The singer-songwriter best identified with Austin, Texas has packed a lot of living into his 65 years, and his performance on Sunday night at Steel Stacks in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, one of the most breathtaking venues east of Red Rocks in Colorado, was superb.
With Brian Standefer on cello and Sean Giddings on keyboards, Escovedo's songs ranged from Tex-Mex ballads to blues to a feedback-infused instrumental jam to a rockingly wonderful show-closing cover of Mott the Hoople's "All the Young Dudes," which had the crowd on its feet and singing along (off-key and badly, but no matter.)
Escovedo remains unabashedly political. In 2005, when his song "Castanets" appeared on George W. Bush's iPod, he announced that he would never play it again. (Which he didn't for several years.) He made several trenchant references to Donald Trump in the course of the evening, and introduced a Mexican ballad by noting that he wouldn’t be able to sing the song in Spanish once Trump built his border wall.