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Posts: 332
Reply with quote  #1 
I haven't posted a review in a long time. I haven't been to a show like this since 1996, but it was one of the best shows ever.  The venue was Amos' Southend in Charlotte, a pretty sizable club with a few scattered tables on the floor and in a balcony area, always dimly lit, whether it's afternoon or midnight, with Bob Marley posters and neon signs hanging on the walls... typical bar scene.... with the closed in atmosphere. My first Jars concert in 1996 was a lot like this place.

The Tarlatans opened, a quartet from Clemson, SC, followed by The Last Bison, whose music is noted as mountain top chamber music, with amazing fiddle talent and great harmonies with mountain men as well as mountain women. Both bands were good. Their music fit the venue well, and paved a really cool path for Jars of Clay to follow.

I've always liked to watch how the crowd responds to Jars' opening acts! Remember when Burlap opened for Jars? I remember looking around at the shocked faces and shaking heads.... kind of like "what WAS that?". I digress....

If you want to be surprised at an upcoming show..... stop reading now, cause I tend to be detailed and long-winded. If you've seen a Jars' show in the past year or so, you couldn't have missed Matt Nelson on cello and even some bass guitar. He adds a certain beauty to most all the songs.
This set list is awesome for this tour!  I think it's the best mix of old, newer, and newest I've ever been too.

I was delighted  when Jars started with a few lines from "Overjoyed". It was a welcomed blast from the past, which flowed right into the intro to After the Fight. You really need to watch Charlie on this song.... he tears up the piano and looks like he's having a lot of fun with it. Matt is on electric and Steve is playing bass which is different. The piano ending is amazing.

Then they go right into Work with Steve and Matt both playing acoustic, which is different from the album version. Matt Nelson adds a really nice cello bridge.

The next Much Afraid spotlight was Fade to Grey, all acoustic with cello. It always send chills when they stop the instruments and all harmonize the last line.

Like a Child was next with just Matt doing the acoustic solo with Matt Nelson offering the cello ending. It's SO good to have that cello in the live mix. The only thing better would be to have had a violin for Like a Child as well.

Dan then spoke about how they had made an album about community with Steve chiming in about dogs, cats, and the shelter, and how community makes us the best of who we are. Then they played Eyes Wide Open, featuring Steve's acoustic solo.

Dan then introduced "Inand" as their newest record and said it was coming out on August 27th, but for the "people here tonight, it actually comes out tonight!" Then they sang Loneliness and Alcohol with Matt Nelson on bass guitar. This song gets better and better. It's a tough subject to talk about, but the lyrics are really poignant, in contrast the the upbeat rhythm. It's kind of an enigmatic song to me. I think the driving beat actually helps deliver the deeper message of the need to escape "the life you're leaving." It sounds great live.

Then they followed with Fall Asleep, which is so beautiful, but really sad to me. The lyrics are of desperation of a known loss, and for me almost difficult to listen to, but the melody and vocals are pretty amazing. It seems like this song would be difficult vocally for Dan to sing, but he does it perfectly. It starts with just Charlie on piano and Dan on vocals, then Matt Nelson joins in on cello and Steve and Matt come with guitars at the end.

Next is the Depeche Mode cover song "Enjoy the Silence" which I actually had not heard till the Stage It cover concert.... where was I in the 80's?? Who knows?

Flood was next, but I'm telling you it was amazingly different and fresh with the cello. It was all acoustic, like the "good ole days" which I like best. And it's still always followed by that crowd roar which ain't going away.

An acoustic Dead Man followed, and then came the biggest highlight of the night... Inland. Matt starts off on acoustic with Charlie on keys. Dan's voice sounded so clear on this song, with all band members singing the "whoas", which build throughout the song. Steve adds the extra lyrics at the end... this is truly an inspiring song and I think one which will be around for a long time!

Then they said their goodbyes and left the stage, but came back for one of the longest encores in I think Jars' history.

Third biggest highlight for me was Liquid.... the cellist is remarkable makes that song live! 
Followed by
Safe to Land
Only Alive
... and then my second biggest highlight of the night..... which was Frail. It had to be the best and longest Frail ever.... with the cello. Sounded like a mini Stringtown. It's hard to describe because Dan has some electronic thingamobob which he is tapping making the whole room resonate. It sounds great. Wish I knew what it was called. Help me if you know....

I've heard it said in a lot of placesonline lately that "Jars of Clay is BACK!"  Well to me, they never left, but try to pick up he new album Inland. I think it might be their best so far. It's musically full of life.... pain, joy, frustration, hope, doubt, and truth. If you listen to the lyrics carefully, you can pretty much put yourself somewhere in every song.



Reckless Forgiver
Posts: 533
Reply with quote  #2 
Thanks for sharing Libby! I'm looking forward to seeing them at the HoB in Dallas next month. Wish I was seeing them at the Aladdin in Portland (on of my all time favorite venues, and I'm sure a much more responsive crowd than the Church shows they did there towards the end of their Essential years.). Really excited to hear that Matt Nelson is still touring with them. I really hope he's sticking around long term, because Jars and strings go together like peanut butter and jelly.

You just got me very pumped (not that I really need to be to enjoy a Jars show).
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