“I went to see Elliott Smith last summer at the Sunset Junction Street Fair. He had not played a show in about a year, and he came on stage with a beer in hand, seeming a little out of it. He sat down and started playing some new songs he had written, which sounded really good, but the audience wanted to hear their old favorites. So when the requests for songs off “either/or” and his self titled album were being shouted to him, he attempted to play some.
The problem was that he had not practiced these songs for months (probably longer), so he had forgotten the guitar and the words for most of them. People in the crowd were telling him lyrics when he paused (he always said thank you), but for most of the songs he had to just stop halfway through. He was quite embarrassed and actually turned around and walked off stage after this happened the first couple of times. But after much cheering from the crowd and coercion from him backstage friends, he braved it back on. The audience reassured him that they all loved him anyway, even if he couldn’t remember his songs, and he continued to try. He was very shy and polite, I really felt sorry for the guy, he seemed so embarrassed. It was interesting to see the humanity of one of my favorite musicians.”