Matt Nathanson at Daryl’s House

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.

Stephen Kellogg @ Stage One

Thursday night, my 50th and last show for the year was Stephen Kellogg’s hometown show at the Fairfield Theater.  When the show started, Danny Black came out on stage by himself to play guitar and Stephen ended up walking around the crowd giving hugs and high fives to audience members while singing High Highs, Low Lows.  After his second song he said that he had an easel on stage and that each of the songs would fit under one of those topics and the topics would all be drawn out of a hat so we had no idea what show we would end up getting.  He also had to let Danny know what they would be playing and said that he might not even know all the songs so we’ll get what we get.  The first two songs were “Work” so he crossed that off and then the rest of the set was Parents, Legacy, Kids, Friends, Marriage, Sense of Humor, Health, Time, Heroes, Forgiveness and Integrity.  He did two songs for the encore after that, the second one being See You Later, See You Soon with the Kellogg Sisters.  (Sophia had also come out to play piano on Sweet Sophia)

During Objects In The Mirror he ended up calling out some people who were on the side of the stage and talking and asking them what they were talking about and if they could please read the room because everyone else was being polite and listening while he was singing.  He ended up having to almost reprimand that side of the room a couple of more times because there was so much talking and then they yelled back “You’re not even looking at us!” so he told them if they wanted him to look at them they should have bought tickets that were facing the stage instead of being so entitled.  I have to say, I love sassy SK and he kept saying he “wasn’t sure who it was” but I had an idea and after they dramatically made a scene leaving (just before ‘sense of humor’) I was pretty sure Stephen DID know who they were.  This was confirmed when he came out at the encore and made a comment about how the show got so much better once that couple left.  Honestly though, he was the headliner, you had to have had SOME idea what you were getting into? And not that I condone ever speaking during someone’s performance – it’s not like he was a crappy opener or something! Also they could have easily went out the side they were sitting on, but had to walk in front of the stage to make sure everyone knew they were leaving. *eye roll*  I’m glad they left though because they were going to derail the show entirely if it kept going how it was.

With the way we had setlist roulette going on, it was a lot of fun to see what topics were chosen and which song SK would ultimately end up singing.  He had 2 pages in front of him that I thought were the setlist – but it must have just been a list of several songs that went under each topic. I’m assuming he did the same type of thing for his last 2 solo shows before this one and there’s definitely some variety in the setlist.

Also during the show Danny Black did an awesome guitar solo and then threw his pick and it hit my in the leg. I ended up finding it under the seat of the guy next to me with the assist from the guy in front of me! So that was pretty cool.

Stephen Kellogg at the Wolfs Den

Friday night Stephen Kellogg and his band returned to the Wolf’s Den at Mohegan Sun to kick off the Keep It Up Kid tour.  The Wolf Den is a first come, first served general admission venue in the middle of the casino. You are allowed to line up starting 3 hours before the show – so for an 8pm start, 5pm.  I ended up getting there just a little after 5 and no one was in line at all. Stephen was doing soundcheck, so I sat at a nearby slot machine and watched soundcheck for about an hour. After a couple others started the line, I hopped in and we were let in shortly after.  Initially there was only about 10 people inside, but slowly the crowd grew.  The floor was all open for dancing and once the show started some people made their way down there but no one was right up against the stage until Stephen said for the encore they should make it feel like a concert and move up.

I was surprised that Stephen started his set with Thanksgiving, it’s long and not one of my favorites but I seem to be in the minority there.  The rest of the set was a nice variety with some new off his upcoming album (that technically is out already if you visit the kellogg family store) that is due out in December and a mix of older tunes as well.  I was really happy for “My Favorite Place” which is one of my favorites and the encore of Big Easy and See You Later See You Soon with dancing and a sing-a-long was just what I needed!

With no big show in the arena the casino was almost like a ghost town which meant I could finally get to Krispy Kreme post show without the line being down the entire hallway! Kind of a surprise for a Friday night.


