Albert Hall Manchester, 28 March 2017
Jason Lytle - vocals, guitar, keyboards
Few records in the last twenty years have influenced or inspired me more than Grandaddy’s UNDER THE WESTERN FREEWAY. Released in 1997 it was widely accalimed with some saying it was ‘the future of rock’n'roll’. For me it introduced another original and distinctive side to the genre but one that will always be uniquely Grandaddy. Can you imagine anyone else covering Grandaddy songs? I can’t. I possess most of the band’s singles, EPs and LPs but have never experienced the band’s live performance, until now.
Thankfully Grandaddy’s sound faired much better than the support act’s although would have taken a very special effort from their soundman. However, lighting was not so special with most of the band members almost invisible on stage. Even leadman Jason Lytle was often difficult to sight behind his keyboards… Stage set was minimal with a video screen playing photo stills of town and country scenes very much in tune with the band’s songs.
Lytle was last on stage as the instrumental ‘Under The Western Freeway’ played. This was an ideal introduction as it represented both the breakthrough album and signature sound. The audience loved it and especially when Lytle’s dulcet tones crept from the stage for the legendary ‘Hewlett’s Daughter’ from the album many still regard as the band’s best album, THE SOPHTWARE SLUMP. Just hearing it here prompted my playing of the album when I returned home since when I haven’t stopped playing it!
Then came the rockier ‘”Yeah” Is What We Had’ from 2003’s SUMDAY. The guitars found their voices and sounded brilliant. In fact I was struck by how close to the studio sound this live performance came. The classic ‘Laughing Stock’ exemplified this with Aaron Burtch’s drum bass rhythm underpinning Lytle’s perfect vocal, while the guitars continued to make their presence felt. Then it was bang up-to-date with ‘Way We Won’t’ the opener from the latest album, LAST PLACE. For me the song acts as a bridge between UNDER THE WESTERN FREEWAY to this new album (20 years later!). Keyboards dominate here and the audience respond big time to the quality of the song, its legacy and its performance.
I took a moment to look round at the crowd and noticed that most seemed mid-thirty and upwards. It then struck me that most younger music fans probably have never heard the band and do need to ‘catch up’… Then comes another classic in ‘Crystal Lake’ folowed closely with a favourite from the new album, ‘Evermore’. There were many special moments but for me the one of the night’s highlights arrived with the highly rhythmic and wonderfully performed ‘I Don’t Want To Live Here Anymore’ from the new album.
‘He’s Simple’ He’s Dumb, He’s The Pilot’ was the most moving highlight of the night, which also received the biggest acclaim of the night, and deservadly so. This was a faultless performance by the band set against a setlist that hit all the band’s best recorded moments while bringing us up-to-date with the pick of new songs. Lytle and Co did it all so easily, so naturally, so well. For me, it’s another one for my bucket list and probably one of the most desired. This was a masterclass in songwriting and performance from a unique band. No more, no less.
Under The Western Highway
The Boat Is A Barn
More Images Here:
Page: 1 2