Pete Yorn :: The Constellation Room :: May 9, 2017 :: Live Music Review
The first show of a tour gifts the audience, and I would imagine, the performer, a certain kind of magic. There is a rawness that may not happen again, there is a bit of experimentation, perhaps a dose of nervousness, and a palpable amount of excitement. To me, it appears to have a little bit of that going back to school energy that we all once went through every August, or September. Everything could be different this time. Anything could happen. And, after this, it may never be the same. Or it could be the same, or similar, but it will never be the “first” until the next time around.
Pete Yorn is a favorite at lyriquediscorde. We have reviewed his albums, published lists of favorites, shared videos, included music in many playlists, and reviewed quite a few Live Shows. For me, this was my second time experiencing a “You and Me” tour. The last time around I went to three of the shows, the first one, back then, also at the Constellation Room. That night was another first for me, as well. It was the first time I’d ever seen Pete Yorn play live.
This time around it was far from being my first time. I invited my boyfriend to come along (this would be his first time seeing Pete), and we met up with fellow Pete Yorn fans that I met at previous live shows. One of the cool things about being a fan of an artist or band, and seeing them play often, and at any chance you get, you develop friendships in the audience along the way. It’s a family, of sorts. A camaraderie of shared love and experiences, and, to me, it makes it all that more special.
We went in for the VIP2 Experience, stepping into the Constellation Room during the end of Pete’s Soundcheck. He greeted us warmly and surprised us with a very rare track, one that I am not sure is available anywhere, that he wrote in his younger years. The song was called “James in Liverpool”, and it had both a 90’s Jangly Pop feel to it, as well as an early 90’s Britpop sensibility. I asked him if the song was in reference to the band James, and in seeing them play live in Liverpool. He answered with a yes, and no, response, hinting that there was more to the story.
As a writer, I love that response. I know in all my stories, short or long, and even in my poetry, there is the recognizable plot, and the undercurrent of detail, character, conflict, resolution, and/or sensory description that represents something more. I like the idea that songs, like stories, have many layers and levels to them, and can mean so many things to both the artist, and the audience.
After chatting with us, and taking a few photos, we said our mutual see you later’s and Pete went off backstage. Drinks and conversation were had, the buzz in the room growing as more people joined us, and anticipation wafted all around us in the air. And then the lights came down, and the stage lights came up, and Pete returned to the stage, sitting down on a stool and grabbing his guitar. He greeted the room with warmth and genunity that is part of his appeal to most, if not all, of his fans. He is as gracious and kind as he is talented.
And then the show began.
“I made up that story,
to change your mind.
I could have been somebody else,
but now I’m me,
Fittingly, Pete started the show with “Intro”, the first track, and yes, intro, to the album Day I Forgot. On the album “Intro” leads right into “Come Back Home”, which is how this live set progressed, as well. “Come Back Home” has always been a favorite song of mine, and for me, on a personal level, it felt that way as I stood in a venue in the city I grew up in.
From there we had a cover song duo, of sorts. Pete sang the intro to Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City”, and then went into Warren Zevon’s “Splendid Isolation”. This was part of a yelled out request from the audience, something that would go on for the majority of the night. It is all part and parcel to the You and Me shows – no set-list requests, audience participation, one might say. Every show could be completely different, even moreso than the normal energy and venue differences. With this series the setlist could be different every single night of the tour.
Kind of makes you want to go and see all of them, doesn’t it?
One of my Favorite Songs of the Night was the stripped down version of “Lost Weekend”. The new arrangement gave the song an intimate and immediate feel, gifting it a new/next layer of emotional complexity that I hadn’t heard in the Album cut, or previous “full band” live versions of the song.
I also enjoyed hearing a few, all-time favorites of mine: “Halifax”, “Social Development Dance”, and “June”.
The crowd kept asking for some of Pete’s big Hits, and were ecstatic when he obliged, singing-a-long at the top of their lungs to each lyric of “Life on a Chain”, “Murray”, and “Strange Condition”. It is such a moving experience to be in a crowd that suddenly starts singing-a-long completely, in sync with each other, and the artist on stage. It is chill inducing and one of those definitive moments that make Live Music so vital, and important.
I can only imagine how incredible it feels for the actual artist on-stage.
Pete left the stage briefly, returning rather quickly for a three-song encore. Two of the Songs were standard favorites, especially the last track, “For Nancy (‘Cos It Already Is”. But, the crowd was also given a rare rendition of “Man in Uniform”, dedicated to “Jersey” Jim Wright, whose birthday was the following day.
All in all, it was a fantastic night of acoustic Pete Yorn. I enthusiastically recommend checking out one of his “You and Me” tour dates if you have the chance, it is an opportunity to see Pete in a very intimate way, where each and every person in the crowd becomes a palpable part of the show itself. It really is almost like having him play in your living room.