Pete Yorn at The Roxy :: You and Me Extended Tour, Saturday, April 25, 2015
You and Me Extended Tour :: California
The night at The Roxy started out in the company of two amazing women who were on board to take in night three of Pete Yorn’s You and Me Extended Tour with me. We stood outside on the legendary Sunset Boulevard, getting photos snapped of the line we were by passing tour buses, and taking the obligatory pre-concert “selfie” together. There is nothing quite like going to a concert with fellow music lover friends.
Although The Roxy is in my top 5 favorite live venue in California list, the energy of the crowd was not what I expected. Perhaps it was the inevitable let down from such an amazing audience at The Belly Up earlier in the week, or maybe it was where we’d chosen to stand (center stage, behind one row of attendees), or the level of inebriation that the group of people next to me were in, or the general rudeness of some other people around (looking at you guy who spent the evening looking at sports scores on his brightly lit cell phone. REALLY?) but it definitely impacted my experience. That said, the crowd pressing in from behind seemed to be enjoying every single moment and singing-a-long with fevered emotion (I should have just moved back, I think). At least I had great friends around me though.
Pete opened the show a little differently this time around, taking a request as he headed out to take the stage. Paradise Cove swept in with a Southern California beach vibe that the song is overflowing with. The opening lines of “play me a song, sing your heart out” is an inspired way to start a show, lyrically speaking. It started the night with a mix of melancholy and hope that often permeates so many of Pete’s songs, a quality I’ve always admired as it is quite a trick to embody both emotions at once. The song resonated with me quite a bit, especially coming on the heels of an early “life” conversation I had had. Music is so powerful and personal to me that way. Hitting in those places at times just when you need it to.
The show went from Paradise to one of two unexpected surprises cover songs of the night. This was one of the biggest moments of the night in terms of audience reaction. It started slowly, and then erupted into full force explosive scream-singing as the recognition of the song hit. The Violent Femmes’ Kiss Off is such a powerful group sing, especially when the countdown comes along. Pete also did a great mid-song introduction and hello to the Roxy audience that led seamlessly into “this will go down on your permanent record.” Brilliant.
That crowd energy continued into fan favorite Life on a Chain, which was only lessened impact wise for me by the tray balancing bar staff that made their way to the already “well past their limit” imbibers in front of me. This would continue through the entire show, much to my chagrin. I really should have just moved, but it was hard to give up a center stage view.
Some of the highlights of the night were the second play of Halifax (my request, thank you), which had been stuck in my head since the Constellation Room. If this is any indication of how the next solo Pete Yorn album will sound we are all in for a treat and I can’t wait for it to be released. Everyone should keep their ears and eyes out for it (stay tuned, I will be sure to give it a shout out when its ready to release here at lyriquediscorde). Another highlight was the song to follow Halifax, a deep cut from the Westerns EP, The Good Advice. I was excited to hear this as it had been years, and now I need to hunt down a copy of the EP that seems to have lost its way in one of my many moves.
Other favorites of the night were Turn of the Century (I love this song), and a gorgeous Bandstand in the Sky with a heartfelt introduction that tied in The Roxy, Hollywood, Jeff Buckley and Pete. I also loved that Pete played both Intro and Come Back Home from the Day I Forgot album. Both songs hit in that below the surface personal way to me, just as the opener of the show had.
Pete performed Relator, from his collaboration album with Scarlett Johansson. He mentioned trying to get her to come down and sing it with him but that she was out of the country (most likely press tour for next weeks’ new Avengers film), so instead he asked the women in the audience to sing her parts, and for the men to sing his. It made for one of a few connected moments with this crowd which I enjoyed.
The last song of the night (pre-encore) was Strange Condition, another fan favorite from Pete’s debut, musicforthemorningafter. This song has one of my favorite lines of all times in “stories and cigarettes ruin lives of lesser girls“, a lyric that I’ve used as taglines many times online. Its one of those lyrics that got me from the very first listen, back in 2001, and has always resonated with me, enough so that it became part of a character trait from a novel I’m working on.
The show ended with a three song encore which included a cover intros one of my friends was hoping to hear, Bruce Springsteen’s Atlantic City that leads into Murray. This is such a fantastic pair up that always seems to enthrall the fans. And then there was the other surprise cover song of the night that delighted by co-worker who joined us right before the show started. He is a huge Beach Boys fan and recognized that it was Surfer Girl after about two strums on the guitar. It was such an inspired Southern California musical moment, and created a perfect bookend to the beach-infused opener of Paradise Cove.
The night ended with perfectly with For Nancy (‘Cos It Already Is) which got everyone back into that “big group sing”. When it ended and Pete thanked everyone, and threw out his plectrums I felt the initial sadness set in that this was the last night of my three night musical journey. I am going to miss it more than I could ever have anticipated, and would be lying if I said I didn’t contemplate the six plus hours round trip journey to tonight’s show at the Slo Brewing Company in San Luis Opispo. If it wasn’t for my day job demands I would be on the road already.
For the complete set-list from The Roxy show see here.
Or, if you’d rather a more sonic sample, you can give a listen to a playlist I made from the set-list here (minus not-yet-released Halifax).
Thank you for the music.
If you can make it out to one of the Northern California shows – well, what are you waiting for – go here and grab a ticket.