Monday, July 30, 2012

Good Music and Good Friends

You all know from the URL of this blog that I have an immense love for Gavin DeGraw. His music has changed my life. As a live performer he is beyond compare. I got the opportunity to see him twice last week in two different settings. The first one was a fairly large crowd and made me feel kind of like I was at a sporting event. It wasn't a stadium or anything like that, but it had a very impersonal feel. I'm used to seeing Gavin in much closer quarters. I found that performance to be a bit lackluster, not the least of which was because of the sound engineering. I also felt like his set was very generic, which felt right in line with the direction that I see his career going in. Luckily, I didn't pay money for that particular show. One of my friends won free tickets and asked if I'd like to go with her. I also got to meet up with some other friends, so the night wasn't a total loss.

To be perfectly honest, I was dreading going to the show the following night, especially since it was in Hyannis (Cape Cod) and I had to drive to get there. Had it not been for the fact that a friend was depending on me for a ride, I wouldve stayed home. All I can say is thank God I didn't stay home! The second show was in a more intimate setting and Gavin was able to connect with his audience. That's what was missing from the show the night before. I bet all he could see is light and just the faces in the front row. Not so, at this smaller venue, which has a rotating stage. Every seat in the house was a good one. I had an excellent view of him and was able to take a few pics. Unfortunately, I forgot to put my memory card back in my camera from the last time I downloaded pics onto my computer, so I couldn't take very many. Regardless, Gavin electrified the crowd, so much so that the tent we were under was like a sauna! I was covered in sweat by the time his set was over. Words can't describe how happy I was to see the "old Gavin" performing on that stage. I know the more intimate shows don't bring in as much money as shows in larger venues, but Gavin does his best shows when he can really interact with the crowd, which is hard to do when you can't even SEE them.

In the future, if he keeps playing such impersonal venues, I will pick and choose the shows that I go to, looking for the ones with more atmosphere. I almost gave up on him, not as a musician, but as a performer. When you know and have seen what someone can do, it's heartbreaking to see them stray away from that formula. Yeah, we all want money (some of us more than others), but as far as I know, he owns the licensing rights to his songs, so he'll make money until the day he dies, purely off royalties. His work to build a grassroots following paid off in that his fanbase is a very loyal one. I got to hang with some of those awesome loyal fans at both shows. What we have in common, besides our love of good music, is that we look out for each other. We're a community that would've never gotten together were it not for Gavin's music. With the release of this new album, there's been a push by Gavin's "people" to get him new fans, without even bothering to try to retain the old ones. All I can say is that they're making a huge mistake. To quote one of my favorite Gavin songs, "Time will tell. It always does."


  1. Shelly, it's like that with ALL performers. TW went through that with R.E.M. many years ago. She saw them in small clubs where she could hang with them and go to after-show parties. Then they got more popular and she had to go to larger venues. Luckily, she had a network of loyal-fan friends like you do, and they knew how to get front row seats and backstage passes. Even though she'd promised herself that she'd never see them in Madison Square Garden, she did AND they were happy that she snuck backstage. When there music no longer spoke to her, she bailed.

  2. Intimate setting are always better IMO, the artist can make more of a connection with the audience and vice versa. Plus you can hear and see a lot better than in an arena or stadium setting.

    I haven't been to Cape Cod in years, but I used to love taking road trips to Hyannis and Provincetown. Then again, I wasn't the one driving!

    Hopefully Gavin stays with what made him famous--and brought him so many loyal fans like you! :)