Stephen Kellogg @Stage One


Last night, Stephen Kellogg brought his Sad Songs, Funny Stories tour to Stage One in Fairfield.  For this show, all attendees were required to either be vaccinated or have a negative covid test to attend.  I had on my N99 and another disposable mask over top, so I am hoping that was my best line of defense.  (Guess we’ll fine out when I have to test negative to get to Jamaica in 10 days. eek.)

SK started his set with a medley of The Open Heart, Glassjaw Boxer and Irish Goodbye and teased that what if the whole show was like that and he just did a couple lines of all of his songs and then said it was over.  The show was broken up into 4, possibly 5, acts: Life, Love, Family and Legacy. The 5th act would be the encore.  While the set was short, there was a lot more stories than usual (although apparently we got a more edited version because his wife and kids were in the audience)  He also played the Foreigner song “Hot Blooded” and told us to listen to the lyrics closely and think about them in terms of today.  If you haven’t, you should. It’s probably more entertaining with Stephen explaining it, but most of it you can probably figure out for yourself.

I was happy that he ended his Legacy set with one of my favorites, My Favorite Place and I really liked his new song, It Goes Fast.  Closing out the year with an SK show is a tradition of sorts so I am glad that he ended up bookending my 2021 concert experience and being my first and last CT shows in 2021.

Stephen Kellogg at the Kate 6/10/21

Thursday night was my first full capacity not socially distanced show since I guess February 2020. (Although that was Jamaica and is a bit different, so it may have even been December 2019 – either way it’s been a LONG time) February 2020 was also when I bought the ticket to this show and it had gotten bumped a few times before being rescheduled for a year after the initial June 2020 show date.  Stephen Kellogg got the honors – after he was also a staple of my 2020 online concert going experience having to pivot his book tour to a fully online production he put on from his home and eventually extending it to special shows throughout the whole year.

I won’t lie and say I was fully excited about going to this show.  Being in a full room of people, masks optional if you’re vaccinated, was a scary thought.  I was nervous. I was surprised I knew where my ticket was.  I forgot my earplugs.  I couldn’t figure out when doors were. I opted to wear my mask because having a neurological disorder, it seems like an easy way to bring my risk down a bit more even though I am now fully vaccinated.

Stephen came out solo to start the show, a big smile on his face, happy to see a room full of people and started with “On The Road Again”, no doubt an ode to being able to be back out in front of humans and not just staring at a camera projecting to us via computer screens.  Then his band joined him – this was his first full band show in many, many months!  His older 2 daughters also came out to sing for a couple of songs and the younger 2 joined them to lead the dance moves to “Big Easy”, it’s always great to see the girls and how happy Stephen always seems when they are on stage with him.  When I first started going to SK6ers shows, his oldest daughter was just a baby!

I thought the setlist was a great mix and my 2 favorites back to back ended the main set so that had me pumped!  When Stephen came out for the encore he asked if there was a certain person in the audience and then he asked his date to marry him! She said yes! What a way to kick off live shows again! (He also said someone else emailed offering $500 if he’d play a specific song – and he denied the request)

After the show, my cousin was invited backstage and I got to tag along.  It was crazy and hectic and everything that I imagined backstage would be, but it was nice to say hi and chat a bit with Stephen as well as Eric who played guitar during the show (and co-wrote many songs with Stephen on his latest release!)

Overall the night went well and has made me feel a bit better about re-entering the world (albeit slowly and still masked for a bit longer)  But my body was not used to being out so late and socializing and I totally had to take a 2.5 hour nap today because of it!  Hopefully I haven’t lost my concert stamina forever and it’ll come back like riding a bike! 😉

Stephen Kellogg at Stage One

Friday night I went to my last show of the decade (!!) which happened to be an almost yearly tradition of Stephen Kellogg.  Parking was an absolute nightmare at the train station, I guess everyone opted to go to the city on their vacation but I parked with about 2 minutes to spare before I needed to check in for VIP.  VIP consisted of The America Song and May Day.  Some chitchat about fatherhood and his book being finished among other things. We took photos and then it was time for doors to open.

