Monday, November 22, 2010

Curt Smith delights crowd at McCabe's Guitar Shop

Photo cutline: From left, singer Curt Smith with "Psych" cast members Kirsten Nelson, James Roday and Timothy Omundson at McCabe's in Santa Monica on Nov. 19. Smith's forthcoming holiday single "This Is Christmas" will be featured on the Dec. 15 episode of "Psych."

Photo credit: Richard Glasband

Whenever I have previously seen an established artist play large sold-out venues and then get the chance to see them in an intimate setting where the vibe is decidedly more casual, it always seems surreal.
Such was the case when one half of Tears for Fears, Curt Smith, performed a full-length showcase at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica on Friday night, Nov. 19, 2010.

Fans began lining up several hours before the doors opened to get a seat up front, but even those who arrived just prior to showtime were rewarded with chairs that equal those within the first dozen rows at Verizon Wireless or Honda Center.
But it wasn't simply the intimacy of the famed guitar shop that made the show so unique. Smith himself used the opportunity to perform a number of artful covers of songs he admittedly wished he had penned, as well as hits from Tears For Fears and material from his burgeoning solo career.

The release of Smith's full-length solo effort Halfway Pleased in 2007 seemed to initiate a new direction for the artist, with songs tackling the complex relationships he has forged with family, friends and the world around him.
"Seven of Sundays," "Coming Out," "Aeroplane" and "Snow Hill" were among the introspective and memorable songs from that disc he performed over the course of his show at McCabe's.

Among his most recently-penned tracks unveiled was "Perfectly...Still," a song he noted that had only been performed live once. "We have yet to perform it successfully," he mused before playing a seemingly-perfect take. The song details how a man has a wonderful wife and children, but is tempted to throw it away for a romantic encounter in an exotic country far from home. As performed on Friday, complete with sparse layers and excellent harmonies from several members of his band recalling the sound of Zero 7, it was a powerful song that earned him some of the loudest cheers of the night.

Smith noted that he used rare solo shows like this to perform versions of favorite songs from other artists. This night, he opened the proceedings up with an emotive version of the Cars' "Drive," here delivered to the accompaniment of his lone guitar. Later in the night, backed by all three members of his excellent band, Smith delivered a one-two punch with an astonishing cover of Radiohead's "Fake Plastic Trees" and a reworking of Coldplay's "Yellow."

Both of those covers showcased Smith's unique tenor able to mine new emotions out of oft-heard Brit rock staples.
Smith also featured his far-reaching vocals with sparse, stripped down versions of favorites such as "Mad World" and "Everybody Wants to Rule the World."

The night ended in true big-time fashion with Smith noting that he had recently guest starred on an episode of the USA series "Psych" and invited several members of that series' cast on stage to perform with him. Actors James Roday, Timothy Omundson and Kirsten Nelson provided well-sung vocals on a gigantic version of "Shout" to the delight of the fans.

A wonderful performance from start to finish. And the performance was a strong reminder that Tears For Fears fans hope that outfit issues another album soon.


J.A. said...

For the fans that are lucky enough to attend these intimate gigs, Curt always puts on the perfect show with beautiful songs and humorous wit. I've been to quite a few now, and enjoy each one so much. This time, I was able to bring my 6 year old son, who is also a huge fan of Curt and Tears for Fears. He had a great time watching and listening, as well as, meeting Curt and playing his slide flute for him. Such a great memory for a little guy who has hopes and dreams of being a rock star himself!
Curt's shows are always a memorable night out!

Jenny said...

Oh my gosh! I so wish I had been there. Curt Smith is such a gracious artist with the voice of a dream and musical heart of an angel. And to see him up on stage with the the Psych crew would have been a blast.

Wendy said...

Without a doubt, this review hits the mark. It was a great show from start to finish with his introductions to each song performed along with some of his personal humor attached. Just wish I had brought my kids along, but it was nice to have some quiet time with the hubby to enjoy yet another great show.

margie said...

I enjoyed every second curt was on stage, singing, talking, he is very funny and delightful and easy going allowing fans and audience an opportunity to feel like a friend and not just a fan. I enjoyed that my children, ranging in age from 5 to 13 enjoyed the show just as much as any fan of older age. My joy was in sharing my favorite all time singer with my kids, and to sit and see their faces and joyful as i felt in my heart is a feeling you cannot buy. They sang loud on such favorites as mad world, everybody wants to rule the world and the 5 year old sang the loudest of the 4 children on shout. They sat, eyes glued to him every moment on stage and would laugh at his jokes as kids who understood what he was saying. Even when playing with his marbles which made my oldest laugh and blush. All in all, it was a night we have not forgotten nor will we. Captured on print, but forever in our hearts and minds it is burned. Thank you richard, for the pics you took of a great man.

city said...

thanks for share..