September 2, 2014 Gavin DeGraw & Matt Nathanson light up Central Park Summer Stage, NYC 8-13-14
After completing a successful run of shows in the spring, Gavin DeGraw announced a massive co-headlining summer long tour with Matt Nathanson. Keeping the heat on in support of DeGraw’s Make a Move (2013) and Nathanson’s Last of the Great Pretenders (2013), the tour made its way to the Central Park SummerStage in New York City on Wednesday August 13th. With direct support from Andrew McMahon, the crowd lined up early to catch all the music this line-up had to offer.
Active in the music scene for over fifteen years, McMahon achieved success with his former bands Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin. Deciding to partake in a solo project simply called Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, he will release his self-titled debut October 14th via Vanguard Records. McMahon played a great mix of tunes including Jack’s Mannequin tune “Dark Blue” along with newbie “High Dive” and “Synesthesia”. Speaking in a relaxed tone to the audience, McMahon stated “Cecilia and the Satellite” is named after his six month old daughter as he played the upbeat and beautiful song. The set concluded with another Jack’s Mannequin piece “La La Lie” featuring McMahon performing a harmonica as everyone applauding in appreciation. With timely piano key strokes and passionate singing, each song sounded vivid, setting the mood for the rest of the evening.
Next up was Massachusetts native Nathanson who is known for his blend of folk, pop, and rock. Nathanson combines crafty songwriting and thoughtful lyrics that has built him a strong following, which was out at Central Park in support. Known to perform solo as well as with a full band, Nathanson took to the stage with his band mates to a roaring ovation opening with energetic songs “Kill the Lights” and “Annie’s Always Waiting (For the Next One to Leave)”. Having everyone clapping and singing along, favorites like “Car Crash”, followed with “Run”, saw Sugarland vocalist Jennifer Nettles on stage for a special duet. Surprising the crowd, the excitement level was sky high and Nathanson did not let go of that emotion as he went with “Mission Bells” and “Kinks Shirt”. His affectionate singing, along with joy for being on stage and humorous attitude, brought each song to life, giving the listeners a genuine look into the storylines.
Going on to perform the song “Faster”, a fainted fan immediately grabbed Nathanson’s attention to stop for them to receive medical attention and showed his concern. Once the person was attended to and alright, Nathanson concluded the song, proceeding to hop into the crowd running around slapping high fives, exchanging hugs, while even stopping to take a few photographs with fans during “Headphones”. This type of affection had everyone smiling and the eruption of happiness reached its peak during his the closing with platinum single “Come On Get Higher”. Nathanson’s performance was everything everyone could have hoped for and more.
Having been thoroughly entertained, the warm mid-August night was just about to get hotter with DeGraw ready to go on. Originally from New York State, DeGraw has been on an unforgettable ride since his debut album Chariot in 2003. Now five records deep into his career, DeGraw has established himself with fans and in the mainstream music scene. Complemented by an impressive laser light show along with atmospheric stage smoke, he erupted into “Leading Man”, “Chariot”, and “Sweeter”. Clearly playing to the amped up emotion of the audience, DeGraw displayed excellent stage presence making eye contact with fans and singing with ease. Doing a fine job of balancing the material between old and new, some exciting moments included the performance of “Heartbreak” and “Best I Ever Had”.
Wasting little time and keeping the momentum moving, DeGraw mixed in cool covers of U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” and Hall & Oates “Rich Girl” all while adding his own person flair to each song. Showing his voice is distinctive and powerful, he did not fade as the set went on and had everyone continuously on their feet with hits “Soldier” and the irresistible “In Love With a Girl”. Winding the evening down with his unmistakable “I Don’t Want to Be”, the audience cheered hoping to hear a few more songs. DeGraw answered the call with “Make a Move” and “Not Over You”.
DeGraw is unquestionably a seasoned performer that everyone needs to experience live. His ability to keep the audience’s attention with soulful collection of songs was impressive and Center Park SummerStage certainly gave him the ability to shine bright.Photo credit: Charles Eames Photography