His soft-spoken, polite and fairly-often-repeated “thank you” was barely audible throughout the evening. “It’s nice to see you tonight – thank you for coming to see me” followed the first thank you after “Hold You in My Arms.”
Ray LaMontagne brought his “Just Passing Through” tour to Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox on Thursday evening, and the talented and award-winning singer-songwriter and musician (guitar and harmonica for this sold-out performance) was the epitome of the Ray LaMontagne that die-hard fans have come to expect.
LaMontagne, accompanied by Carl Broemel of My Morning Jacket on guitar and keyboard, walked quietly onstage in cargo pants and long-sleeve button-up, and the duo performed a nearly two-hour concert on the barest of sets, save for a backdrop of ocean and a sky that changed colors, reflecting songs.
There were few – possibly no – surprises during “Just Passing Through.” LaMontagne’s signature vocal style – a quietly husky, lush, soulful and sexy tenor – was on full display from beginning to end, and it was impeccable. Other observations from Thursday evening:
LaMontagne is notoriously shy, so there was no interaction with the audience aside from a lyrical note of “Spokane” during the first line of “Jolene” in the encore. There was a lot of fan-appreciation shouting from the floor, an odd, uncomfortable and jarring contrast to LaMontagne’s low-key demeanor.
The lavender color of the backdrop sky was particularly lovely during “Lavender,” but the lights were low even from sixth-row center seats. Friends seated in the upper balcony confirmed post-performance that it was difficult to see anything from their vantage point in the gorgeous Art Deco theater.
During certain songs while playing the guitar, LaMontagne moved up and down on his tiptoes. A casual listener would probably describe the overall concert as sleepy, but LaMontagne is focused and quietly intense.
It was a jam-packed evening on the 1 1/2 block stretch of Sprague between the Fox and the Bing Crosby Theater: LaMontagne headlined the Fox; Matisyahu performed at the Knitting Factory; and The Spokesman-Review’s Northwest Passages Book Club hosted its Women of the Year event at the Bing.
Quirky Saskatchewan folk/roots duo Kacy & Clayton, second cousins Kacy Anderson and Clayton Linthicum, served as the opening act.
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