Sunday, June 1, 2003
"The man just keeps getting better with age", the concertgoer said to me in the lobby as we filed out of Danís stellar performance tonight here in the Philadelphia area. I agreed with him as I contemplated just what a joyful night it had been watching Dan at the top of his game. The show was just 21/2 hours long, and I rushed home to type this and post it on the web. I had not written a review last year, but this year was different. I want to set down just how wonderful I find Dan. So get ready for a lot of adjectives and descriptions of things you probably donít care about. But for me it is about the total experience so here goes.
My seats were in the fourth row. Very close, so I could see everything very well. The Keswick was full tonight and they played Full Circle as we waited for Dan to begin. I realized then that I already have most of the songs memorized (Iíd only picked up the CD on Saturday). Onstage were Danís chair with 5 guitars lined up waiting for Dan to use them. The stage was abustle with 6 technicians getting things ready for the band, obviously a more sophisticated gig than his solo shows. As usual, there was a diverse audience present to hear Dan. Singles, couples, old and young alike waited with anticipation.
Dan arrived dressed in a jacket over a Hawaiian shirt. We welcomed him with a standing ovation. He really joked with the crew and audience throughout the evening. Dan is very happy, moreso than I have ever seen him. He seemed rejuvenated somehow. His vocals are rich and he showed a renewed passion for his songs. His voice was strong and gentle (thereís that integration again), and it poured over us as he seemed to caress us with his voice.
He opened with a dynamite version of Nexus. His guitar work was fresh, alive and rich. He played it as if for the first time. He did not stick to the set list and omitted Hard to Say, Reason to Run, Beggarís Game and Donít Lose Heart. Instead he played the finest version of Make Love Stay that I think I have ever heard. He skipped Nature of the Game and did Leader of the Band in such a way that it brought tears to my eyes. His performance of this song just gets more powerful each year. He did the instrumental, Lazy Susan and finished up with Same Old Lang Syne.
The band came out without an intermission or any fanfare. They went right into a disappointing version of Part of the Plan. It was just not kicking enough and had a too slow tempo for my taste. They then did a nice jazzy version of Heart Hotels, and a bluesy version of Crow with great guitar work by Robert McEntee. Next came a lively and very country version of Full Circle, and an equally lovely rendition of Reach Haven Postcard. Dan performed a powerful and strong version of The Reach, a sailorís song if there ever was one. This was followed by Missing you, As The Raven Flies and The Power of Gold. The guitar work on these was phenomenal and spawned three separate standing ovations. His prowess on the electric guitar is absolutely awesome!
And just for a moment as the band was performing Missing You, I was 30 instead of 50, and remembered the way he used to really rock with this number. Dan finished up with the anthemic Thereís a Place in the World for a Gambler during which we all sang our hearts out with him. It was a wonderful ending to a fabulous evening, which I shall never forget. It was one of the finest Dan Fogelberg concerts I have ever experienced
(Picture from Portsmouth 2002)