Where: Ovens Auditorium, Charlotte, NC
When: July 2, 2011
During the almost three years I have spent blogging about music, I have always thought that I had what it takes to be somewhat unbiased in my concert reviews. I mean, I clearly like the bands I see, but I’d like to think I have a clarity that allows me to see if a band is really legit or just smoke and mirrors in their live set.
Unfortunately, after seeing David Gray this past Saturday, I am not quite so certain I have it in me anymore.
In thinking about this show, swooning is the only thing that comes to mind. I can tell you that the venue was different than what I was used to; it was in a concert hall instead of the beer bottle flanked, graffiti filled bar of my usual shows, and people sat down the majority of the set instead of shoving in to get closer to the band. But other than that, I didn’t note much more about the event. I sort of moved into my own little world of awe shortly after the opening number.
I went to this show with 3 friends, Jill, Kate and Mark and while all of us girls were in a dreamy haze post concert, all my friend Mark could say was “I liked it but I didn’t love it.” Then I remembered all of the men sitting around us, impatiently shifting in their seats. I even overheard one guy saying “He better pick it up or I am going to fall asleep.” This was so strange to me because I could have lived in that hour and a half forever.
So I am admitting it; I am such a girl. Sing me a sweet love song in a British accent and I lose all sense of reason. There, now that is out of the way and we have established that this is a completely biased review by a woman who lets her emotions get the best of her, we can proceed. Just know that this review could be complete hooey.
Because he writes primarily about love, it came as no surprise that Mr. Gray did a wonderful job capturing that feeling in his show. It was warm and vibrant. Funny and sweet. And most of all, it was beautiful.
I loved the lamp-lit stage and how dashing all of the band members looked in their suits. (That probably accounted for a good bit of the swooning.)
He played 21 songs that spanned his almost 20 year career. There were the obvious crowd favorites like “Babylon” and “The One I Love,” but I was most taken with “Kathleen” and his 10-minute version of “Nemesis.” You could tell that he liked playing all of his songs, even the ones he’s played hundreds of times, but it was evident that he loved playing “Nemesis.”
“I wish all (songs) were like that one,” Gray said. “I can’t put a price on the dawning.”
And that’s all you can ask for in a singer/songwriter: to have a passion that is so palpable that their love of a song alone sells you on its merits. And for David Gray, it worked. “Nemesis,” which I only liked before the show has turned into my favorite of his songs.
And I must mention my disappointment that he didn’t play my absolute favorite of his songs, “Shine” (It’s one of my Top 10 favorite songs of all time), but it was a long shot and ultimately it didn’t take away from the concert.
Only the Wine
Draw the Line
My Oh My
The One I Love
A New Day at Midnight
Flame Turns Blue
Morning of My Live (BeeGees cover)
Ain’t No Love
Here are some videos from the show. I’ve had some serious problems trying to upload “Nemesis” because it is so long, but I have all of the other videos on my YouTube channel if you’d like to check them out. www.youtube.com/CharlotteBeth84
Flame Turns Blue