Pete Yorn at The Roxy :: ArrangingTime Tour, Tuesday, May 3, 2016

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Pete Yorn :: ArrangingTime Tour, Tuesday, May 3, 2016
The Roxy :: West Hollywood, California

Set-list playlist – here on Spotify
(I think I got all the songs)

Third time’s the charm, or so they say, and last night was definitely full of charm, a full house, and spectacular sounds. This is my third Pete Yorn show in 2016 (so far) in support of his new album ArrangingTime (its amazing – go now go and get a copy here). The first was a small radio show for KCRW, the second a few weeks back at the Independent, in San Francisco (review here) and the third, last night, at one of my all-time favorite venues, The Roxy.

Back home for me, and for Pete, The Roxy was the last date on this leg of the tour,and you could feel it in the energy and enthusiasm of Pete and his band. I always have said the most memorable shows are the first night of a tour, and the last. Pete and his band (Joe, Scott and Jon) have really found a groove with each other, and a musical chemistry, that has definitely evolved in the past months since I saw them at the KCRW event. Joe Kennedy and Pete, of course, have history and visible connectivity and collaborative magic, but last night you could see it flowing between all of them.

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Pete, too, seemed to be refreshed and alive, smiling more than I’d seen in past shows, and explosively performing each song. Perhaps some of it is due to being home again, the anticipation of a much deserved, off-the-road break to spend with his family, and that last night of a tour verve. I think, too, some of it may be from the way this new album has been embraced, and the palpable energy of the sold-out crowd. Everyone seemed to be singing-a-long, to both new and old songs alike, and responding to the music in that way that makes live music one of the best experiences in life.

But, I digress, let’s take this back a little to the start of this evening of music, shall we?

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Me and my daughter, Julia

My companions on this ArrangingTime adventure were my two daughters, Julia (see above) and Veronica, as well as a friend/coworker, Kevin. Julia had come with me to see one of the You and Me dates last year, and accompanied me to the KCRW show, but Veronica, at 13, hasn’t ever been able to come to one of Pete’s shows because of age restrictions. But, this night, last night, was slated as “all-ages.”

Music is a basic need in our home, right up there with food, water, shelter, clothing and oxygen, and though the three of our tastes sometimes vary, we come together with big love for more than a handful of bands and artists, and live music itself. With my oldest living out on her own, and all of our schedules being crazy and often erratic, it is hard for us to “arrange time” to be see each other, and a rare thing for the three of us to go anywhere – so this night was very special to me, and to share one of my favorite artists with the both of them made this a memory I think we’ll all hang on to.

We waited outside in the cool early evening air, taking in the Sunset Boulevard sights, and talking with a few others that were there for the VIP Soundcheck and Meet-and-Greet experience.

Have I mentioned that Pete has some of the best fans? I’ve gotten the chance to meet and talk to quite a few at recent shows, and the majority of the ones I’ve met are genuine, witty and kind, and real music fans – and very loyal, most often longstanding fans of Pete. I attend a lot of shows, both big and small, as a music obsessive and a writer/reviewer, and I can attest that a good crowd and kind fans are not all that common, not as a whole.

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The few of us who were there for the VIP soundcheck and Meet-and-Greet were ushered in by Pete’s tour manager Dylan (a great tour manager and all-around guy, by the way – from Hell Bound Management), and we enjoyed two soundcheck’ing songs, one a fan (or a few fans, really) request – “Burrito” – a song my younger daughter seems quite fond of.

The band sounded great, and Pete seemed relaxed and happy, chatting a bit with the small group of us and telling us a bit about how “Burrito” is his father’s favorite song, and that if he made it there tonight he might yell it out, as a request.

My only disappointment was the tease of Junior Kimbrough’s “I Feel Good Again” Feel Good Again, whose guitar and pedal combination that Pete does is a big live favorite of mine. I was so hoping he’d play it later in the show, but alas, all we got was that little pre-show tease of guitar riffs and pedal stomps. Oh well, I did get to hear it in San Francisco.

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Pete’s infamous boots at soundcheck

Afterwards, we all got a bit of time to talk with Pete. It was great to be able to introduce my daughters to him, and I am grateful to Pete for being so lovely to the two of them.

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Me and Pete, pre-show

I’m pretty sure you have a new fan in my youngest daughter, Pete – not just from your kindness, but from that show last night (my oldest was already a fan).

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My daughters – Julia and Veronica, me and Pete

We sat on the edge of the stage after the talking with Pete and talked with each other, and with other fans, enjoying the Pete pre-show mix tape. Guided By Voices “Big Boring Weekend” was a stand-out.

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When Pete took the stage, with the band following close behind, the crowd went wild. I could feel the rush and push, and kinetic energy, fill the room like electricity, and the first song of the night choice was fantastic. “Murray” is one of Pete’s biggest sing-a-long songs in a concert setting, and we all enthusiastically sang-shouted the “uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh’s” along with Pete, and on our own, too. Starting with audience participation is brilliant – and lit up the venue in a blaze of voices and movement.

Explosive – truly.

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From there, Pete went into a cross-section of old and new songs – all favorites – even the new ones.

