We had the greatest expectations

The Gaslight Anthem – Cologne, E-Werk; October 26th, 2012

I had been looking forward to seeing The Gaslight Anthem again. I love their New Jersey sound and the music that makes me want to jump and dance and scream along at the top of my lungs. Remembering their last concert in Cologne I was waiting for a night of forgeting all worries. Even though their lyrics are far from “happy-go-lucky” their gigs usually turn into a big party with pogoing, dancing and crowd surfing. All this went on this time around as well but this time it failed to draw me fully in. For most of the concert I was merely a spectator, but not a part of it.

I had gotten there early, but not early enough so I barely made it to the front. When we finally got inside it was good to get warm feet again- wearing Chucks had not been the most brilliant idea. Spent a nice time chatting with those around me until it started. Dave Hause was the first to play. I remembered him from last year’s Revival Tour, but soon realized I had forgotten how good he was. I thoroughly enjoyed his 30 minute set and all of his songs. Some fans that had been on tour with The Gaslight Anthem for a few concerts already, had made signs with the lyrics to a song they wanted to hear, because he had told them he didn’t remember it. His reaction was this: “Oh I know the lyrics, I can’t remember the chords.” 😀 He loved it that people knew his songs though and commented he didn’t want to play anywhere without them. This was a great start and after he left the stage I was ready for the main act.

Unfortunately they had another support act: Blood Red Shoes, a drummer and guitarist duo that both sang. They did not work for me at all. The drums were too loud, the guitar too silent, the guy screamed into the microphone more than he sang and I didn’t hear much of the woman. The music was punkish and the lyrics somewhat repetitive – it completely failed to move me. A few songs sounded OK and if the mix had been better, I might have liked those, but as it was, I just waited for the set to be over. Therefore all the good vibes that Dave Hause had brought had vanished into thin air by the time Blood Red Shoes ended their 40 minute set.

Luckily it only took 20 minutes to change the stage and The Gaslight Anthem started with ‘Mae’ as many had hoped. They were greeted enthusiastically as they walked on stage. Singer Brian Fallon made a remark of being back for the second night in a row and “lets make it three nights next time”. The guys sang and played their hearts out from the beginning, but I had some trouble getting back in the mood, even though they played ‘The ’59 Sound’ And ‘Boomboxes and Dictionaries’, two of my favorites next. The wait had just been a bit too long for my liking.

Overall they played a good set though, and nicely mixed songs from their latest album “Handwritten” with earlier tracks, hits with lesser-known songs. Brian entertained us with comments and stories about other bands, but wasn’t so talkative otherwise. The guys enjoyed playing for sure and the audience loved them. There was a lot of dancing and even some crowd surfing going on. They played some more of my favorites too like ‘The Patient Ferris Wheel’ or ‘Keepsake’ so I got into it about halfway through their main set. It took about an hour and 15 minutes and we called them back after for a few song encore. They ended it all with ‘Great Expectation’, surely one of the high points for me.

There was a lot of yelling for more when they left the stage and I was convinced they would come out again, but the lights went on and it was over. While I enjoyed their set it seemed much too short, especially compared to the two support acts. So overall the show was good and fun, but left me with a touch of disappointment, because it ended too soon. I’ve not given up on them though, I’ll go back to see them again next year.

Setlist
Mae
The ’59 Sound
Boomboxes and Dictionaries
The Diamond Church Street Choir
45
Here Comes My Man
I’da Called You Woody, Joe
Angry Johnny and the Radio
Handwritten
The Patient Ferris Wheel
Señor and the Queen
Mulholland Drive
Keepsake
Sliver (Nirvana cover)
Howl
Blue Dahlia
She Loves You
The Backseat

Encore:
We Came to Dance
American Slang
1930
Great Expectations

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