It was a fun and engaging show; I don’t think Parachute could deliver anything but.
Bluebird Theatre, Denver
Sometimes I skip the opening acts, but that wasn’t going to happen tonight. American Idol alum Kris Allen kicked off the show with a brief, stripped-down set: his voice, an acoustic guitar, and a keyboardist. Although he was charming and well received by the always-polite Denver crowd, the lack of a full band worked against him. Even with his endearing stage presence, I found it difficult to fully engage with the mellow acoustic songs; even hit “Live like We’re Dying” had less oomph than I had hoped.
What then followed was one of the longest between-set breaks I have ever endured. On the positive side, it allowed time for me to wait out the line at Allen’s table so I could get a photograph (to make my sister jealous, naturally). Still, it had to be at least an hour before the headliner took the stage—an hour without any house music whatsoever.
Finally, Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” filled the venue and Parachute appeared. Three songs in, front man Will Anderson revealed that the soundboard had “completely died” just before they were to take the stage; in fact, they had almost canceled (!) the show. On top of that, two nights prior their tour van caught on fire, leaving two of the band’s three members to rent a car and hightail it to Salt Lake City for their next show, which they had to perform acoustically. But tonight, the gods of music were on our side and the concert went on as planned.
Compared to last spring’s Wide Awake tour, the entire four-album catalog was better represented on this, the fan-favorites Getaway Tour. Opener “Getaway,” led into Losing Sleep’s “She (for Liz)” and Overnight’s “Meant to Be,” before returning to the classic “She Is Love.” Other highlights from my list of personal favorites included “Hurricane,” “Didn’t See It Coming,” and “New Orleans.”
Also unlike last spring, the band seemed to be rushing through some of the songs, jazzing them up musically, which often had the effect of muddying the vocals (or maybe it was the sound board; who could tell?). At one point, I made a note—“showmanship over substance”—which, compared to last year’s show, seemed reasonable.
Not that it wasn’t a fun and engaging show, because it certainly was; I don’t think Parachute could give anything but. Probably because of the late start, though, Anderson didn’t tell as many stories as usual, but one he did was memorable—that about his sleeping in the nude. You know how people joke about that, saying, “What if there’s a fire?” And wouldn’t you know: There was. (Cue mental image of the Parachute singer standing on the side of the road in the middle of the night, hands over his manhood.)
The highlight of the night came when, during tearjerker “Forever and Always,” Anderson invited a friend and his girlfriend on stage during the interlude. After telling her how much she meant to him, the friend got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend, asking her to be his “forever and always.” (I tried to enjoy the romantic moment and forget what the song was about: a guy who died with his girlfriend by his hospital bedside.)
Anderson’s energy level stayed high throughout the 15-song set. Although he occasionally sat behind a piano or stood behind a guitar, he was usually free to roam the stage—and, at one point, the sold-out venue. In addition to adding to the enjoyment of the night, singing falsetto and bouncing at altitude is no mean feat, so kudos to the band from Ohio.
The abbreviated set time meant no encore, but no matter: We left with songs in our heart and smiles on our faces—literally. | Laura Hamlett