August 22, 2008 – 6:53 am

We’re back with another Linda Ronstadt performance, this time later in her career. About nine months before George W convinces the world that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

Berger Center 2002 [no label, 1CD]

Live at Berger Center for Performing Arts, Tucson, Arizona, June 13, 2002. An FM stereo broadcast.

“In years past, I’ve always made an effort to make sure my arrangements sounded exactly like the record but I don’t care about that anymore. Whatever song I still like to sing, I’m really happy to put it back together again with different instrumentation and see what we find in it.”

If you listen to this performance, there’s a huge “sigh” wafting about. Like regret. Linda Ronstadt’s voice is much richer and fuller. It’s still very strong. At the same time, she probably won’t be using it to sing her ’80s hits too often. The Linda Ronstadt now is vastly different from the hot-pants pop queen of the late ’70s. Not just in appearance but in attitude. It’s worth noting her insouciance from that famous 2004 show at the Aladdin Theatre in Las Vegas.

Towards the end of her performance, as she had done across the country, Ronstadt spoke to the audience, praising Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore’s documentary film about the Iraq War, and dedicated the song “Desperado” to Moore.

Accounts say the crowd’s initial reaction was mixed, with “half the crowd heartily applauding her praise for Moore, (and) the other half booing”. However, the situation escalated into what Tyri Squyres, director of public relations at the Aladdin, described as a “mob scene… It’s amazing how ugly it got,” with people walking out, tearing down posters, throwing drinks and demanding a refund.

Following the concert, news accounts reported that Ronstadt was “evicted” from the hotel premises. Ronstadt claimed she wasn’t physically taken off stage but was ordered by Aladdin staff to wait to speak with Aladdin President Bill Timmins. She claims to have refused to wait and to have left, and later remarked that while Aladdin staff attempted to detain her, she thought, “Or they were going to make me start writing on a chalkboard or read me my Miranda rights?” Later she said, “Apparently… (the Aladdin)… called up one of the people that was traveling with us and went, ‘She’s talking about Michael Moore, and this is a place for entertainment, not politics’.” - Wikipedia

She has since regretted the manner in which it all came out. Last year she said “If I had to do it over I would be much more gracious to everyone… you can be as outspoken as you want if you are very, very respectful. Show some grace.”

Without exception, none of the songs at this Tucson concert are political. But in Ronstadt’s hands there’s always the pushing against the narrative to draw upon imagination to see something more. Hobo’s Meditation is as fresh and relevant as when Jimmy Rodgers first sang it. Ronstadt is 62. She grew up in the so-called Age of Aquarius, saw the Vietnam War, etc. You have to wonder how all that has touched her and what other meaning she brings to her interpretations. When she sings Tom Petty’s The Waiting, it’s like her generation’s still waiting for that “change” to come.

It’s just hard to imagine Britney Spears at 62 singing like this. Madonna at 50 is a hopeless parody of herself.

For the record, Ronstadt’s past couple of albums have all been more or less standards. It’s not what she’s singing, it seems to be how she’s singing them. Show some grace.
- The Little Chicken

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality stereo MP3s - sample rate of 192 kibit/s). As far as we can ascertain, this recording has never been officially released.

These tracks are no longer available for sharing.

Feels Like Home [Randy Newman]
High Sierra
Hobo’s Meditation [Jimmy Rodgers]
Lover’s Return [The Carter Family]
If I Should Fall Behind [Bruce Springsteen]
Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues [Bob Dylan]
Telling Me Lies [Linda Thompson]
The Waiting [Tom Petty]

Linda Ronstadt - vocals
Sam Bush - mandolin
Jon Randall Stewart - gtr
Byron House - bs
Chris White - drms

Linda Ronstadt’s Americana album was deep in Cajun country. Adieu False Heart was a duet album with Ann Savoy of Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band. Sam Bush guested as well. You can buy it here.

  1. 11 Responses to “LIVING IN THE U.S.A.”

  2. Thank you so much for this, I have wanted to hear this show since the day it happened. This is Linda at her best singing in english. I always wished she did a whole tour of this show with Sam Bush, but then we got Adieu False Heart, which is a gift I would never give back. A true classic, but don’t expect to leave it feeling on cloud 9, unless beautifully sad music can get you there…it can me. Maybe I should take a look at that…anyone who does not have Adieu, do yourself a favor and buy it. Unless you are looking for a party…

    By Henry Puck on Aug 22, 2008

  3. amazing!!!

    By J.P. on Aug 23, 2008

  4. This is such a great show!! Thanks sooo much for posting. Have listened to it many times. Still loving it

    By Chris on Apr 5, 2012

  5. Hey, BigO — I have seen a few of Linda’s shows posted on here from time to time — I was wondering if you have anything from the era I consider to be her best period. Not to say that projects she did that followed these were BAD, it’s just that the stuff from this era were my personal favorites…

    As a kid, my sister used to listen to her primarily during the Stone Ponies days, when she was doing such songs as “That’ll Be the Day,” “You’re No Good,” “Blue Bayou,” “When Will I Be Loved,” “Tumbling Dice,” “It’s So Easy” and “Long, Long Time” among others.

    DO you have anything from that era? I’d love to hear some of that stuff again, especially performed live…

    By Jerry Dunaway on May 20, 2012

  6. Thank you so much for the Linda!

    By Paul on May 25, 2013

  7. hello thanx a lot you made my day. track 7 is not working, can you fix it ? thanx again

    By stephane on Sep 14, 2016

  8. THANK YOU for reuploading it. This is a wonderful acoustic show, i love it. THANXXXXXXXXXXX

    By stephane on Sep 17, 2016

  9. Please re-open this show!!!

    By Colleen on Oct 22, 2017

  10. Re-Upload this show!! Please!!

    By Leslie on Mar 12, 2018

  11. Adds to the others requesting a re-upload of this show - would be eternally grateful :-)

    By Alyn on May 31, 2018

  12. Adding my name, would be wonderful if you could re-upload this show! :)

    By Jim on Jul 12, 2019

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