In December, Matt Nathanson announced a tour. After his fall tour I had joined his patreon which got me early access to tickets – which was a good thing because the show at Daryl’s house sold out very quickly. Shortly after I got an email that Stephen Kellogg would also be playing and when I went to the website to see if it was true – I saw an earlier show was added and snagged a ticket before it had even been announced anywhere. Two concerts with 2 of my faves in one day? Amazing.
Then I decided I was going to be an overachiever and write the review for the first show in the break between the shows and keep track of the setlists and… then I was told “we’re putting all the single tickets together up front, is that ok?” and was brought to the table right underneath the microphone and was one “row” back. I couldn’t be typing out setlist notes during the show with them right on top of me! So all that went out the window and now you’re getting 2 shows 1 post.
Stephen did a slightly shortened opener set due to the two shows and short turnaround. He did only 1 song repeated during both sets – that one being To the Ones Who Need It Most. His first set was great but otherwise uneventful, though he did seem to be a bit emotional. During the second set, there were some LOUD people at the bar which was obviously really getting on his nerves and he ended up dedicating To the Ones Who Need It Most to them – after telling them he hated them – since the song is about loving the people who are the hardest to love. I’m not sure they ended up getting the hint and supposedly they also were the ones causing issues during Matt’s setS as well. Yes. Plural. He also gave me a punch in the arm before leaving the stage after his second set which absolutely baffled the woman next to me. (There were 3 “singles” both shows – but one swapped out to the bar for the second show so this woman didn’t know that we were there the first time and also that I kind of “know” Stephen after having gone to so many of his shows over the years.)
Matt mixed up his sets pretty decently as well – both shows had 17 songs but other than a handful of what I’d consider to be the “staples” for this leg of the tour he mixed things up a lot and he mixed up what was on the setlist a lot too – even taking requests from the audience. I believe Sad Songs was one of the requests and he was glad the requester was right across from him so he could connect. There were some asking for Wedding Dress but he said he played it his entire last tour and also because he’s been having vocal issues it probably wasn’t an option and he’d try to play it for that person next time. Then a couple shouted out for Little Victories – one being a woman who used it to help her learn to walk again after breaking her pelvis while she was pregnant. This story won over Matt and he added it to the end of the set. He also broke out into a random St Elmo’s Fire in the middle of the set. The second show he started playing the Sweet Child O Mine riff and the audience just took over and sang most of the song, much to Matt’s delight. The second show there was MORE yelling for Wedding Dress (he kept saying no!) but after several were yelling for Bill Murray he ended up giving it a go – even though again he referenced his vocal issues and said he had some tea so he’d give it a go. There also was a conversation about testicles that went on for far too long – and even made its way into the second set as well.
Apparently the yelling out is a common occurrence at Matt shows – and a lot of fans have been bringing it up as being really obnoxious and people need to know when to back off and when to keep going. I feel like Matt eggs them on a bit too, which doesn’t help because then everyone who wants some sort of attention ends up joining in. While it does lead to some fun back and forths, it also can be incredibly disruptive… (Though I will say the guy who yelled out a song that ended up with Matt doing a Cookie Monster song request impression was gold)
I was happy to survive the best seat in the house – after the first set I figured I’d be fine if they put us there again, as Matt tended to look out instead of down – but then ended up asking me about covid in the middle of the second show instead and saw my not so pleasant reaction to him mentioning Taylor Swift which caused him to shrug. (I think it was before he did “I Saw” which after some googling apparently caused some beef between him and Taylor since she might have taken some lyrics from him…)
When SK was announced as the opener I had considered adding a few more shows – though I am glad in the end I didn’t because the weather ended up being quite ick. While it would have been nice to see them a few more times, this double header was a ton of fun and I’m looking forward to the next tours for both of them.