It’s only life after all: Indigo Girls talk Thursday’s show in Waukegan, upcoming documentary
As Emily Saliers and Amy Ray close in on 40 years pulling heartstrings musically as the Grammy-winning folk-rock duo Indigo Girls, it’s clear it’s a challenge wrapping one’s brain around the scope of that career.
“You don’t really take stock of it in the same way unless you watch a documentary about yourself,” Saliers said. “And you’re like, holy cow, we have been doing this a long time together.”
Fortunately, the documentary “It’s Only Life After All” premiered at Sundance in January, giving the band and fans a sense of perspective on the group’s last four decades together.
The duo’s 2020 release “Look Long,” touring for which was derailed by the early days of COVID-19, and the documentary are part of the driving force bringing the band for a musical performance at Waukegan’s Genesee Theatre Thursday night.
“It’s weird to watch it on the screen. I may have watched one too many times, because you start watching and then you’re like, I could have said this or I could have done this with my life,” Saliers joked. “But it was really well received. And it was exciting to be at Sundance. It was quite an honor.”
The documentary, the brainchild of director Alexandria Bombach, includes hours of footage and recordings Ray turned over to Bombach, diving back into the group’s early years. It’s currently making the rounds at festivals and will be available on streaming services later this year.
“We were asked by Alexandria. … And we met her and we liked her and we trusted her. And so we said yes,” Saliers said. “It was barely a pitch, more a conversation. And we were like, ‘You’re awesome. And you’re a great director.’ She won Best Director at Sundance for a documentary she did before called “On Her Shoulders.” So we knew she was a boss.”
Saliers said one of the best things about the longevity of the band’s career is seeing how their music has affected and inspired listeners over the years, and in turn watching how those listeners pass it along to a new generation.
“We just love our fans so much. They’re so supportive of the issues that we support, they give, and they come to the show, and they sing. It’s just really joyful. I feel like we kind of all grew up together,” Saliers said. “The cool thing that’s happening is that some of the original fans bring their kids, and even those kids are having kids. Just to see the audience expand like that, to have it feel intergenerational, is the best thing ever.”
The Indigo Girls performance Thursday will include singalongs to old favorites and some of the songs off “Look Long” as Saliers and Ray play with a full band, featuring violinist and collaborator Lyris Hung. Kevn Kinney (of rock band Drivin N Cryin) will open for the set.
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When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan; geneseetheatre.com