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Elton John w/Bright Light Bright Light
Parachute w/Matt Wertz & Mikey Wax
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Date: September 30, 2012
It’s rare that I like all the artists on a single bill but last night was an exception. I love all three artists that performed and was excited to see them all on the same stage. I came to Phoenix to see the show since I had Jason Mraz tickets the night it rolled through the Bay Area. People really need to check my schedule before planning concert tours!
Andy Grammer kicked off the show and had just as much energy as he had when I saw him on his headlining tour earlier this year. His songs are positive and upbeat and he is clearly loving his life. He played guitar and piano and made an epic run through the crowd toward the end of his set. He definitely made some new fans, as the cheers toward the end were much louder than those at the beginning. I always love when people get surprised by how good an opening band is and I definitely think Andy will be around for a long, long time.
This was the last stop on a 51 city tour and with the last show of a tour come a few shenanigans, tour pranks if you will. When Andy was playing his last song the crew came on stage and started tearing down the set. They started with the drums and definitely had Andy and his band entertained. Andy was at the keyboard at the time and they pulled the stool right out from under him. By the time it was done the drummer had about a fourth of his set left, the keyboardist had very little and Andy was standing up playing his piano. It was pretty hilarious.
Mat Kearney was up next and it was the second time this year I’d seen him too. I saw his headlining tour in February in the Bay Area - fabulous! - but this was definitely a different vibe. Mat didn’t have the same kind of energy that Andy did, but in general his music is a bit more mellow. I love it but it didn’t seem to fit between the energy of Andy and Train. Though to be fair, I think anyone would have suffered following Andy’s highly energized set. Don’t get me wrong though…I loved his set and so did the crowd. He sounded fantastic and also made a tour through the crowd which definitely lifted the energy. In addition to all of his own hits he also did a really nice cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark.
The energy really got turned up though when Tour Prank #2 took place in the form of the crew jumping on stage and playing some sort of Skrillexy music while having some fun with the lights. There was one guy in a fuzzy yellow suit and another dressed up as some sort of giant gray animal…a rat maybe. Mat was definitely entertained and I gotta say, it was fun to watch the performers get a bit rattled when the pranks happened.
After a 20-25 minute set change the lights went down and everyone stood up as a loud train whistle blew several times, announcing the imminent arrival of Train. The curtain dropped and their drummer, Scott, started playing and everyone went a little crazy. A trumpet player appeared on stage next and shortly thereafter the Pat and Jimmy appeared, along with the rest of the band and background singers and they didn’t miss a beat all night.
This was the 10th time for me to see Train live and it was definitely one of the best performances I’ve seen. They were fantastic! Pat always has a ton of energy and always seems to be having more fun than anyone else. I loved the medley they did of some of their older stuff, showing the album covers on the screen and moving smoothly from one era to the next. I have so appreciated how they have acknowledged their low points and have really enjoyed watching them bounce back with these last two albums.
Since Train was the headliner they got two pranks pulled on them during their set. The first happened when Pat pulled up a bunch of little girls on stage to sing Mermaid. He does it in every show but what he wasn’t expecting was four members of the crew to stroll on stage dressed as mermaids, at least two of whom were men. It was awesome and he had a lot of fun with them.
But the absolute best prank, and the highlight of the night, was when Pat introduced their next single, Bruises. It’s a duet on the album and he indicated that they’ve been auditioning people via YouTube to sing it with him on stage. It sounded like they’d called up someone local in each show to sing and we just assumed last night was no different. But when he called out someone named Andrea he had no idea what was about to happen. It wasn’t Andrea. In fact, it wasn’t a woman at all. It was Andy Grammer in drag. And it was AWESOME!! Pat laughed a lot and the whole crowd laughed along with them. Andy is funny and this stunt just made me love him more. I will never forget that.
So all in all it was a great night and totally worth the trip to Phoenix. I’ll be back in a couple of days…so until then…go out and listen to some good music!
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