David Gray - Live @ York Barbican.
Saturday March 30th, York Barbican. I'd love and hate to be in David Gray's shoes. Reason for saying is this is as a prolific singer songwriter with a tonne of material spanning from 1992 to now, how on earth can you compact a career that long into a set list? Well safe to say David Gray did it with grace and soul. He let his music do all of the talking and just proved that music speaks more than words. Kicking off last nights proceedings we were treated the sounds of "L.A. Salami" a singer songwriter from London who wondered on stage like it was his front room sporting a Freddie Mercury style jacket with music and lyrics that were so incredibly honest and reflective, it put a trance on the crowd and could easily transport you to his life in London.
"The Talisman on the Age Of Glass" really stuck out, a song about listening to the wisdom of a wiseman whilst on acid in Normandy really struck a chord with everyone in the crowd. His performance for me echoed that of Bob Dylan, just him, an acoustic and a good old harmonica laying it all out there and sharing his story. A fantastic craftsman.
David Gray walked on stage to a thunderous applause. What you've got to respect and love is that David Gray's first 8 songs were off his current album "Gold in a Brass Age". "Mallory", "The Sappling", "The Brass Age", "Watching The Waves", "It's Late", "The Tight Ship", "If 8 Were 9" and "Hurricane Season". On the record these songs are pure and simply fantastic and the use of electronics with soulful music and lyric is genius, but live it sounds just as impressive! The production thats gone on with the light show and use of the artwork from the singles just emphasises the creative process of this album and the care that the stage crew has put into this. If you're a fan of his older stuff and want to check out his current sound I recommend "If 8 Were 9" or "Watching The Waves" as a starting point.
With a simple "1,2,3,4" the opening chord of "Sail Away" threw the crowd into fantastic form singing every word with every inch of their being, it was as though they were being taken back to when they heard that record for the first time.
Carrying on the nostalgic trip with "Be Mine" and "Freedom" which was accompanied by fans shouting "Where have you been David?!" and "Oh My God he's playing Freedom!" Just made the wait at the start worth it. His voice is still as strong as it was in the 90's but if anything it's more blended with more soul. Like a nice whiskey. Throughout the set David Gray fills the show perfectly with music fans love. Taking a portion of the show just him with a piano and a guitar playing songs, at this section "The One I Love" stood out. Which from his Instagram account shows this wasn't even on the set list!
As the show progressed David Gray was still grooving and throwing himself around to the music, and when it came to "Babylon" no words were needed, just "1,2,3,4" and boom. Magic, everyone being transported to when they first heard that fantastic track. Daivd Gray came back out after a thunderous applause and played "This Years Love" delivered with as much passion and soul as you would expect.
After thanking the crowd for coming he uttered, "Here's a country western song" and we were treated to the classic "Please Forgive Me" where literally everyone was on their feet dancing, clapping letting it all out, a perfect way to round off a great gig.
- Words and pictures by Harrison Rimmer