10/30/15 – Orpheum Theatre

“I have a thing for theatres” said Grace Potter as she looked out onto the Orpheum crowd. That comes as no surprise: Potter and crew are seasoned rockers, and she’s clearly mastered the art of performance – though her dramaticism can come on too strong at times. (Feathery boa-like cardigans should stay in the closets of tweens playing dress-up.)

The stage was like a carefully-crafted theatre set, with a visual coherence that drew inspiration from her album art. There was the physical symmetry of the band (a pair of drummers, a pair of guitarists, and two multi-instrumentalists), the constellation-patterned T-shirts of the guitarists that matched Potter’s silky space cape and the giant star-dotted backdrop. Their well-synced light show culminated by dousing the band in the color scheme of the album art: purples, oranges, pinks, and blues. Tiny glass prisms atop the piano caught the flashing lights, shooting tiny rainbows out into the crowd as the band’s BJ Novak look-alike shredded on guitar.

There was head banging, hair whipping, karate-style kicking, hip swinging, butt shaking, and hand clapping. Grace Potter grabbed at, kicked, and bounced her way through every particle of air onstage. She darted from one side of the stage to the other, and danced behind the drum kits. She grabbed the hands of the front row as she sang, “I’m your biggest fan” – though clearly it was the other way around.

But she also knew how to pace herself. Having built up an endurance to last the nearly two-hour set, slower numbers like “Let You Go” and Nocternals-era “Stars” and “Low Road” were welcome breathers even for the crowd, many of whom danced with the same vigor and energy as Potter herself. On “Runaway” her hair fell into her face – as it did throughout the set – and she sang through the blonde curtain, unfazed.

Potter also knew how to ask a crowd for favors. She flattered them first (“This is the closest thing to a home city that I could have. Burlington is a very small city. You are the big town in my life.”) before requesting everyone sit down for “Let You Go.” One girl in the front, who was dressed as a black cat (it was the night before Halloween) didn’t seem to get the message, despite the second pair of ears poking out from her head, and stood alone, amongst her seated neighbors.

When she later invited the back rows to rush to the front – “Come on down I want to start a dance party!” – she promptly removed her sparkly pink high heels and flung them backstage. (She’s notorious for ditching her shoes mid-set.)

As the set neared an end you could catch a glimpse of a security guard backstage, his arm up, metal horns held high. Rock on, Grace Potter.

A Seasoned Rocker: Grace Potter
Pros
  • Energy didn't wane during the nearly two-hour set
  • Set list included healthy amount of older material
  • Visuals matched album art
Cons
  • Overdramatic at times
8.6Overall Score

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