Saturday, January 29, 2011

To the Dreamers Go the Dreams

I had the privilege of taking my 8-year-old son to see Guster Thursday night in Des Moines and we were blown away. It's my fourth time seeing them and they are one of those rarities that keeps getting better and better with age. These guys have been touring together virtually non-stop for 15+ years - only taking breaks to record albums or have babies. They are tight yet find a way to stay loose and have fun. You know they are well rehearsed, but they make you believe they just picked up their instruments and started jamming.

I remember fondly first hearing Airport Song back when I was working radio and it struck me square between the ears then and I've been smitten since. What a joy then to hear a wild version of it last night complete with discoed guitar bits and the irresistible bongo freak out. The ping pong balls came out a bit prematurely, but this was such a new, different version I can't blame my fellow concertgoers. This was my favorite highlight, but I'll always have a soft spot for Airport Song. Others were Happier, Barrel of a Gun, Come Downstairs and Say Hello (complete with a summoned ukelele that gently glided down from the heavens), and of course the requisite Jesus on the Radio unplugged to close it down. Oh and who can ever forget the relatively impromptu A Dong, an ode to a favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Des Moines. Hilarious. Everything from Easy Wonderful sounded like it perfectly belonged in Guster's ever-growing catalog of tunes that sound fantastic on CD and even better live. They found the right balance with playing old favorites mixed with the new tunes, that judging by the audience's reaction were just as beloved as the classics. No song was unwelcome and I really only missed hearing Either Way and One Man Wrecking Machine. Check out some videos here. Looking forward to a bootleg!

Guster satisfies every time but also leaves me impatiently waiting and hoping for another visit really soon. The tour goes on so get out and see them if you have the chance. Me gusta Guster.

Opening band Good Old War was quite good in their own right. It was clear from the beginning that very few people in the audience had ever heard of them. By the end of their 45-minute set, they earned a standing ovation and cries for encores - a pretty impressive response. I dug the three-point harmonies and overall hippy-dippy yet poppy vibe. I look forward to digging a bit deeper.


Anonymous said...

Awesome. Can't wait for me and my 8 year-old son to go next week!

Anonymous said...

And they didn't disappoint in Atlanta. Airport Song was incredible. My favorite of the night. Other standouts were Happier, Demons, and a kick ass version of Hang On complete with a Billy Joel "My Life" finish. Brilliant concert and definitely by far their best. Me gust a Guster.