By John Curley
Gary Clark Jr.’s United States tour in support of his latest album, This Land, hit New York City’s beautiful Beacon Theatre for three consecutive sold-out shows that took place from March 21st through 23rd. Clark and his band put on a fantastic performance at the last of the Beacon Theatre shows on Saturday the 23rd that had the raucous, packed house cheering loudly throughout.
The evening kicked off right on time at 8 p.m. with the opening set by New York City-based artist Fiona Silver. Her 30-minute set was very entertaining. Silver has something of an ‘80s rocker vibe. She sings and plays rhythm guitar. She was backed at the start of her set by her tight four-piece backing band. About halfway through her set, the band was augmented by a three-piece horn section. Silver has a powerful voice, magnetic stage presence, and very good songs. The crowd gave her a great reception. She is clearly an artist with a very bright future. Further information about Silver can be found at http://www.fionasilver.com/.
Following an interval of about 30 minutes, Clark and his stellar four-piece backing band took the stage to a tremendous and sustained roar from the sold-out crowd. Many in the crowd on the floor rose from their seats and remained standing throughout Clark’s set. The opening song, “Bright Lights,” received a big reaction, and quite a few members of the crowd were playing along with Clark’s every lick on air guitar.
The vast majority of the main set highlighted tracks from This Land. Twelve songs from the album were featured in the show. Clark and his band work together like a well-oiled machine and, just as important, seem to have a lot of fun onstage. Each member of the band got to stretch out a bit to display their considerable music chops. There are clearly no passengers in Clark’s band. And Clark often went to the lip of the stage to get as close to the crowd as possible and to further raise the intensity level in the audience. Clark and the band appeared to be feeding off of the manic energy of the crowd, which resulted in a killer performance that left the crowd both very impressed and quite exhilarated.
The main set contained many highlights. Among them was a great take on the politically charged, searing “This Land,” the title track of the new album. Other standout moments in the show were: “I Got My Eyes On You (Locked & Loaded),” which built up in power as the song went on and featured some absolutely ferocious playing by Clark near the end; the heavy, rocking “Gotta Get Into Something,” which drew a massive reaction from the crowd; the powerful and trippy “When My Train Pulls In” that featured an epic guitar break by Clark during which he made extensive use of his effects pedals; “Pearl Cadillac,” which had Clark singing in a soulful falsetto; a terrific “Feed The Babies” that had quite a few fans on the floor dancing; and the psychedelic blues of “Feelin’ Like A Million.”
The highlight of the encore was a rip-roaring cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together.” (Clark had recorded the song for the film Justice League.) It was a perfect end to the show.
Clark, who is 35, is an artist at the top of his game. A phenomenally talented guitarist, he is equally adept at rock, blues, and psychedelia. His playing was at times jaw dropping, and his current tour is one of the must sees of 2019.
Clark’s current United States tour runs through April 7th and concludes with three consecutive nights at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. Full tour dates can be found at http://www.garyclarkjr.com/tour.