Only two remaining episodes for "Live From Here" this season will emanate from the Twin Cities -- and one of them won't be hosted by Chris Thile. But he has found a more-than-able replacement for the March 16 show.
Jon Batiste, best known as the bandleader on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert," will fill in at the Fitzgerald Theater while Thile is playing with The Punch Brothers out east, guaranteeing that the Minnesota Public Radio-produced show will remain in the hands of an enthusiastic, versatile guide.
Thile will be at the helm on March 2 at the State Theatre, but the show continues to have less and less of a relationship with Minnesota, although Thile made sure to give a shout out to the state during Friday night's taping in Los Angeles (the episode will premiere in its regular time slot on MPR at 5 p.m. Saturday).
The fact that "Live" wasn't actually "live" seemed to give Thile and his guests lots of freedom and willingness to take risks. There were more collaborations than usual with Thile and Sara Watkins jamming with Jenny Lewis and Andrew Bird.
After the taping, the nearly sold-out crowd at the Wiltern Theater were treated to an abbreviated concert by Nickel Creek, the folk-pop band that helped put Thile on the map.
While those numbers won't be heard by radio listeners this weekend, don't be surprised if "Live From Here" eventually presents a special episode of "bonus" numbers that Thile leads after the broadcast ends.
Let's hope that collection includes Madison Cunningham and Sara Watkins' haunting cover of the Beach Boys' "Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)", which was stunning Friday, even as some Los Angelenos were heading for the door.