Dawes Leaves NY’s Capitol Theatre in Awe

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Dawes – The Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY (July 14, 2016)

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The best part of doing this blog is the fact that I am always being introduced to new music and new bands I ordinarily would not hear if I was just a casual radio listener.  Last January, I attended country super group, Zac Brown Band’s Mexican Music Festival known as “Castaway With Southern Ground”.  On that bill was a number of acts spanning multiple genres of music.  One such band was Dawes, a band I had never heard of at the time.  I did my due diligence getting to know each of the acts appearing Castaway and was more than pleasantly surprised with what I heard from Dawes.  Not only have their four LPs now become some of my most used records, but they have become one of my truly favorite bands in all of music today.  When I heard they were coming to my area and playing the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, NY, I did not hesitate in the least.

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And not unlike what I witnessed in Mexico back in January, Dawes set off like a bullet out of a gun with the rousing I Can’t Think About It Now and never looked back.  It was great to see the entire theater at max capacity, with the crowd singing and even, at times, jumping up and down, to the alternative rock/folk tunes that make Dawes seem so very authentic.  I had a friend with me who was relatively new to their music, but came along because of how much I’ve been talking about them.  And when Duane Betts ripped into his first of numerous solo’s on his electric guitar on that first song, his eyebrows went up and simply stated, “oh wow”.

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And that expression really summed up the entire night as each song seemed to turn into its own rock show as all five members of the band showcased their incredible musicianship with Taylor Goldsmith controlling the forefront with his impeccable vocals, unstoppable energy, as well as impressive bouncing skills while ripping the guitar.  Songs such as If I Wanted Someone, Things Happen, Fire Away, and Most People were full on sing-a-longs, while others were complete jam outs admist the original lyrics of the song (Now That It’s Too Late, Maria seemed to turn into a fifteen minute song).  The brothers Goldsmith, Griffin and Taylor, took to the forefront for two passionate acoustic songs, highlighted by the beautiful Take Me Out Of The City. And the entire crowd erupted when the anthemic When My Time Comes (which was recently featured for the NBA Draft) was performed with vigor and zeal.

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However, the true highlight of the night, was during A Little Bit Of Everything, which was introduced by Taylor exclaiming “…it’s a weird time right now, but it is times like these that remind us that we love each other a lot.  We are all on the same team!”  The song spoke to the truths of love, heartbreak, and all the feelings you encounter in life.  Taylor sang the song almost with a preaching tone that made the message all that more effective.  And when the band ended the spectacular set with All Your Favorite Bands, another song with a hopeful message, it was clear this band called Dawes is one of the most authentic and talented today’s music has.  They have won me over as a fan and, I am sure, if you were in the building last night, you understood the brilliance that this band has achieved as well.

IMG_0083SETLIST:

  1. I Can’t Think About It Now
  2. If I Wanted Someone
  3. Things Happen
  4. Somewhere Along The Way
  5. Bear Witness
  6. My Girl To Me
  7.  Fire Away
  8. From A  Window Seat
  9. Now That It’s Too Late, Maria
  10. How Far We’ve Come
  11. Take Me Out of the City
  12. From the Right Angle
  13. A Little Bit of Everything
  14. When My Time Comes
  15. Most People
  16. All Your Favorite Bands

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The Garth Brooks Yankee Stadium Rain Delay Experience

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GARTH BROOKS – YANKEE STADIUM, NYC (July 9, 2016)

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After years and years of hearing about how amazing Garth Brooks was as a live performer, I made my way into the Bronx on Saturday afternoon bracing myself for a once in a lifetime experience.  When all was said and done at 2 a.m., my feelings were certainly mixed, mostly due to the unfortunate and confusing three plus hour rain delay.  However, there is simply no way I could overlook the performance and spectacle that Garth put forth late into the night.

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I got to my seat at approximately 8:15, just fifteen minutes before he was supposed to get on stage.  I had just had an amazing dinner at NYY Steak and was feeling like the evening was set up perfectly to be a memorable experience.  With a light drizzle in the air, the last thing I was thinking about was a delay.  Even at 9:15, more than forty five minutes after the start time, with the entire Stadium seating filled to capacity, we all thought it was just a matter of time.  But, then, the stage crew began to come out with tarps and plastic to fill the giant sized circle stage extension and we all began to fear there was a delay, despite there being no announcement.  Finally, after 10 pm, more than one hour and a half from the start time, with still just a drizzle (if that) in the air, the Stadium announced we were in a rain delay.  Most were furious, including me, that it took this long to make the announcement, but more so that they could have gotten most of the show in already.  What was worse, was they cleared the pit and floor area, and alcohol sales ended.  The scene within the Stadium was angry, tired, and anxious.

