Tallest Man on Earth | 06.05.13

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When a crowd wildly cheers you on through a few broken notes and a fumble on the keyboard, you are loved.

 

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The Pageant, St. Louis

Some people are just magic. They’ve got that hard-to-define quality that draws attention and a power of attraction that keeps hold of that attraction. The Tallest Man on Earth, aka. Kristian Matsson, practically shimmers with it. Leading his set with his popular tune “King of Spain” he ensnared the crowd’s attention, and despite being sick and struggling a bit for notes, he held that attention to the very last encore song, his cover of Paul Simon’s “Graceland.” The commitment he voiced at the beginning of the concert was crystal clear during the entire show; “I might fall over from dehydration, but let’s try to do this.”

When a crowd wildly cheers you on through a few broken notes and a fumble on the keyboard, you are loved. When you tell stories through songs the way The Tallest Man on Earth tells stories through songs, it doesn’t have to sound perfect. It just has to be real. Matsson is the definition of quirky. One of my favorite elements of the night was how, after almost every song, he would passionately throw the guitar pick he’d just used onto the floor of the stage and turn his back on it as it bounced away. It was done without words but with an expression that said, “Begone! I’m done with you! You’ve served your purpose!” I was amused.

During one moment of his set you may catch yourself thinking about all you’ve ever lost and in the next line realize it was never yours in the first place. Two songs later you might be smiling all the way down to your toes as Matsson flies through “Wind and Walls.” The faces in the crowd were raw with emotion. I love seeing people that open and unguarded. I love that music makes me that open and unguarded. I especially adore that moment right before a standing ovation when you can see people barely able to hold themselves down in their seat because their appreciation is welling up inside and willing them to stand. I love feeling that compulsion within myself. All of the appreciation exuded by the audience at The Pageant was well deserved. Thankfully, The Tallest Man on Earth didn’t collapse on the stage, but he certainly left it all on there, along with a couple dozen guitar picks. | Janet Noe Rhoads

Photos: Jarred Gastreich

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