. In between were amazing duets with Flotard, Jared Clifton, Matt Gervais... the Friels and Kim Virant came out to sing "Thank You For Being A Friend." Tears were shed. Then Goodness reunited, with Rick Friel added on bass. The place went nuts for an indeterminable duration. Akre sang her heart out, — as she always has — shed some more tears, signed some autographs, and then was gone.
I broke one of my rules and got an autograph, it seemed like the thing to do. I hadn't seen Carrie in several years, and it's been a decade since my only interview with her. But she remembered me immediately. That's the kind of performer Akre is — thoughtful, funny, brilliant, generous. We'll see Carrie Akre again in Seattle - on tour, on vacation, whatever. But it is an end of an era. Akre wasn't part of the community's fabric, she was part of its stitching, a stitch that has flowed through two decades of music here.
Much more could be written today, but last night was the perfect "Aloha," saying all that needed to be said.
- Steve Stav