What’s Left: 26 days, 31 bands
Who: Joe Purdy
When/Where: June 21, Brighton Music Hall, Allston, MA
Expectations: I’ve been steadfastly obsessed with a good portion of Joe Purdy songs for years, yet I have never seen him live. Of course my expectations were through the roof, probably more so than for any other band I’ve seen so far in the 100 band challenge.
Concert: The stage crew set up for Joe Purdy’s set and put down a set list right in front of me. A large portion was from his latest album, The American, released last summer, and a few of the old standbys like “Ball Player” and “Can’t Get it Right”, but luckily Purdy was prepared with more than a few surprises.
He took the stage by himself for the opening verses of “Pioneer”, his foot stomps in place of the drums and was joined by the talented Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale half way through. Purdy surprised us by playing “Four Seasons” and “Canyon Joe” in the middle of his set to break up the playing extensively from his latest album. He appeared perfectly at ease on stage to the point where he looked confidently committed to living the life of a troubadour more than anyone I’ve seen in recent memory.
The encore felt like he would never stop playing all of the requests from the audience. He’d hear someone shout out a title, nod his head in agreement, and launch into whatever suited him best. He played three songs solo during the encore including “You Can Tell Georgia”, “I Love the Rain the Most”, and “Green Eyes Crying”. For the last song he started playing “Ode to the Sad Clown” which finished the concert just the way he started with the two young guys coming out from back stage, joining him half way through as the crowd sang along to the chorus “I’m gonna fill this whiskey cup / I’m gonna pick this banjo up / I’m gonna play with the tragedies/ singing good time harmonies” and stompped their feet and clapped along. The crowd was buzzing with ecstatic excitement as they heard their favorite songs played, which only made me wish the entire concert had been like that.
Afterglow: Even though it dragged a bit at times it was worth it to stay for the end.
Recommendation: If you’re feeling folky, or want to take your girl to hear some swoon worthy tunes, I’d suggest this one. Of course if you’re a Joe Purdy fan I’d say you should see him too, but just like any other artist with an extensive discography, there’s a high chance you won’t hear your favorite songs, so be prepared.
MP3: Joe Purdy – Highways