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Pete Yorn's sold out, theatre-sized show for the "Morning, Day & Night" tour crackled with an arena-sized professionalism.

Concert Review: Pete Yorn at the Showbox in Seattle, WA – 02/10/07

Being the good old Jersey Boy that he is, Pete Yorn has been known to cover at least one Bruce Springsteen tune whenever he does a show. This was not to be the case on this particular night in Seattle at the Showbox Theatre. He did, however, kick off his set with a few bars of Oasis’ “Wonderwall,” before scrapping it saying, “We don’t know this one anyway.” The show would close some two hours later with a cover of the Rolling Stones “Dead Flowers” in the usual Springsteen spot.

That’s the great thing about seeing Pete Yorn live – you never know what you’re going to get. The only guarantee is a solid, non-stop night of great rock and roll with the always-surprising cover tunes balancing nicely with Yorn’s own great songs.

One of the last of a seemingly dying breed of great singer-songwriters, Pete Yorn is a curious case to be sure. A couple of years ago he seemed positively poised to take over the world with his critically acclaimed debut album Musicforthemorningafter and it’s great singles “Life On A Chain” and “Strange Condition.” When it’s follow up Day I Forgot failed to deliver the same spark, the future seemed far less sure.

Yorn’s new album, the much better Nightcrawler, represents a return to form, exploring sonic terrain that goes far beyond the folky, singer-songwriter territory of his first two records. Yorn’s music may be progressing at a nice clip, but is still cut primarily from the working class romanticism of the Springsteen school with the just the right touch of jangly R.E.M.-styled folk-pop.

Onstage, however, Yorn’s emphasis was decidedly on the rock and roll side of things.
Concentrating on songs from all three records (the tour is billed as the “Morning Day & Night” tour and focuses on the idea of the three releases as a trilogy of sorts), Yorn himself shifted comfortably between acoustic and electric guitars, harmonica, and of course vocals, backed by a more than capable band.

Although the new material was well received, particularly during a raucous cover of Warren Zevon’s “Splendid Isolation,” it was the more familiar radio hits like “Life On A Chain” that brought the biggest cheers from the sold out crowd. For the encores, Yorn dusted off the Stones “Dead Flowers” cover before launching into a dramatically reworked version of his own “Strange Condition.”

As a performer, Yorn has also grown much more polished since I last saw him shortly after the release of his debut album. Taking a cue from his idol Springsteen, Yorn wrapped his songs around engaging and often humorous stories. The two-hour set was also paced expertly, balancing the more rocking tracks with the occasional ballad. Near constant touring has apparently paid itself a dividend for Pete Yorn as his theatre-sized show crackled with an arena-sized sense of professionalism.

Opening the show was Aqualung, who easily won over the crowd with their brand of Brit-Pop, falling squarely into the Coldplay/Keane category (and despite the name, sounding nothing like Jethro Tull). There was also a brief set on piano from Charlotte Martin, whose Tori Amos meets Alanis Morrisette vocals and long haired Lady Godiva good looks were received politely, but otherwise provided a good reason to queue up for the bar and the bathroom on what would prove to be a very long night.

About Glen Boyd

Glen Boyd is the author of Neil Young FAQ, released in May 2012 by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing. He is a former BC Music Editor and current contributor, whose work has also appeared in SPIN, Ultimate Classic Rock, The Rocket, The Source and other publications. You can read more of Glen's work at the official Neil Young FAQ site. Follow Glen on Twitter and on Facebook.

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