Guess who?

Bruce is taking a break from writing his epistles to the Renoites so we hauled out this nostalgic May 15, 1996 Neon for one more printing.

A remarkable woman steamrolled me last summer during a most memorable evening. I’d like to tell you about it.

I was attending what’s known as a confab these days, a gathering of radio people in Boulder, Colo. There were about 200 X-radio types there, getting all greasy with ideas and theories and high level schmoozing. It was the first night and the lot of us were hanging hard at a place called the Fox Theater, awaiting the start of showcase Number One.

The radio faction had just done some serious damage to the American Express cards of the record companies, and now we had to go to work, since there are no free dinners. In this case, work consisted of more free cocktails, more schmoozing and intense band bombardment. Five new groups were scheduled to give it their best shot for 30-40 minutes in hopes of blowing us radioids away to the point where we would all run home in a tizzy, play the CDs of the artists enough to inspire consumers to consume, and thereby enable the record companies to pay off the brutal food and liquor bills inflicted by the radioids at confab. Is this a great country or what?

She was third on the bill. I was anticipating her appearance, since her album—which had been released six months earlier—was one of the best new disks of ’95. The rest of the country had been slow to get behind her music because many radio programmers are kinda deaf, but that was about to change.

She came with her band, and you could sense her charisma immediately. Dressed in a full-length, semi-hippie kind of dress, she had long, wavy hair and a full, shapely body that could be described as ample. This was a Serious Hunk of Woman up there, and I mean that with the greatest respect and admiration. Not a sappy throwback to the ’60s, but a husky, powerful hybrid of Janis Joplin, Marianne Faithful and Heather Locklear. A badass Gaian white witch, her laptop full of songs and spells.

On her third tune, she let it loose and made it fly, singing with considerable force, and moving to her music with a national free flowing, undeniable grind that had every body in this place, regardless of gender, getting all itchy and steamy the way great rock ’n’ roll can. It was proud, it was righteous, and it was hotter than Satan’s bubble bath.

Even the dimmest dim bulbs knew right then and there that Joan Osborne was going to break on through, and that “One of Us” was the song that was going to do the breaking.