RAY LaMONTAGNE Setlist
HAMILTON LEITHAUSER Setlist
07/10/14 Clearwater, FL Ruth Eckerd Hall
07/11/14 Orlando, FL Bob Carr Perf. Arts Centre
07/12/14 Miami Beach, FL Fillmore Miami Beach
07/15/14 Jacksonville, FL Florida Theatre
07/16/14 North Charleston Perf. Arts Center
07/18/14 Alpharetta, GA Verizon Wireless Amph.
07/19/14 Birmingham, AL BJCC Concert Hall
07/20/14 Louisville, KY Louisville Waterfront Park
07/22/14 Interlochen, MI Kresge Auditorium
07/23/14 Grand Rapids, MI Frederik Meijer Gardens
07/25/14 Whites Creek, TN Woods At Fontanel
07/26/14 Raleigh, NC Red Hat Amphitheatre
07/27/14 Floyd, VA FloydFest
07/29/14 Knoxville, TN Tennessee Theatre
07/30/14 Memphis, TN Orpheum Theatre
08/01/14 Austin, TX The Long Center
08/02/14 Dallas, TX The Music Hall At Fair Park
08/03/14 Houston, TX Jones Hall
08/05/14 Santa Fe, NM The Downs of Santa Fe
08/07/14 Morrison, CO Red Rocks Amphitheatre
08/08/14 Salt Lake City, UT Red Butte Garden
08/10/14 San Francisco, CA Golden Gate Park
08/12/14 Troutdale, OR McMenamins Edgefield
08/13/14 Redmond, WA King County's Marymoor
08/15/14 Sandpoint, ID Memorial Field
08/23/14 Dundas, ON Christie Lake Cons
His stoic face, full beard, large brown hat, and somewhat frumpy earth-toned slacks and jacket, harkens back to the stereotypical image of the “forty-niners” of the mid-1800’s, gone west to seek their fortune.
Except in LaMontagne’s case, the “gold” is his song-crafting and distinctive raspy whisper of a voice that enthralls whenever he opens his mouth, and that was certainly the case for his 105 min. performance at the newly refurbished Northrop Auditorium, on the campus of the University of Minnesota.
The Belle Brigade
Backed by a full band (including brothers-in-law), the group opened with the haunting ’11 o’ clock Friday Night’, with its repeated guitar riff, David Lynch-evoking xylophones, and Leithauser’s distinctive vocals, which add a tense edge to anything he sings.
“Here’s one I wrote for my daughter whose name is Georgiana… but the name Alexandra fit a lot better”, Leithauser explained, before going into current single, ‘Alexandra’. It was the last night for both Leithauser on LaMontagne’s tour, and for the band as a unit (at least for a while), so it was fitting that ‘I Retired’ was played next.
“That was ‘I’ll Never Love Again”, Leithauser remarked after playing the song, “I always like to follow that up, awkwardly, with ‘I’ll Always Love You”, to crowd laughter, before he and band launched into ‘In Our Time (I’ll Always Love You)’.
Hamilton Leithauser (closeup)
Set closing and album-opening ‘5AM’ had the singer shadowed in near darkness, like a gothic Sinatra crooning the cynical lyrics, “Do you wonder why I sing these love songs when I have no love at all?”, that maybe best defines his move from the garage guitar rock of The Walkmen, to his current chamber-pop sound.
Much like his own persona, Ray LaMontagne and band took to the stage with a rumbling quiet whisper, opening with the title track from 2008’s Gossip in the Grain. The light drizzle outside and newly ornate seats, balconies, and surroundings, along with the much-improved acoustics of the restored venue, seemed to be an ideal setting for LaMontagne to host only the second rock show played at the fabled auditorium, after being freshly minted with a near-complete facelift after years of continuing decay.
LaMontagne’s newest, Supernova (RCA Records) is still 60’s nostalgic, but the Dan Auerbach (of The Black Keys) produced effort gives LaMontagne a slightly more psychedelic, brighter, and bigger scope to his music, and the new songs fit well amongst the old.
The screen projections behind the band weren’t quite supernova-status, but did feature constellations, swirling colors, and ebbing patterns, adding to the trippy vibe of many of the newer songs. New album opening, ‘Lavender’ recalled early Pink Floyd or The Rolling Stones’ ‘2000 Light Years from Home’ with its floating keyboards and jangly guitars. ‘For the Summer’ slowed the pace a bit and had a chorus that seemed to be sung in a different key than the studio version, which was no less powerful, but was slightly irritating to anyone preferring the original.
‘Supernova’ brought things more upbeat again, and the inevitable cat-calling and audience yelling that seems to mark all of his shows, had begun. LaMontagne’s relative silence and shyness seems to strangely encourage some in the crowd, though he’s gone on record as not being a fan of it.
“You’re so polite” LaMontagne would say before ‘Airwaves’, commenting that “we’ve been playing the last six weeks or so, mostly outdoors, to rowdy… safe to say, stoned audiences for sure. We usually have a contact high by the third song- that’s been the pattern anyway” LaMontagne said, maybe appreciating all that the refurbished venue had to offer, as much the audience seemed to.
Ray LaMontagne with Zachariah Hickman
LaMontagne’s harmonica work on ‘Like Rock & Roll and Radio’ was a thing of delicate beauty and made us want more, before percussion and tempo rose for a bracing ‘Meg White’ which even slipped in riffs from The White Stripes’ own ‘Seven Nation Army’.
The main set ended with the title track from his previous album, God Willin' and the Creek Don't Rise and LaMontagne would only respond to the crowd yelling once, just before the encore when a cry of “Lookin’ good, Ray!” was shouted from a lower balcony. LaMontagne paused briefly then deadpanned back, “Yeah, I think I’m aging backwards”, which segued perfectly into encore opener, ‘Old Before Your Time’.
The stomper, ‘Hey Me, Hey Mama’ had all 2500 people clapping along and set finisher, ‘Drive-In Movies’, had heads nodding and people swaying and singing along. On this gray, damp night, Minneapolis had found gold, at least for 105 minutes.
Ray LaMontagne at Northrop Auditorium, Minneapolis (28 June 2014)