David Gray charms Boston with intimate performance

A review of David Gray at the Citi Wang Theatre on February 21, 2011

, Contributing Writer

David Gray kicked off his “Lost and Found” tour at Boston’s Citi Wang Theatre on Monday night, charming the crowd with a intimate set filled with songs from across his catalogue including a nice selection of hits and rarities.

The theme of the show was simplicity with a demure background and cozily lit stage. However, the same could not be said for the vocal performance, which was mellow yet unrestrained and passionate. Flanked on both sides by dim lamps, the five-piece band took the stage in trademark silver and gray suits. Starting off with “From Here You Can Almost See the Sea” and “Davey Jones’ Locker”, Gray was met with warm a warm applause from the crowd.

Gray’s specializes in heartfelt romantic ballads, and the night featured a gimmick free-show that let lyrics and emotion speak for themselves. It was also an opportunity for Gray to interact with his fans in a new way. Prior to the show, he had put out a note on his website asking for people to request songs. After 156 different requests, “Flame Turns Blue” turned out to be one of the most popular. He also took time at the show to describe some of the songs’ origins, giving the show a Storytellers-like vibe. He recalled that with “Gathering Dust”, of the first songs he recorded, was “one of the first times I felt the magic”.

Lost Songs offerings included a stripped “Flame Turns Blue”, “Hold On” and “Twilight”, which he said that was for a “quiet, kind of rain-soaked afternoon”. Gray was joined Irish singer Lisa O’Neill, whop opened the show, for “Kathleen” and the energetic “Fugitive” as many fans got up to dance for the extremely catchy song. There was not a motionless head or foot in the house.

After the very lively piano pleaser “Jackdaw”, Gray launched into the smash hit “The One I Love”. The multi-faceted musician constantly switched between a seat at the piano and guitar, and took center stage with the guitar for “Babylon”. The stripped performance still embodied Gray’s typical passion and vocal force without an overabundance of instrumental power. Undoubtedly the most memorable song of the night was “Please Forgive Me”, where Gray bargained with the audience to be silent until they heard the bass and then to go nuts.

The main set ended with the hauntingly beautiful “Forgetting”, while the encore started with a remarkable bare-bones solo rendition of “Shine”. An improvised “This Year’s Love” gave way to the slower, atmospheric “Nemesis”. Gray and his band squeezed in one last song, leading a sing-along of “Sail Away” to bring the night to a fun close.

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