Mission Theater, Portland
Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
Not a surprise to anyone, but the guy is not extremely tall. This was way too evident since the venue is a movie theater, and the stage is only raised two feet. When he first started playing, I could barely see his face, and thought he was sitting in a chair. After he wandered around stage, it was clear no one could actually see his guitar unless they were stage front. It still sounded great.
Not that any of us debate Sasquatch acts are not allowed to play Seattle near Sasquatch, but after the first song, a female fan lamented about having to drive from Seattle to see the show. He immediately responded that he wasn't allowed to play in Seattle because he is playing Sasquatch. So there's that. For all you Portlanders, he stated he would be back in September, which is when MusicFestNW is held, so if there aren't any strong MusicFestNW rumors floating around, this is a big one.
The highlight of the show, and the highlight of his repertoire, is the song "Love Is All." He prefaced the song by saying it would be the highlight, and was noticeably perturbed after the song because the crowd wasn't completely silent. I agree, it's crap when such a beautiful song is nearly ruined by chatters and gigglers. He even busted out the electric guitar for this gem. He also played the electric guitar on the next song, a cover called Graceland, by some dude whose name escapes me.
If you have never listened to the Tallest Man On Earth, it won't take you more than one song to realize what he is all about, he is just a guy playing guitar and singing (albeit with a unique vocal style). By the time the gigglers near the back realized there was no drummer, bass, electronics, and cheerleaders, they left to blare Nickleback sing a longs in their Subaru Outbacks. The awesomeness of the show increased exponentially then, and the place was literally dead silent for the last few songs.
Going back to "Love Is All", this song obviously means a lot to him, and he implied it was written about an ex-wife. Twenty years from now, this song will still be one of the highlights of his catalog, so do him a favor and try to remain silent when he plays it at Sasquatch, even if you have to deal with sound bleed from the Yeti Stage. Then again, it's a moot point trying to ask a festival crowd to remain silent.
It would be easy to imagine a man singing such "sad songs" (as he referred to them), to be equally sad/serious in between songs, but he was actually hilarious, cracking jokes, and replying to the crowds comments with quick wit. The Natasha Bedingfield cover dedicated to the opening band the Nurses was another highlight. The lyrics to this song repeat the phrase, "I love you." Picture a spoof of Marilyn Monroe singing Happy Birthday to JFK, because it was cool, but funny as hell.
Not only would I recommend you catching his set at Sasquatch, but you should get to visually see him, since the Wookie/Bigfoot stage will be raised much higher than two feet. By the end of his set, he will truly seem like the Tallest Man (in your eyes, babe).
Set List: 10:11 to 11:22
1. The Wild Hunt
2. Thousand Ways
3. I Won't Be Found
4. The Gardner
5. Love is All
6. Graceland (Boyz II Men cover)
7. Pistol Dreams
8. Where Do My Bluebirds Fly
9. You're Going Back
10. Troubles Will Be Gone
11. These Words (Natasha Bedingfield cover, a tribute to the opening band the Nurses)
12. Burden of Tomorrow
13. King of Spain
14. This Wind
15. New Song (he said he wrote it at the beginning of the tour)