Chastain Park Amphitheatre
Sunday, June 8, 2003
OK EVERyONe I am finally getting a chance to post about the show this past Sunday night at Chastain. It was, in one word, awesome!! First, it was a beautiful night -- 3/4 moon, no clouds (thank goodness all that rain from the day before cleared) and nice temperatures in the 70s with a cool breeze. I knew we were in for a great night of music when we walked into the amphitheater at Chastain and heard the sounds of Full Circle coming over the loudspeaker. I thought this was a really nice touch. Not only had I missed not hearing Full Circle while in Atlanta (it has been in my car playing constantly since I got it in late May), but also I've always wondered why at concerts they play other people's music while you are waiting. I believe this is the first time I got to hear the person I had come to see in concert before the show even began. A really nice touch, and a good way to get some exposure for Full Circle.
There was an opening act -- a local woman from Atlanta whose name I do not recall. She was excellent -- of the country/folk rock/blues type. Hard to categorize. She had an excellent voice and was great on the guitar. Dan always seems to pick winning opening acts.
Then, a little before 9:00 we heard that familiar announcement, "Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Dan Fogelberg." I didn't see the infamous wooden chair onstage so I was wondering what was going on, but not for long. He came out with the full band and launched into a rocking version of Part of the Plan. If you read the review of the Raleigh show, it seems that this show was pretty much the same, including the set list (I won't give a separate set list here -- it was the same as Raleigh from what I remember). He started with an acoustic set with band, and then after about a half hour of that, the band left and he announced he would be coming back for some solo acoustic songs after a short break. Within literally 2 minutes of leaving the stage, Dan walked back out, with no fanfare at all. He just unassumingly walked up to his chair (his trusty old wooden chair, which was put on the stage after the band's acoustic set) and started playing. His versions of some of the hits were amazing this year -- particularly memorable of the hits were Leader of the Band, Same Old Lang Syne & Make Love Stay. He seemed to find something new in these songs to make them all sound fresh and particularly poignant, and you could have heard a pin drop when he was playing solo -- the audience really appreciated Dan and gave him several standing ovations.
After the solo set, Dan brought back the band (whom he had introduced throughout the evening) and they played an electrifying electric set -- for those of you who like electric guitar, Dan was on fire in Atlanta! He did several extended electric guitar sets (Power of Gold & As the Raven Flies come to mind). This was definitely a rocking evening.
The best part was that Dan's voice was perfect -- better than last year, and he even hit some higher notes that I thought we'd never hear from him again, like on Power of Gold). The 2 friends I was with -- one of whom had never seen him before in concert -- couldn't believe how wonderful he sounded (and looked). He sounded a little scratchy on the opening number, Part of the Plan, but that faded as soon as he moved into the second song, Heart Hotels. So don't fear if he sounds a little off right at the beginning -- after seeing him so many times it seems he just needs to warm up and once he does he will sound like an angel.
Dan ended the show with 2 encores. The first was Gambler, complete with audience participation. I had never heard this in concert, so this was a treat! Atlanta really loves Dan and he knew it that night, esp. during Gambler. After that, the band exited the stage and then came back once more for Blow Wind Blow. They ended right at 11:00 as in Dan's own words "We have to get out of here at 11 or the neighbors will be pissed." Dan did not seem to want to leave the stage though -- he actually lingered thanking the audience, while several "sweet magnolias" were thrown onto the stage. He really seemed to appreciate all the applause and adoration -- I've never seen Dan this relaxed in concert and certainly had never seen him linger onstage -- in past years he always took off pretty quickly. It's a side of him I really like -- you can just see the peace and happiness he's found in his life.
As far as the set list goes, I was pretty happy with it. There were songs he played that I did not need to hear and others I would have loved him to play that he didn't (like something else from Captured Angel, or something from Phoenix or Nether Lands) but Dan really gave a well rounded show -- there were songs of every genre presented, so I trust Dan's judgment to put together a show that appeals to everyone. The songs that were not played during the night were Old Tennessee, Beggar's Game & Nexus. Other than that he pretty much stuck to the set lists that have previously been posted (Full Circle & Reach Haven Postcard were played from the new CD -- both were excellent). I did enjoy hearing songs I had never heard in concert and there were several this time -- for any of you who have complained in the past that every show of Dan's is the same you are in for a treat because this show is definitely not the same as even last year's show with the band! It really showcases the variety of Dan's work. (One interesting point -- during part of the acoustic band set, Dan asked the audience what everyone would like to hear and people started shouting songs out from all over the amphitheater -- ones that were loudly requested were Wysteria & Tucson Arizona. Dan seemed really amused and gratified by all the requests and said that since he could not accommodate all of them they would do what Robert wanted, and that was The Reach).
Last but not least I have to comment on how Dan looked. Simply wonderful -- he was dressed exactly as you see him in the new picture on Dan's official website where he's sitting on the plane leaving Atlanta -- white button down shirt with beige pants & his fisherman sandals (sorry sunnyday ). And his happiness and excitement about this tour and the new CD shone through loud and clear, and heightened how good he looked. My friends couldn't help commenting on how handsome he looked (sorry guys -- had to throw it in).
That's about it -- my Dan fix for the year and it was a good one. My experience at Chastain was much better than last year. We ended up moving to seats in a row with tables that was somewhat empty, in a pretty good position to the stage (unfortunately not as close as some of you in Indy & Raleigh & other venues but good nonetheless), and the weather cooperated which was a big plus. I only wish I could see him again on this tour -- those of you who haven't seen him are in for a big treat! Enjoy!! Oh, P.S. Dan did say as he left the stage, “Thank you and see you next time.” He gave no indication that this tour would be the last!!!