Saturday, April 08, 2006

Live Concert Post #3: Matt Nathanson 10-11-02

I got a great response when I posted a couple of tracks from this gig after seeing Matt Nathanson play here in Philadelphia on Tuesday, so I thought I'd upload the whole performance. This show took place at my high school, the one where I work, that is, back in 2002. Here's the backstory.

Matt had been doing his thing for quite a while at that point (his first album, Please, was released in 1993) but I must confess I'd never heard of him then. Beth, a student at school who was really into music, had just started a music magazine and club, and she wanted to bring an emerging talent to school to play a show. She thought Matt would be a great choice because of his fantastic live vibe and because he was still obscure enough that we could afford him on our very modest budget.

As an aside, Beth has since graduated, works for her college radio station and has her own music blog. Check it out here: Guilty Pleasure.

So we contacted Matt's people and after a slew of emails booked the show. Back then Matt was touring on his own, driving his car from town to town. So on the day of the show I got a phone call on my cell from none other than Matt himself, making sure he knew how to get to our school, which is kinda out in the middle of nowhere outside of Philly. The students helping organize the show couldn't believe it when he pulled into the driveway all by himself asking for some help carrying his guitars into the theater - what an amazing chance to meet one of their favorite artists.

I was doing sound for the show, so I got the chance to help Matt set up his minimal gear and work through sound check with him. As one might expect, he loves his monitors to be really loud so it feels like he's "playing a stadium rock show".

The show itself went really well, and Matt kicked ass on our little stage. After the performance he took a couple of minutes to towel off and then spent over an hour chatting with students, signing autographs and taking pictures with fans. It's no wonder his fanbase is so rabid. Very few artists take that much time to let their fans have a personal interaction with them.

Finally, things wound down and Matt retired backstage to have a bite to eat. Beth and I joined him so she could interview him for our music magazine. The three of us ended up shooting the breeze for a few hours about music, TV shows, teaching (Matt said he'd considered going into teaching and thought he might still try it out if his music career didn't pan out. Funny thing to think about now b/c he's doing so well...), and making a career in the music business. Turns out he loved The X-Files and Buffy The Vampire Slayer, two of my favorite TV shows of all time. It was a real treat to spend so much time with such a talented guy, and I wish I'd been more familiar with his music before I got to meet him.

Matt Nathanson: 10-11-02
01 - Intro
02 - Miracles
03 - (stories)
04 - Wings
05 - Pretty The World
06 - (tough being a rockstar)
07 - I Saw
08 - All Been Said Before
09 - Lucky Boy
10 - Loud
11 - Starfish And Coffee* -> Stayin' Alive% -> Jesse's Girl#
12 - Prove To Me -> (moment in New York)
13 - Church Clothes
14 - (chickentastic) -> Sad Songs
15 - Weight Of It All
16 - Answering Machine
17 - Living On A Prayer**
18 - Intro (positive song) ->
19 - America*** -> Little Victories

* = Prince cover
% = Bee Gees cover
# = Rick Springfield cover
** = Bon Jovi cover
*** = Paul Simon cover
PS Slapchar's Journal has some video of Matt playing at Jammin' Java in VA 04-03-06, including a full version of the new song "Car Crash", which threatens to be one of his best tunes yet.

PPS Unfortunately, the photos above weren't taken in 2002. I can't seem to find my pictures from that show, so these are from Matt's return to my school this past fall for a Katrina Relief concert we held there.



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