Tag Archives: L.L.Bean

Guster

Friday, October 16, 2015

Morrell Gym, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine

Guster is a band that immediately takes me back to my college days in the late 90s (oh my). Ryan Miller, Adam Gardner, and Brian Rosenworcel have been together since the beginning of their college days at Tufts in the early 90s, and have made music together for over 25 years. I was excited when the announcement came that Guster would play a show in Morrell Gym during Bowdoin College Homecoming to celebrate the inauguration of Bowdoin’s new president, Clayton Rose. My favorite Guster memory comes from the fall of my senior year at Bowdoin (2000), when my good friend was the head of the student group that brought concerts to campus, and she assigned me to “keep Guster happy” for the day leading up to their show. I brought them meals, helped them find internet on campus (which was a big challenge in those days), and got to hang out with them a bit ahead of their great show (also in Morrell Gym) that night with Jump, Little Children. I looked through my past shows list and was a little surprised to see that I’ve only seen Guster live nine times, which seems quite few given the impact their music has had on me throughout the years. I was lucky to be at their show at the State Theatre with Howie Day back in 2003 that was recorded and released as a live album, Guster on Ice—Live from Portland Maine. I hadn’t seen Guster since 2013 at L.L.Bean, and it was a treat to have them back at Bowdoin for a private show.

My friends Rachel, Ian, and Jan met me for a delicious dinner at Shere Punjab in Brunswick and we made our way over to Morrell Gym a little bit early to get a good spot up front. I forgot about “college time” and that no one is ever on time ever, and so we were the only people anywhere near the gym when we arrived. We took a walk and hung out a bit in Smith Union and circled back when doors opened and grabbed spots along the barricade at the stage. I was glad to see a lot of Bowdoin staff and alumni friends in the crowd. Guster took the stage to a pretty empty room (see “college time” above), but it was full of exuberant college students a few songs in. Ryan, Adam, and Brian were joined by Luke Reynolds (of Blue Merle), who has been part of the group for about the last five years, and had a couple other musicians join throughout their set, including a Bowdoin student named Roya who played a killer violin part during “Satellite.”

   
    
    
    
    
    
 Ryan took the lead on chatting with the crowd and entertaining song requests from the audience. Someone kept asking for “Parachute,” (which I would have loved to hear myself) and it earned him a conversation with Ryan and a song that Ryan improvised in his honor (but no, they didn’t play “Parachute.”) Ryan joked about playing coming out of retirement to play a show in a gymnasium and welcomed new Bowdoin College President Clayton Rose with a song he ad libbed just for him.

They opened with “Careful” from 2003’s Keep It Together and their encore, “Demons,” was from their 1997 release, Goldfly. I was glad to hear “Happier” and “Barrel Of A Gun” from their 1999 album, Lost and Gone Forever, and I would have LOVED to hear “What You Wish For,” too. While writing this, I realize how many hundreds of times I’ve listened to Lost and Gone Forever, and how much it was the soundtrack to my life in college. Thanks for hosting a great show, Bowdoin College, and welcome, President Rose! Guster—thanks for playing a show in a gym on a Friday night in the middle of Maine. And for everything else, too. 

xo,

bree

   
   

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Josh Ritter

Saturday, July 12, 2014

L.L.Bean, Freeport, Maine

I hadn’t seen a show in almost two months (anyone else feel like concert offerings this spring were slim?), so when our friend Bartlett sent a group email invite to join him for Josh Ritter at L.L.Bean, I decided to go for it even though I usually boycott those shows. (I really wish L.L.Bean would build an amphitheater worthy of the great artists they bring to Freeport). Of course, in true Bartlett fashion, he was the last one to join us before the show for a group dinner at Grittys. Michelle has been housesitting in Freeport, so she went at midnight to set up a blanket for the group and got us as good a spot as is possible at an L.L.Bean show. As we arrived at our awesome spot (thanks, Michelle!), students of mine at an adjacent blanket chimed “Hi, Ms. Candland!” in unison—it was nice to see you, girls! AH! I almost missed the most important detail of the entire night—this was almost six-week-old Mira’s FIRST CONCERT!

Mira's first concert!

Mira’s first concert!

Most of the gang had never seen Josh Ritter, but wanted to see him because we know that our dear friend and gifted singer songwriter Max Garcia Conover (who sadly couldn’t make it due to car trouble) credits Josh as one of his strongest musical influences. Josh Ritter is always a pleasure to see live. I don’t there’s a person happier to be on stage performing than he is—Josh is most often seen smiling from ear to ear. There’s something nice about being around that kind of joy that makes me go back to Josh’s shows time after time. My friend Grace was also excited to be working that night—her sign language interpreting during the show was a blast to watch!

This is the best view a blanket set out at midnight will get you at an L.L.Bean show.

This is the best view a blanket set out at midnight will get you at an L.L.Bean show.

Max Garcia Conover and Josh Ritter. May 2013. Courtesy of Chris Bartlett.

Max Garcia Conover and Josh Ritter. May 2013. Courtesy of Chris Bartlett.

Grace was so expressive!

Grace was so expressive!

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“Hopeful” was the first song of the night and it’s one of my favorites. Josh talked about how thrilled he was to be playing with his fabulous band and it was great to see those familiar faces on stage, too. Multi-talented Austin Nevins is incredibly gifted on guitar (here’s my post from a show Austin played with Dietrich Strause and Max). Sam Kassirer not only plays keys with Josh, but also produces amazing music from the likes of Josh, David Wax Museum, and Lake Street Dive at The Great North Sound Society in rural Parsonfield, Maine.

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“Here at the Right Time” and “Change of Time” were both lovely. Josh joked about being from Idaho, who are a “proud seafaring people” from the banks of ancient Lake Idaho. I took a peek behind me and noticed my dear friend Ken and his kiddo Liam dancing and singing along. I ran over to join them for a “Kathleen” sing-a-long.

The view from the dancing section.

The view from the dancing section.

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These two.

These two.

Josh talked about how much he loves Maine and said that he’s not allowed near sharp objects during recording sessions (at Sam’s place in Parsonfield) because it often ends badly. During a recording session, he opened a can of beans and cut himself badly enough that he needed medical attention, and instead of driving the hour to the nearest hospital, a kind veterinarian sewed him back together. Sounds like a perfectly Maine scenario to me. They wrapped their set with another of my top favorites, “Joy To You Baby,” which particularly resonated with me as a recently brokenhearted single person–“There’s pain in whatever/We stumble upon/If I never had met you/You couldn’t have gone/But then I couldn’t have met you/We couldn’t have been/I guess it all adds up/To joy to the end.” It’s easier hearing wisdom about love and loss come from Josh’s beaming face, somehow.

They said goodnight, but came back to serenade us with “The Temptation of Adam” and to rock out on “To the Dogs or Whoever.” My friend Colin (who I met because of whatbreesees.com–lucky me!) posted a set list from the night on setlist.fm (in case you’re curious about what you missed). So glad for a much needed night out with good friends and good music.

xo,

bree

 

Thanks, Colin!

Thanks, Colin!

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