Prophet began his career in the 1980s with desert psych-rockers Green on Red; Temple Beautiful is his 12th solo studio album. He took the stage in skinny black jeans, a shirt and black vest, a bandanna, and hair halfway between spiked and tousled, a perfect embodiment of his hybrid of Gram Parsons’ Cali-country and Lou Reed-style gritty urban poetry.
Prophet charged through tight versions of smart Temple Beautiful numbers "Willie Mays Is Up at Bat" (an homage to the "Say Hey" Kid), "White Night, Big City" (to Harvey Milk) and a sing-along on the title track (named for the defunct punk club in what was previously Jim Jones’ People’s Temple).
Prophet’s sung-spoken vocals and knifing guitars were complemented by his backing band, particularly his wife, Stephanie Finch, whose organ riffs and backing vocals provided a girl-group shimmy, and James DePrato, whose electric 12-string (part of a nifty double-necked guitar), added sun-dappled sheen.
Back-catalog selections demonstrated Prophet’s enduring talent — "Sonny Liston’s Blues" featured the line "It’s gonna take an aspirin; take one as big as my own head" — as well as his inconsistency ("You Did [Bomp Shooby Dooby Bomp]" was schlocky).
Throughout, Prophet worked the crowd, asking, "Can we send [WXPN DJ] David Dye around to freshen up anyone’s drink?" while pitching, to any fan who bought 1,000 CDs, "sex with anybody in the band … except Stephanie." Then he led a sped-up, rocked-out cover of Springsteen’s "For You," proving that San Francisco’s not the only city he’s got a way with.