Gaslight Anthem Play Epic Set at Radio City Music Hall
Posted on Oct 1st 2010 11:00AM by Dan Reilly
The Gaslight Anthem's Radio City Music Hall concert had the vibe of a "hometown boys make good" story, but alas, like New York's NFL teams, the band's roots are actually across the Hudson in New Jersey, which frontman Brian Fallon repeatedly called out Thursday night.
That's not to say that the Gaslight Anthem were spurning New Yorkers; rather, they were playing the biggest headlining show of their young careers, in front of many of their friends and relatives. Four years ago, they were hauling gear out of a ramshackle van to play afternoon gigs in front of a few dozen people at tiny spaces like ABC No Rio and Trash Bar. To put it in perspective, it took the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the National nearly twice as long to make the leap to Radio City.
Over the course of the 24-song set, the band drew from their entire catalog, kicking off the night with 'High Lonesome' from 2008's 'The '59 Sound.' In the past, the band has mainly played their songs louder and faster but without any breakdowns or drawn-out sections, but on Thursday, they took the opportunity to mix things up a bit. Songs were given extra intros and longer guitar solos, and Fallon even handed off guitar duties to an extra musician -- a guitar tech maybe? -- for three songs, allowing him to prowl the stage with the microphone and get his whole body into his singing. And luckily, some early sound issues were corrected after a few songs, bringing Alex Rosamilia's guitar back into the mix and letting Fallon be heard clearly.
When he got back on guitar for 'The '59 Sound,' the entire crowd -- including all three balcony levels -- was singing in full force, and Fallon let the fans take most of the "ain't supposed to die on a Saturday night" lines. The longtime Gaslight devotees were the most vocal on 'I'da Called You Woody Joe,' their Joe Strummer tribute from their debut album 'Sink or Swim.'
"This song is for my mom. I used to sit on the edge of the bed and say 'I want to be in a band.' Any self-respecting parent would let that go a while, but then they see you're serious and think you're Bob Dylan," Fallon said, introducing 'Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts.'
'Great Expectations' and 'We Did It When We Were Young' closed the regular set, with the quartet pausing to look out at Radio City's expanse, clearly in awe, before heading backstage. "What I have to say will come to me tomorrow. Give me your phone numbers, I'll call you then. There are no words -- seriously, thank you," Fallon said when the band returned.
The encore consisted of seven songs, kicking off with 'American Slang,' the title track of their latest album. After charging versions of 'The Patient Ferris Wheel' and 'Say I Won't (Recognize),' the band slowed things down with 'Queen of Lower Chelsea' and 'Here's Looking at You, Kid,' letting fans catch their breath in the sweltering venue, which had the feeling of those tiny punk clubs they used to play.
"This is the coolest thing we've ever done. I thought I was going to be a gas station attendant," Fallon said and led into the anthemic closer, 'The Backseat.' If anything summed up the night, it was a line from 'Here's Looking at You, Kid' -- "I'm famous now for all of these rock 'n' roll songs." Only this time, Fallon wasn't singing to an ex that spurned him; he and his bandmates were playing it for their families, friends and nearly 6,000 of their loyal fans.