Guster, Garlin are perfect combination in Boston

A review of Guster at the Paramount Theatre on April 20, 2012

, Managing Editor

Guster have always been a band known for keeping the mood of their shows light with jokes and plenty of audience interaction. However, this time around, as they stopped in Boston for a two day/three show stand at Emerson College’s Paramount Theatre, the band brought with them a comedic professional. That professional was Jeff Garlin, best known for his role on HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm”.

The combination of a comedian opening, an acoustic performance, and the intimate setting that is the cozy Paramount Theatre, led to Guster’s show being enjoyably casual. Garlin’s presence during the requests portion of the performance kept things extra light, with the most memorable moment coming when the funnyman threw a cake in the face of a fan who was invited onstage to serenade his wife with “Mona Lisa”. The band joined in on the silliness themselves when they took their act to the balcony for “Window” because of the tour rule that whoever requested the song had to have it played “in their lap”.

Although the laughs dominated the show, Guster still found time to include some of their best ballads, like “Empire State” and “Either Way”. The band closed the show with a particularly touching moment, as they gathered around the piano and dedicated “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” to the recently departed Levon Helm.

Guster weren’t able to fill all requests, and they left out some big hits from the setlist (“Amsterdam”, “Barrel of a Gun”, etc) but there couldn’t have been anybody who went home disappointed. Fans got a bit of everything from this show, and the local lads certainly proved that the old-fashioned show format of comedy and music can still work today.

Jeff Garlin’s stand up set was similar to Guster’s in that he came out with a little prepared material, and used the audience for the rest. The comedian/actor hilariously mocked audience members who he spotted using cell phones, ripping on their pointless conversations. He ended his set by inviting three fans onstage to act out an outlandish scene he concocted on the spot thanks to the audience suggestion of a “Sci Fi” theme.

1.  Solitary Man (Jeff Garlin on vocals)
2.  Backyard
3.  Do You Love Me
4.  Rainy Day
5.  Diane
6.  Rise & Shine
7.  The Beginning of the End
8.  Long Way Down
9.  Mona Lisa
10. Manifest Destiny
11. Homecoming King
12. Rocketship
13. Window
14. What You Call Love
15. So Long
16. Empire State
17. Two Points for Honesty
18. Either Way
19. Satellite
20. This Could All Be Yours
21. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

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