My wife and I were at the show last night at the Fillmore and loved the music but were flabbergasted by the refusal of Hope to allow herself to be illuminated in any realistic way. It was immensely disappointing not to be able to see her play and sing. We came expecting a truly special evening. We both love her music and couldn't wait to see her perform live for the first time. At first I thought it was part of some theatrical Grand Design, that at some special moment, she would finally reveal herself. But no. One song slid into another and nothing changed. When Hope experienced some sound troubles with the mic at the glockenspiel, she stopped the show and even interacted briefly with the audience, acknowledging that we were there. But still she remained in darkness, a silhouette, but nothing more. All night long, when fans implored her to turn on some light, she replied, "I can't hear you," or, "We can't hear you." It was very strange and sort of disheartening too. In this economy, making a decision to attend a concert is not one that's made so easily. For us, last night involved paying for a sitter, parking in SF, the tickets themselves, and a few $8.00-plus beers at the Fillmore. We honor the artist by spending our money and making the time to see the artist perform. If I wanted to play Hope's music in the dark, I can just as easily, and far more cheaply, do it in my own home. Going to see the artist with the expectation of experiencing the music live, is qualitatively, a different experience. And last night, sad to say, I think Hope refused to honor us, her fans, by acknowledging that distinction and that expectation. If it is an artistic decision, I believe it to be a very selfish one. By sharing so little on-stage, she makes me wonder why I should care too. I am sure that she, like any performing artist, understands that when you tour, the implicit understanding is that you are performing live so that you can be seen and heard, and not just heard. And, just so you know where I am coming from, as a San Franciscan, I also have a great deal of respect for the Fillmore. It is a sacred space when it comes to music. I believe that the other members of the band fully understood that. They played magnificently, with Hope and without her when they played their own set. During their own set, they were visible to the audience. During Hope's set, lights and imagery were projected on a screen at the rear of the stage. But no frontal lighting was used, keeping Hope and the band in darkness. If the argument might be made that the lights and imagery backlighting the band was sufficient, I would say, no, it wasn't. And having seen more bands and artists than I can really count at the Fillmore, and, in particular, psychedelic light shows going back to the early daze of The Dead, the Airplane and Pink Floyd, if that was going to be the main source of our visual attention, it wasn't enough. Hope is the artist, the focus of attention, the star. Hope was the reason for our attendance and our attention last night. And based on how she appeared, or in truth, didn't appear, it felt like she didn't want us to be there. Or that it really didn't matter to her. Take your pick. I still don't have the vaguest idea, and I know she is shy, but she has performed live many times. Heck! She even appeared on Letterman. A little light so that fans could see her is not something unique or alien to her experience. At the end of "Suzanne," we decided that, as much as we loved her music, we would rather spend our time with an artist who wanted us to see them perform, so we walked out and down Fillmore Street a half-block to a sweet little piano jazz and blues club called Sheba and ended our night watching some great singer we'd never heard before sing the blues. Happy that we were there to watch and listen. And us, happy to see and listen to someone who wanted to be seen and heard by her. Honestly, I think Hope and the band owe the fans who paid good money with the expectation of seeing them perform an apology, a make-up concert, or a refund. Any of those actions would change the sad feeling I have now. A feeling I have from the only concert I have ever been to in my life -- and I've been to a lot -- where the artist refused to be there too.