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Finally at about 11 pm, we were allowed back to our seats.  It had rained extremely hard during the 10 to 11 pm hour, but that did not make anyone feel better about the situation.  At midnight (yes, freaking midnight), Garth finally took to the stage.  There was simply no energy from the crowd at that point as people half heartedly clapped when he came out.  I was expecting some dramatic entrance, but instead Garth just walked out and apologized for the wait.  But then something unexpected happened, song by song he won back the crowd and energized the iconic Stadium deep into the night air.

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From Rodeo to Two Pina Coladas to That Summer, it was clear Garth was going to do everything he could to salvage the night.  He moved from side to side of the huge stage and even used the slick circle extension a few times.  He told the crowd he was not going to be able to do some of the performance runs like he usually did (another bummer due to the rain), but all in all it was clear he was born to perform.  And the crowd was in the palm of his energetic hands by the eighth song of the night as the huge screens flashed lighting and rumbled thunder as he put forth an amazing rendition of the epic Thunder Rolls, with the hidden verse included (to the crowd’s delight).  From there on, the crowd was up and standing, singing, and dancing in unison.

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He claimed that they were “making up the setlist as they went along”, but that was hardly true as it very much mirrored the night before, despite some changes and crowd requests.  One such change from the previous night was my favorite Garth song of all time, “Much Too Young (Too Feel This Damn Old)”.  The twang of his voice echoed in the Stadium and truly made me appreciate not only the mastery of his performance style, but the perfection of his voice in a Stadium, at that.  Halfway through the show, his wife Trisha Yearwood came out to perform a five song set.  The crowd went crazy when they shared an embrace at the end of In Another’s Eyes, but her solo performances of How Do I Live and She’s In Love With the Boy got two of the biggest responses from the fans all night.  Her mid show set was a great change of pace and I got a new found respect for Trisha as a performer as well.

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The true climax of the show occurred with the three songs before the rather forgettable encore, consisting of a bombastic Callin’ Baton Rouge, followed an epic sing-a-long Friends In Low Places and concluding with the heartfelt The Dance.  No three songs may say more about Garth Brooks’ career in terms of the depth, reach, diversity, and passion he has for his music.  After those three songs it really sunk in to me that I was seeing one of the best performers I’ve ever seen in the 500 or so concerts I have seen.

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The encore was a mixed bag for me as I felt his best songs were already performed and it was so late (1:45 in the AM) I was beginning to expire.  He ended the night with a Billy Joel cover of Piano Man followed by Standing Outside the Fire which included five minutes worth of fireworks, which seemed unnecessary due to it being 2 am. However, all in all, I am glad I waited out the annoying rain delay because the show itself was indeed a spectacle and Garth is a world class performer.  But, I can’t help but feel like I was cheated out of the full Garth Brooks experience, but I guess that just means I will have to see him again in the future.

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SETLIST:

  1. Rodeo
  2. 2 Pina Coladas
  3. That Summer
  4. You Move Me
  5. The River
  6. We Shall Be Free
  7. Night Moves
  8. The Thunder Rolls
  9. Papa Loved Mama
  10. Unanswered Prayers
  11. Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)
  12. In Another’s Eyes (with Trish Yearwood)
  13. When Will I Be Loved (by Trish Yearwood)
  14. How I Live  (by Trish Yearwood)
  15. Georgia Rain  (by Trish Yearwood)
  16. She’s In Love With the Boy  (by Trish Yearwood)
  17. Shameless
  18. Callin’ Baton Rouge
  19. Friends In Low Places
  20. The Dance
  21. She’s Every Woman (Encore)
  22. It’s Your Song (Encore)
  23. If Tomorrow Never Comes (Encore)
  24. Wrapped Up In You (Encore)
  25. Piano Man (Encore)
  26. Standing Outside the Fire (Encore)

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