I found myself looking around and noticing people singing-a-long to the new tracks, too – even more than a few weeks back. This is proof again at how much ArrangingTime is being embraced, and loved.

The first ArrangingTime single, “Summer was a Day” led perfectly into “Pass Me By” and “Black”, and then into another new song, “She was Weird” (my oldest daughter’s favorite Pete song, and a favorite track of mine, too).

I hope, that at some point, “She was Weird” becomes a crowd sing-a-long song, too. There is this optimal moment at the end of the song, where there are two stanzas sung separately – one from Pete and one from the rest of the band – that I think would work great with audience participation.

Give us some backup to sing, and we will all join in.

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“Halifax” came next. I’ve been loving this song since Pete was playing it acoustically, last year, and my love just deepens. That hard stop at the end just gets me (I dig a hard stop in songs – its one of those rare musical gems that make a music obsessive perk their ears), and the chorus is so catchy and melancholic and beautiful.

Such a classic song.

“Turn of the Century” followed, which is by far one of the most beautiful songs that Pete has ever recorded. It has so much story there, told in such a sparse way. The music weaves in and out of the lyrics, telling its own part of the story. This is another one of his songs that is always top on my favorites list, and almost always makes me cry.

“Lost Weekend” came after, and I swear this song already feels like a tried-and-true hit. From those opening notes the crowd lit up again, and their energy, along with the song, created a dance of goosebumps across my skin.

I love this song.

And, last night, we all seemed to be loving this song.

We all felt those lyrics, “straight outta suburbia, straight outta the basement” even if there are really no basements in Los Angeles (we do have suburbs, though).

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My favorite of the night (not counting the encore – we’re not there yet) was “Roses”. My favorite track off the new album, “Roses” was a surprise to hear last night. I didn’t think that Pete had been playing this one as part of his sets, though I suppose it was fitting to sing about the jasmine blooming on Sunset Boulevard while playing at The Roxy, on Sunset Boulevard.

Oh how I love songs about Los Angeles.

Fan favorite, from Musicforthemorningafter, “Just Another” led into Pete’s interpretation of Morrissey’s “Suedehead”. Pete always breathes new life into the songs he chooses to cover, and this one is no exception. There is a sincerity and emotional resonance, with a brushstroke of heartbreak, that makes this song less jaded, and more genuine than the original, in my opinion.

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The 13-song set (lucky 13!) ended with the big hit parade of “Strange Condition” and “Life on a Chain”. All of us, from the front row, to the sides of the bar, to the very back, exploded into song and dance (or at least enthusiastic bounce).

As many of us remarked pre-show, Musicforthemorningafter is one of those quintessential albums of our generation, and is on so many people I meet’s”all-time favorite albums” list – meaning of all albums, not just Pete’s.

These two songs are part of the reason why.

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Pete didn’t make us wait all that long to return to the stage for an extended encore. Eight songs is quite an encore – something that goes back to what I was saying earlier – the perks of being at a first show of a tour, or in this case, a last. Pete really did seem so happy last night, enjoying everything about the night – Los Angeles (yay home), the last night of this leg of the tour, family and friends (including his niece, who was celebrating her 16th birthday), and a crowd made-up of fans who quite clearly love him, and his music.

He started the encore with a stripped down, acoustic version of my all-time favorite Pete song, “Crystal Village” (and yes, it did make me cry). This song does it for me in such a deep, emotional and personal way, and THIS version, this gorgeous, delicate, heartbreaking version, is by far my favorite I’ve ever heard him do.

Thank you for it, Pete.

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Jon Spiker, Pete and Scott Seiver

The band returned next, and helped Pete launch into “On Your Side” and “The Man” (the latter of the two requested earlier that day, via Twitter).

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Joe Kennedy

Pete then took an audience request with “Shopping Mall”, a beautiful, and sad, song from the new album. This was great to hear live, and definitely was another surprise of the night. It led into another all-time Pete-favorite of mine, “June”, which then transitioned perfectly, with a well-choreographed mood swing, to “Tomorrow”, another ready-to-be-the-next-hit song from ArrangingTime.

Oh, “For Nancy (‘Cos It Already Is)”. You know when you hear it the show is soon to be over, but it is so fantastic that you can’t help but get swept up in it completely. Everyone sang so loudly that you we became one resounding voice, especially in the “‘cos it already is” parts.

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This is the perfect show ender kind of song, and it is also one of those numbers that feels like the end of the night firework show, or that big final number that garners a standing ovation.

We may have already been standing, but our ovation was screaming with passion, love, and destined to be hoarse tomorrow voices.

But, guess what? It wasn’t over yet. “For Nancy” ended, Pete introduced the band, and then wanted to play one more.

We were back to “Burrito”, unfortunately missing Pete’s father who couldn’t make it, but to the rest of our delights. Though “For Nancy” was the perfect ending for a night of fantastic music, having one extra surprise was like those hidden tracks they use to put on CD’s – a blissful bonus.

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Thank you, Pete, for another great night of music, for giving so much to all of us artistically, and for being so kind to my girls. Enjoy your time off and we can’t wait to see you again in the (hopefully not too far) future.

Thanks for the music!

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