Casey opened the night and I thought she had a beautiful voice even if none of her songs were happy. (She suggested to look her up on Spotify by her song “Dying” so search – Casey Dying to find her.)  The one song she said might have been considered happy – was called Grey.  “Branding is important!” lol  She is from NY so maybe I’ll get to catch her again soon. (Turns out she was also on idol season 13 but I don’t remember her!)

Stephen came out to Pomp and Circumstance.  Then he went in to Four Kids and Satisfied Man, which seem to be a staple at these homecoming shows with his family all present.  Then he told us he had instructions and we had to listen to them all before doing anything.  Under our seats was a piece of paper. And a pencil. We were to pick ONE song we wanted him to sing and for the rest of the set, he would choose from a hat songs we requested and so if the rest of the show sucked – it was our fault.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pick “Gravity” or “My Favorite Place” but I overheard the woman next to me say she was putting down “Gravity” so I went for “My Favorite Place.”

First picked out of the hat was… Satisfied Man. Which he played BEFORE he gave us instructions.  He also later pulled out Four Kids. *shrug emoji*  First pick ended up being Fourth of July – as was 2nd pick so he pretended like he was going to start it again.  My pick came up 3rd! Yay!  Gravity never did, but with the exception of Thanksgiving (I don’t know what it is about that song, I just can’t get into it but it seems to be a big fan favorite otherwise so it must just be me) it was a very solid set.  He did almost not want to do See You Later, See You Soon so early in the set – it’s usually near the end – but it worked.   He picked a couple more songs and then said he had something else planned out and brought out Eric Donnelly to play guitar for “Objects in the Mirror” and finished out the set with Milwaukee and went in the crowd for the final song – he said he had played at his daughter’s school recently and was going to play this song because it is their song he sings her before bed.  She told him “I wouldn’t” and so he wanted her to see it was “cool” and had us all do a big sing along to – You Are My Sunshine.  Definitely an interesting way to close out the show, but a lot of fun too!

And so I closed out my decade doing a sing a long to You are my Sunshine and I’m not really mad about it. He did mention maybe doing TWO shows in Fairfield next year so that would be pretty exciting especially if he has some fun things up his sleeves for sets.

Stephen Kellogg Setlist StageOne, Fairfield Theatre Company, Fairfield, CT, USA 2019, Alone for the Holidays

Stephen Kellogg Stage One Fairfield, CT

My last show of the year as I believe it has been for the past couple years, was Stephen Kellogg. For this show he was accompanied by Eric Donnelly on guitar and Taylor Carson opened.  The show was promoting his latest release, “Objects in the Mirror” which I unfortunately didn’t have a chance to fully listen to before the show.  (In an effort to remedy this I have purchased a discman for listening to CDs at work now – so expect more CD reviews in 2019.)

During Song for Daughters I started to tear up a bit and thought to myself… how can he perform these songs that are so emotional and probably mean more to him than me, and make it through without crying?  Well… I got my answer on the next song – he can’t.  By the end of Objects in the Mirror he was crying and talked a little bit about it before playing Prayers on the keyboard.

The second half of the setlist was requests shouted out from the audience and I am not sure how he understood what anyone was saying… and maybe he didn’t and just picked what he wanted to play pretending it was a request. *shrug*

For the last song of the main set, Last Man Standing, 2 of his 4 daughters joined him on stage and for the last song of the encore he did See You Later See You Soon on the “b stage” like Taylor Swift would do (ugh) and kept yelling for us to sing THREE MORE! and was joined by Taylor Carson.  A great show for the last show of 2018 and looking forward to seeing him again in 2019 even though at the moment his tour is not returning to CT.

