Concert Review: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals at Bank of America Pavilion, 8/20/11
The door has swung wide open for Grace Potter, and she is sprinting through it. It seemed to jar open suddenly late last year with her invitation to join Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj on the high-profile MTV “Divas” showcase. She and the Nocturnals followed that with a full circuit through the late-night talk shows, charming Leno, Letterman, and George Lopez and blasting their new-album hit “Paris (Ooh La La) to the world. Recently, she duetted with Kenny Chesney on his hit “You and Tequila” and staged her own music festival in her home state of Vermont.
So with that success it would be easy for her now to lay back a bit on her live shows, maybe cut down on the two-hour stage time, the wild dancing, and especially the multiple 10-minute–plus jams.
But judging from her recent show at the Bank of America Pavilion, that just not the way she rolls.
From the moment she sprinted (yes, really sprinted – in high heels, no less) on stage to the opening notes of the evening-appropriate “Hot Summer Night,” Grace was a dervish, dashing, skipping and dancing from center mike to her Hammond B-3 back to center. Her voice, as always, ranged from soulful to downright Janis-Joplin-esque – sometimes within the same song.
She led the Nocturnals – guitarists Scott Tournet and Bennie Yurco, bassist Cat Popper and drummer Matt Burr – through many of the group’s great tunes including “Joey,” “Treat Me Right” and “Apologies.” Songs from her latest album, like “Tiny Light” and “Oasis,” were treated with extended jams that lifted them out of their pop-lite original state.
Along with numerous Boston shout-outs, Grace dedicated her eveningwear color to Bonnie Raitt, who apparently wore blue during a performance – Grace’s first at the BoA when she was 15. Somehow I doubt Bonnie wasn’t decked out in the same sparkly electric-blue miniskirt with gold heels that Grace sported.
The evening came to a head as the band broke into a guitar-spastic version of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” perfectly suited for Grace’s pipes, followed by the solo a cappella “Nothing But the Water, Part 1” and the blistering band-finisher “Part II.”
That seemed like a night full of music right there but it wasn’t the end. It was followed by an equally exuberant “Stop the Bus” (complete with a snippet of Led Zep’s “Good Times, Bad Times”).
Off went the band to a cheering and chair-pounding call for more, and back they came, for “Ah Mary,” “Paris” and then a rousing cover of Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Done, right? Nope. “Medicine” finished the night, ending in a tribal-like drumming group that sent fans home happy into the hot summer night.
For my pics, click HERE
The setlist Hot Summer Night Joey Money That Phone Treat Me Right Oasis Colors One Short Night Big White Gate Tiny Light 2:22 Apologies White Rabbit Nothing But The Water I Nothing But The Water II Stop The Bus
Ah Mary Paris (Ooh La La) I Love Rock ’N’ Roll Medicine