Gavin DeGraw O2 ABC Glasgow
All day I, and my daughter, were on tenterhooks as we awaited news as to whether this gig was going to go ahead. Having had to pull his two previous shows due to a strep throat all we could do was keep our fingers crossed. Ever the professional though Gavin had taken his lozenges and took everybody by surprise by slipping onto stage quietly as we awaited a “support slot” act. Instead Gavin ripped into a terrific set of tunage covering his entire career output. So with eight albums under his belt the set list was very varied indeed. There really was something here for everybody and all of it performed in a stripped back to basics acoustic format of Gavin piano & vocals, Billy Norris guitar/vocals and Mike Baker drums. I’m sure this set-up also allowed some added relief for his throat as he was not up against the full power of an electric band. In truth you could still detect that there had been a problem however this did not stop Gavin giving us one hell of a fine show. We all know that a Glasgow audience, if they are behind you, are simply the best around. From the outset this audience sang along with each and every track. In some circumstances this could be seen as being not what you actually want but man when they are in full voice it sure lifts an atmosphere to such a high that the performers raise their game by a factor of magnitude way beyond the norm. Such was the case tonight. Blasting off with Chariot, Making Love With The Radio On, Crush and Nice To Meet You Anyway. Whew! As the room temperature rose Gavin wasted little time between cuts and the tracks just kept coming at you like an unstoppable runaway train. In Love With A Girl, Kite Like Girl, Best I Ever Had rolled over us before things slowed nicely with a particular favourite of mine Stealing. And so it continued until the surprise inclusion of a cover of the late George Michael’s anthem Faith. There is a recognised genre called Blue Eyed Soul and when Gavin slipped effortlessly into fabulously heartfelt covers of A Change Is Going To Come and Hallelujah I Love Her So (Sam Cooke & Ray Charles Respectively) we were hearing one of the best exponents and quality with a capital Q. Soldier, She Sets The City On Fire and Not Over You brought the main set to a close. Had that been the end then nobody could have left the building disappointed but this is afterall a gig and gigs don’t end without an encore and so it was tonight. Back on stage came Gavin, complete rather bizarrely, wearing a kilt over his trousers. Still he made sure that he took the lead by making fun of himself and he was forgiven of course. The close out tracks Dancing Shoes and I Don’t Want To Be sent us home with huge smiles on our faces. I’m sure that Gavin pushed himself hard on the back of the warm welcome and support of the audience. My wee lass and I really think Gavin is a fine writer and have seen him three times now including once, by chance, in Florida. Would we go again? Damn right we would and if you have not investigated his music do yourself a favour and hitch yourself to his train as it is a terrific journey.
Graeme Scott K107FM, Blues Matters Magazine, VRN1287