Thursday, April 28, 2011

Guster plays an electrifying show at Carolina Theatre

All photos by Kevin Norris
For the first time since 2006, Guster made their way to the Triangle Wednesday night, playing a vibrant, career-spanning set for about a thousand enthusiastic fans at the Carolina Theatre in Durham.

The band hit the stage and launched into "The Captain," and then straight into a big sing along of the classic "Happier."

The band dropped songs from their latest album Easy Wonderful into the set between older songs, starting with "Architects & Engineers," which sounded fantastic live.

No Guster show is complete without a little comedy. After playing the song "Stay With Me Jesus," Ryan Miller noted that the band had written a lot of songs about Jesus in recent years, much to the disappointment of their rabbis. Then, as if from the heavens, a ukulele was lowered from the rafters into the hands of Miller (see the third photo below) and the band kicked off "Come Down Stairs and Say Hello."

A little later, before playing the classic "I Spy," Miller noted that he ate chicken and waffles earlier. As he's telling the story, Adam Gardner starting playing a little guitar riff. Next thing the crowd knows, it's about three minutes or so later and they've heard an entire improvised song about a stoner's (and/or pregnant woman's) dream of chicken, waffles and macaroni and cheese. And really, the song was actually pretty good.

The classics "Two Points For Honesty" and "Demons" were big hits with the crowd late in the set, causing massive sing alongs. As the band reached the end of the fairly mellow song "Hang On," the tempo shifted as a piano riff kicked in and the band played bits of Billy Joel's "My Life," mixed with the lyrics from their own song.

The band closed the main set with "Barrel of a Gun," but instead of leaving the stage, simply noted they were starting the encore and kept going. After two songs from the new album and "Backyard," they closed things out with funky, updated version of "Airport Song," complete with an extended jam at the end.

As the band left the stage, a few people in the crowd started to leave, but the band returned for one last song. The quartet lined the front of the stage for an unplugged rendition of "Jesus on the Radio," and then made their exit.

The band has consistently proven that they can reach far beyond their humble beginnings as a jammy acoustic college band and mature into a sophisticated pop band. In 2011, the band sound better than ever and the new songs in the set sound great among the old tunes. Hopefully it won't be five more years before they return to the Triangle.

Set list
The Captain
Architects & Engineers
Red Oyster Cult
This Could All Be Yours
Come Downstairs and Say Hello
Do You Love Me
(Stoners Dream jam)
I Spy
Bad Bad World
Two Points For Honesty
Homecoming King
On the Ocean
Manifest Destiny
Hang On (w/ My Life by Billy Joel)
Barrel of a Gun
What You Call Love
Airport Song
Jesus on the Radio


Yeomanation said...

any idea where/if I can get a recording of the show? it blew my mind and I want to re-live it.

Anonymous said...

They played in 2007 at Reynolds Coliseum as part of NC State's Homecoming