Category: "Music: Concerts and Events"

Guster Live 7/26/2006 w/ Ray LaMontagne

July 27th, 2006

I saw a great concert last night at The Meadow Brook Music Festival. I missed the opening act (The Fruit Bats) so I cannot speak to how well their set went, but saw all of Ray LaMontagne and Guster.

This was my first time hearing anything by Ray LaMontagne, which was cool. It was nice to hear an artist's work for the first time live for a change. Going in I knew very little about him. The best lead I had suggested a comparison to Van Morrison. I would not agree with the comparison, but his gritty voice did remind me some of the new Gomez album. I am still not convinced that my comparison is any more accurate than Van Morrison, but it was the best I could come up with when I wondered whose voice I thought sounded so familiar to Ray LaMontagne's.

Some of the songs he played were very good. I think I will check out his album Trouble for at least a second listen. I think my favorite was Forever My Friend (lyrics).

The Guster set was great. They are so much fun live. I have not seen them on in 4-5 years, so I was a bit worried that with this new record deal (and this fourth band member?!?) that things would be different, and not for the better. I am not a huge fan of their latest album Ganging Up On The Sun, but went to the show with an open mind. I was overwhelmingly pleasantly surprised. Not only did the songs from the new album sound better live, but Guster played many of their older songs. Too many bands today will tour solely to promote their latest album and play only the new songs during the primary set and then play one or two old favorites during the encore set. Guster rocked the (unfortunately relatively unpacked) house with hits new and old from the moment they came out on stage. Ryan's distinct voice really is made for the stage. He projects so well for sounding like somewhat of a dork (sorry...).

Guster seems to just have fun on stage. When the band appears to be having such a great time performing, the show is that much better. They're funny, though not too much so. Some bands get up and try a little too hard, but Guster knew its boundaries. They spent about an hour and a half on stage. That included their main set and essentially two encores. They bring a ton of energy on stage and leave you completely entertained (and not just from Brian's bongo drumming).

Check out the remaining tour dates for a show near you.

Pictures from the show are available here. I do apologize in advance for the Guster pics. I only took a few because they were turning out so poorly. The stage was backlit which was not good lighting for me from where we sat. (At least not for what little I know how to use my camera for.) (Luckily?) it was still light out when Ray LaMontagne was on stage.

O.A.R. Live 7/14/2006

July 17th, 2006

I had the pleasure of attending the O.A.R. concert at the Meadow Brook Music Festival over the weekend. O.A.R. was appearing with special guest Jack's Mannequin. Due to extenuating circumstances we, unfortunately, were late to the show and missed that act and a song or two of O.A.R.'s set.

O.A.R. @ Meadow Brook Music Festival

Unless they started with a few amazing songs that we missed, I am underwhelmed overall by the playlist for the night. Sure they played Crazy Game of Poker, which was the highlight of the evening, but they reached into their bag of tricks and pulled out some lesser songs to play. That and a ONE-SONG ENCORE were my main gripes with the concert. They played Love and Memories for the lone encore song, which would be expected..., along with two other songs. Are the days of the three-song encore long gone? Has it been that long since my last concert?

O.A.R. is not a show you got to if you want to be wildly entertained by outrageous acts by audience members or constant quirky interaction amongst band members, but they do have a full host of great songs. I just wish they had played more of the better songs.

As is the cookie-cutter venue design, Meadow Brook is set up in pavilion with lawn seats. We had pavilion seats, which was nice since we had to show up late. It rained pretty steadily through most of the show which was great for the people on the lawn and in the last 10 (or so) rows in the pavilion (which included us). I am not being sarcastic with that. It actually added a common bond among concert-goers apart from an appreciation for the band. Now we all like O.A.R. and we are soaking wet, let's enjoy the show! Ok, so I am not explaining it very well, but it was fun.

The show was a lot of fun. I am very glad we were able to go. If you are interested in the pictures I took at the show, go HERE.