For those of us fortunate enough to be there, sadly, Guster’s magnificent musical evening at the Belcourt will forever be linked to two tragic events. Only a week from the tornado that sliced through Music City, the news of the coronavirus had us all spending twenty seconds washing our hands in the rest room. As I write this, it was the last concert that I saw, and God only knows when the next one will be and what it will be like.
While the eventual impact of COVID-19 was then still uncertain, the tragedy of the tornado was not. Having recorded and spent much time in this fair city, the Guster’s love and concern for us all was sincere and heartwarming.
Like most there that night, I was thankful to see Guster return to town after a long absence as well as once again see a concert at the Belcourt. While this would be my 51st show at this perfect room for music, their walls have lately only seen films, and it had been an unbelievable six years since I last heard live music in the Hillsboro Village non-profit film center.
There was also excitement around this unique current tour with their actor/comedian friend, Connor Ratliff, emceeing the event as well as encouraging interaction both with the audience and the band. One of his frequent objectives was to steer Guster into hilarious musical improvisations. Ratliff was perfect in this role and we all quickly warmed up to his unscripted comical contributions to the show. None of us who were there will ever forget the on-the-spot creation of songs such as “Sex Carnival” and “Bark, Bark, Woof, Woof.” You just had to be there.
Aside from this hilarity and some fun crowd participation, the 2 ½-hour concert was a Guster fan’s delight that featured a career-spanning collection of their joyfully spirted pop songs. Yours truly had even forgotten that original members, Adam, Brian and Ryan are once again a quartet after adding Nashvillian Luke Reynolds, formerly the front man for Blue Merle, a great band that should not be forgotten.
The Nashville connection even got stronger when the former fourth wheel of Guster, Nashville’s Joe Pisapia, joined in the festivities to sing two rare tracks.
The band was also rounded out with two ladies on strings and one other supporting musician. And as for the large ensemble on stage, I think Connor and the ladies may have been the only ones that didn’t get to play bass. The versatility of this band amazed me with the guys routinely changing instruments between songs like it was nothing.
Looking back, this was such a delightful evening. It also serves as a reminder as to how wonderful the Belcourt is as a music venue, and just how wonderful live concerts are. I hope and pray that it won’t be long before we get to see both again.
- Keep it Together
- Simple Machine
- Stay with Me Jesus
- Either Way
- Rise & Shine
- What You Call Love
- The Beginning of the End
- Hang On
- Well (with Joe Pisapia)
- Jonah (with Joe Pisapia)
- That’s No Way to Get to Heaven
- Rainy Day
- Do You Love Me
- Hard Times
- Two Points for Honesty
- This Could All Be Yours
Additional support from Dave Butler, Bridgid Bibbens and Rebecca Chung Filice,
Host, Connor Ratliff, and
Special guest, Joe Pisapia