New songs. A different sort of stage. But still the same amazing voice, warm wit, and engaging humor. Affectionate applause from the crowd greeted an old friend who'd been gone too long, and drew an appreciative smile that didn't leave Page's face all evening.
From there he see-sawed back and forth between new tracks and those classic songs I mentioned above. (Highlights from the night: "A New Shore," "Entourage," "The Chorus Girl," "Jane," "The Old Apartment," "Enid," "Brian Wilson," and "Powder Blue"). Entertaining and engaging those who'd come out, he showed off his large range and kept the intimate crowd hanging at the stage's edge.
He seemed comfortable and relaxed and some of those older songs were given a bit of facelift to blend in with the sound of the new album: Pop hooks, laced with jazz influences and some hipster nuances. Or perhaps that was how he'd always intended those songs to be performed. Either way, for this listener, the updates only improved the tracks.
As he often stated, it was a night of firsts: first show of a new tour for a new album, and it wasn't all smooth sailing, but the couple of technical glitches were met with trademarked humor and the moments were used to connect with the audience ("Remember back in 'Jane' [the previously sung song] when the guitar worked?").
So, yes, time marches on and it may be awhile before Page is playing the large stadiums he was a couple of years ago, but the important thing – the music – is still the same: smart and infectious. His voice is still as clear as ever and those incredible high notes still pierce the air. If he's coming to a city near you, this is an evening you do not want to let pass you by and if you've yet to pick up Page One, I strongly recommend you do.
Below is a treat, a video of "Indecision" from the new album.
Steven Page is touring in support of the new album. Tour dates, news, and a blog can be found at his official website.