David Gray at the Pantages Theatre

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Some artists are bit like high school friends. Best buddies in senior year, and then college happens, one loses sight, life goes on, and soon, they are but a distant memory. And then you meet at your reunion years later and the chemistry is back. Like many others, I sang along to David Gray’s “Babylon” countless times (badly, and in my car, never where others could hear me), so when I saw his name on the Pantages’ calendar it was high school reunion time.

Opening was Minneapolis’ J.S. Ondara a Kenyan native who has made his home in the Twin Cities and has made quite the impression on the local music scene. We saw him at First Avenue a few months ago with his band. This it was just Jay and his guitar. He certainly captured the audience’s heart. A few songs in a voice from the crowd called out “Who are you, what’s your name?”. He is working on his debut record out later this year and his songs were melodic, straightforward and beautiful. I loved his cover of “Smells like Teen Spirit”

After a short break, David Gray took to the smoky stage. On this tour, Gray is promoting his “Best of David Gray” album and is a solo / acoustic show. Gray started his set at the piano with “Alibi”. A combination of “From here you can almost see the Sea” and “Enter Lightly” had him do a lightning quick change from piano to guitar mid song to create a few loops. Wait, what? David Gray is looping? He created layers that brought the song to complexity not usually seen at an acoustic show. Bit by bit, I got to experience what David had been doing all these years. The crowd clearly had been keeping in touch with him much better than I had. The show was sold out and fans clearly into the show. To me, “Babylon” the last number of his set brought the evening to a beautiful release. I did manage to restrain myself and not sing along – can’t speak for others in the audience though.
Well, David, it’s been a long time. It’s good to have you back, buddy! Let’s go and cruise by our old locker.

Set List: Alibi / Ain’t No Love / Sea-Lately / Toil / BITW / Vegas / Only The Wine / Falling Free / Gathering Dust / World To Me / Be Mine / Otherside / Dun Laoghaoire-Smoke / Fugitive / Kathleen / Harder / Night Blindness / Forgive / Sail / Babylon Encore: Nemesis / TYL

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for this!! I’ve kept in “touch” with David all these years. I think I’ve seen him a half dozen times, but never solo acoustic. I’ve got tickets to the show tonight in Kansas City and appreciate this sneak preview. I’m looking forward to reconnecting!!

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