Our call time kept getting pushed back, but I had been on set since 11am and had to rush to Union Station, where Mimi’s train would arrive, late. She’s easy to spot, the outrageous red head in a crop top and platforms smoking a cigarette. I wave, and she drags all three suitcases to the loading zone where I’m parked and waiting. When she gets in the passenger seat, I smell booze and perfume and I have never been more happy to see her. But we are in a hurry.
Fast forward ten minutes to my apartment where we are taking turns at the mirror, applying makeup and changing in and out of our party dresses, hurriedly in and out of the bathroom with our hair in pincurls and glasses of wine. She’s mostly naked, drunk and pulls my roommate’s turtle out of its aquarium and tries to kiss it. When Jason shows up, her mouth is bleeding and she shakes his hand and covers her breasts with the other.
A rushed cocktail stop at the Dresden, then we head to the Greek Ampitheatre. Jenny Lewis is playing “The Next Messiah” while we find our seats. I’ve seen Jenny perform multiple times but never as the headlining act. Tonight she’s opening for Steve Earle and the Levon Helm band, backed up by her boyfriend Johnathan Rice and friends. As usual, her performance is flawless.
Here we are drinking our expensive beers in between acts. I love the Greek Theatre because it doesn’t feel like L.A. In fact you have to drive through a residential area of the park to get there, where it is nestled amongst the lush and piney greens. It smells like being a forest, and for a minute, we can almost believe we’re deep in the heart of Dixie and not above greater Los Angeles.
Levon Helm’s opening song, “Ophelia”.
Here’s “The Weight” with special guests, Steve Earle and Harry Dean Stanton.
Sadly, there are no YouTube videos of the show’s closing number, “I Shall Be Released”, which brought us all to our feet, tears to our eyes and a collective wave of chills over the entire amphitheater.