Lyle Lovett and Chris Isaak at the Santa Barbara Bowl

Lyle Lovett & His Large Band and Chris Isaak played the Santa Barbara Bowl on June 19th. This is the perfect pairing for a great summer tour. The show began with a coin toss, like you see in a football game, which included a "referee." It was still humorous to see, even though Isaak and his band’s equipment was already onstage. For the previous show at the Greek Theater two nights before, Lovett played first. Isaak and Lovett are just a year apart in age and each have a career spanning 40+ years. Isaak is more on the rockabilly side, while Lovett is more country. Each has released 12 studio albums. Both Lovett and Isaak have a number of acting credits, with more than 30 combined between the two. Isaak comes from Stockton, CA while Lovett’s hometown is Klein, TX. 

Isaak began the show in his sparkly blue suit and his band of around 37 years. Isaak is a link to the past, being called the Roy Orbison of the '90s and performing covers of Orbison, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley. Isaak brings that early Rock N’ Roll sound to the present day. Just like Lovett’s band, Isaak has a very classy band also dressed in suits. Isaak opened with "American Boy" not to be confused with the song by Estelle/Kanye West. Isaak followed with one of his biggest hits, “Somebody’s Crying.” The covers performed were “Dream Baby,” “Ring of Fire,” “Only the Lonely,” and “Can’t Help Falling In Love.” A good amount of the show was an acoustic part where Isaak and the band all sat down together. Isaak’s drummer Kenny Dale Johnson sang lead on “The Way Things Really Are.”  Another big hit performed was “Wicked Game,” and his set ended with “Baby Did a Bad Thing” combined with “Bye Bye Baby.” For the encore, Isaak changed into a reflective suit. He would return later during Lovett’s set.

Isaak is a 3-time MTV VMA winner, ASCAP Pop Music Award winner, and a 4-time California Music Award winner. In addition to TV, Isaak has appeared in eight films. Isaak has also been a judge on X Factor Australia. he even had his own series, The Chris Isaak Show, between 2001 and 2004. 

Lovett and His Large Band took the stage. Lovett’s band consists of 13 members and includes one the greatest rhythm sections in music history: bassist Leland Sklar and drummer Russ Kunkel. Both have been recording/performing with Lovett since the album Lyle Lovett and his Large Band (1989). Lovett released his new album 12th of June last month, which was his first release in a decade. Lovett opened with “Are We Dancing,” then left the stage as the band played “Cookin’ at the Continental,” an instrumental piece by The Horace Silver Quintet. Lovett then returned for “Pants is Overrated." Isaak then joined in for the next song and then Isaak’s whole band came out to sing backing after making it an extremely large band. Lovett closed with “Church.” 

Lovett is a 4-time Grammy winner and has received 17 nominations. He has recorded songs for over 25 Films and TV shows including True Blood, Major League I and II, Walk Hard, and Beverly Hills, 90210. Lovett is a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame inductee, received a lifetime achievement award from the National Reining Horse Association Hall of Fame, and also received an honorary degree from the University of Houston.