Concert Reviews

Gavin DeGraw @ House of Blues – 6.22.09

Gavin Degraw Concert Review – House of Blues Cleveland – 06.22.09

Listening to Gavin DeGraw’s older albums such as the upbeat ‘Chariot’ from 2003 and comparing it to the release of his new album, ‘Free,’ there is a 180° difference. On the new album, the main focus is the song writing; very little production was used. One might ask how this is going to affect DeGraw’s live show: Is it going to make it boring to see this album performed live?

Opening the show was a song from his self-titled sophomore release, “ I Have You to Thank,” an upbeat pop song where DeGraw’s vocal range is showcased. DeGraw was backed by a band, however, he spent most of the night tickling the ivory, keeping true to his signature piano based sound. DeGraw answered the question above from the get-go. This was not going to be a boring show.

Slowing things down a bit was the title track off his new album, ‘Free,’ is a song that showcases not only DeGraw’s immense vocal abilities but also his songwriting. Using very little background music, this track is all about Gavin. If one had the chance to see only this song performed live, most would agree that this guy is the real deal.

The night was a blend of upbeat and slow songs, but the very unique “Chemical Party”from his self-titled album seemed to really be the song to get the crowd going. The song itself is different from most of DeGraw’s songs, but seemed to have caught the audience’s attention

(I am sure it has nothing to do with the lyrics, “you’re just too high to see the point, you think your nameis pass the joint’).
“This song changed my life,” the excited DeGraw told the diverse crowd of young girls, middle-aged women, and much older men. Not surprisingly, this was the introduction to Gavin’s first single off his debut album, “I Don’t Wanna Be,” which was the theme song to the hit WB television show, ‘One Tree Hill.’ If there was one song that the crowd expected to be performed perfect it would be this song, that was not only on television, but was also a huge radio hit. The performance was energetic and DeGraw even at one point was thinking about doing a back-flip off his piano. (Thank God he decided against that!) Personally, I could not have asked for a better ending to his set.The hesitations I had at the beginning of the night about the live show were completely thrown out the window by DeGraw’s performance. Gavin found a perfect blend of the minimalist ‘Free’ album, but stayed true to his older works by providing the pop-rock sound that his fans have grown accustom to hearing.

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