I was so excited to see Sophie B. Hawkins. I kept telling people that I was going to see her and they would say, “…Now who is that again..?” Then the obligatory bad singing (mine) would come next, me doing a verse from Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover and sometimes I needed to also do a bit of “As I Lay Me Down…” – that usually sealed the deal. Oddly, a few times people said—“Oh yes I love her, is she still married to Paul Simon?” or “Oh yeah…she was always barefoot and kneeling down…” ay yay yay…serisouly? No folks. Sophie B Hawkins is not Edie Brickell. Although I think they both did used to go barefoot a lot…
The first time I saw Sophie B. Hawkins was in 1996 in Irvine, Ca. She was part of a charity bill for KIIS FM that also included Kool & The Gang, Color Me Badd, The Spin Doctors and Cher, who by the way I have no memory of seeing. Not sure if I was trying to drink off Color Me Badd …but seriously I don’t remember seeing her.
What I do remember—and what has stuck with me all these years later was Sophie B. Hawkins sizzling performance. I joked for years afterward that I would leave my husband for her. There is just something about Sophie…and it transcends gender. It’s the same way that Jim Morrison, Michael Hutchence and Mick Jagger, for example, exude a sensual, passionate energy that you just can’t put your finger on — well OK, Jim Morrison’s leather helped — It’s not their looks, not even the voice; it’s some inner kind of Dionysian spirit oozing out of their very being. She’s got it.
I remember her passion-filled songs, tunes I’d never heard but thoroughly enjoyed. At points she seemed lost in the music, but completely connected to the audience. Other times she was writhing stage side to her own groove—always just belting out her soulful personal poetry.
Fast forward 14 years and here we are in the desert at one of the most beautiful outdoor venues one can hope for at Sage Court Amphitheater. When Sophie took the stage at a little after 9 p.m., the intimate crowd was on its feet. The temperature was perfect, the music was even better and Sophie still has it!
It was so great to hear some of her old songs, but even better were the newer tunes. I was not able to get a set list, so I can’t tell you the names of all the songs—but one in particular she played at the keyboard and said she’d play for all of us ladies 40 and over – it took my breath away.
At one point a young male fan named Christopher approached the stage and Sophie shared the mic with him—I think it was during As I Lay Me Down and he could really sing! It was a magical moment for him for sure—but for all of us too, and I suspect for Sophie who seemed genuinely delighted.
Her band was fun, engaged and in perfect synch — even though her drummer had never played with her before!
I was truly sorry that her show had to end—I know she had so much more she wanted to play, but time ran short. I certainly hope her warm reception in Phoenix brings her back soon and that she is back at Sage Court—it was a perfect fit, the lovely Sophie B. under the desert sky.
Check this out from her Web site…the passionate writings of Sophie B. on Phoenix:
Phoenix is bright; the air is thin and cool like an ice box open on a hot day. I’ve never seen such contrast, that’s what the desert does. Not all mixed, like the shore where everything tosses and slops together, where salt and water and sun and sand all stick to your skin and the air clings in moist familiar folds around you all day and night. The desert is a place of peace where a cactus is a cactus and a rabbit is a rabbit. A shadow is a shadow, perhaps coming out from under a rock and slinking around the saloon with the sun until they leave together for a very important meeting, and aint nobody’s business if they do.