Stephen Kellogg at Infinity Hall

I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it to Stephen Kellogg’s last show of the year at Infinity Hall. We were due for snow and it was supposed to go through midnight.  I wasn’t so much worried about driving in it as I was slipping and falling on my ass since this venue doesn’t have the greatest selection when it comes to parking.  However the snow ended around 4 and it seemed like Norfolk was going to get just a small coating compared to the 3 or so inches at my house so I made my way there.  Roads were relatively fine and I made it into the venue and into VIP without incident.  There were 8 of us for VIP where Stephen came to hang out and perform 2 songs for us – barefoot.  It was funny because it was so cold yet he was barefoot but all I could think about was the next time I’d see him would be on the beach – where it would be much more appropriate to be barefoot.  Anyway… he did “Diamond” and “Learn to Live” as the VIP songs and told us a bit of the back story about writing songs and how Diamond came about shortly before his wedding.

At 8pm it was show time and Chris Koza opened the show. I liked how he told a story about each of the songs and what the title was before he sang them. (Of course I didn’t bother to keep track, but it would have been helpful if I wasn’t being super lazy and wanted to keep track of a setlist)

Stephen took the stage and started with his Four Kids medley and went into Satisfied Man.  He also told some stories before his songs, most of them I had heard before but he does seem to tell them in just a bit of a different way each time.  He apologized to anyone who may have been dragged there and hadn’t seen him before as he tries to play more “deep cuts” on his holiday tours than his usual tours.  He brought out his daughter Adeline for a few songs to sing with him, Chris came out and sang as well and 3/4 of his daughters led us in dance for “Big Easy” when we were in the middle of the dance moves for “turn it up, make it loud” Stephen laughed thinking about if someone came in right at that moment and would think we were a cult.  The show was a ton of fun, Stephen had a ton of energy, as always, even if it was his last show of the mini tour.

I successfully made it back to my car (and was glad a couple people asked along the way if I was doing alright and were ready to help me out if I was not!) and home… the only incident being an accident that I was fortunately not involved in but got stuck for 30 minutes waiting while emergency crews took care of the scene.

Stephen Kellogg at the Ridgefield Playhouse

Saturday September 9th Stephen Kellogg brought his Postcards Tour to the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, CT. Before the show I had the pleasure of experiencing a back stage VIP pre-show set and Q&A. He played 2 older songs which he needed lyric sheets to help him out – Rock in the Crossroads and Take Me Into Town. He mentioned that both of those songs were written in the 90s. For the Q&A I asked him what song he wishes he had written and he said that financially wise he wished he had written something like ‘Shape of You’ but personally he wants to write something like Harry Chapin’s “Cats in the Cradle” and once he feels like he has achieved that he would stop writing family songs.

The cool thing about this tour is that upon entering the venue you are given 3 stickers and then over by the merchandise table there was a large poster board with a picture of SK and a list of all his songs. You put your stickers on the 3 songs you wanted to hear – OR if you really wanted to hear something you could put all 3 on one song. My votes were Anthem of Our Discovery, Gravity and My Favorite Place. Stephen made the setlist up for the show based on what the audience most wanted to hear so the setlists have been varying widely from show to show.

Opening the show was James Maddock and I found it interesting that he played the same song twice to open the set. Each had different lyrics because he had written two different version of it. (The song was called “Once There Was a Boy” and if you look it up on line there seems to be 2 “parts” to it)

Then it was time for Stephen to take the stage. In addition to playing the songs the audience had voted for he also talked a bit about some of them as well. For Shady Esperanto he brought out his 4 daughters to lead us in clapping on stage. As far as the voting – I ended up getting Gravity and Anthem of Our Discovery in the set. At the encore he started doing Days but kind of threw in a mash up / medley of all the songs that we yelled out that we hadn’t heard and My Favorite Place was in there. A lot of people were yelling for Sweet Sophia and he said he would NOT play just 1 of the songs for his daughters when all 4 of them were there and put them in therapy – so the mashup also included Sweet Sophia, Oh Adeline, Noelle Noelle and Greta Girl to cover all the girls!

I wish I was able to go to more shows on this tour because I absolutely LOVE the thought of the setlist being mixed up so much each show! I’ve been following along with them on and I think they are in the 60s for unique songs so far in the sets!

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