Great Big Sea @ South Orange Performing Arts Center, South Orange, NJ

Live Reviews | By on Nov 1st, 2008

Opening Bands:
Band Links: link

The boys from Newfoundland, Canada made a stop in South Orange, NJ Thursday night and it was a fun time to be had. Great Big Sea were joyful, funny and played extremely well. If you weren’t at the Great Big Sea show Thursday night in South Orange, then you missed out!

I never been to this theater before, since its only been open for a year now. Its right down the road from Seton Hall University. Its in the nice part of town because the drive getting there was a little scary to say the least. The SOPAC Theater only holds about 415 seats and is a very small intimate theater where any seat in the house is great. Its small enough that if you had to sit up in the Mezzanine, it wouldnt be bad either. Thankfully, GBS Management and Clayton @ Gigante Media hooked me up and I had perfect seats (thanks guys!). I was 7 rows back in the center. Not that close, not that far away. Just perfect. The whole concert felt perfect to me. No opening band and Great Big Sea played for almost 2 hours and half. How about that, seeing the band you came to see play for over 2 hours and not have to suffer through an opener.

Great Big Sea came out and first played Love Me Tonight off their new album Fortune Favours. They have been out on tour for awhile, in support of their excellent new album and I loved hearing all the tracks from it. Im not sure everyone knew the words but I did at least. Other songs that they played off the new album include Walk on the Moon, England, Hard Case, Long Lost Love, Here and Now, Dream to Live, Rocks of Merasheen and Company of Fools. Im glad they played a lot from that because I think its one of their best albums to date! Dont worry though, they played a lot of other classics as well like Boat like Gideon Brown, When Im Up (Oysterband cover), When I Am King, Jack Hinks, and The Night that Pat Murphy Died. Each night on the tour, the band would take turns doing a solo song. This time it was Bob, who sang a song about Colcannon. Colcannon is Irish food containing mashed potatoes, cabbage, butter, salt, and kale. I never had it, which is surprising since I have an Irish grandmother. There was an intermission in the middle of the set, and Great Big Sea returned to play an instrumental melody and Captain Kidd. Towards the end of the set they played the excellent Mari-Mac, and Ordinary Day. They also had an improv session, singing a song about South Orange, NJ. Judging from the other shows setlists, they did this for each city they were in.

GBS was on top of their game, musically and comically. This was only the 2nd time seeing the guys (first time was at Town Hall in NYC back in 2006) and each time they have impressed me so much with how well they play. They really know how to work the crowd and are just excellent musicians. Each band member plays at least one other instrument and have incredible singing voices. The fact that they dont even need microphones during Old Browns Daughter is evidence of that. The jokes were flying that night as well. They were poking fun at South Orange (South Banana?), Alan’s temptation to be in the spotlight, Seans donut eating, Alan saying Obama is Irish, and many other things. The banter between Alan and Sean was hilarious and had the crowd howling with laughter. GBS are one of the few bands that make me laugh at loud at shows. Their reaction to the divided crowd booing and cheering for Obama was perfect. Sean goes something like were all Canadian; whatever you say wont phase us. That made the crowd stop booing/cheering and laugh instead.

The crowd seemed to enjoy the 2 hour+ set a lot, even though they didnt stand up the entire time. Towards the end, the crowd was on their feet more. I usually like to sit down for the most part but once people stand up in front of you; you kind of have to stand as well. I do have to say, that my hands were very sore that night from clapping so damn much. But it was a lot of fun to watch and Great Big Sea were amazing (like always). I highly recommend seeing Great Big Sea next time they are in your town. Even if you dont even know their music, you will become a fan after the show!

Here are the best photos from the night:

To see all the photos, click here.

Bottom Line: Another excellent live show from Great Big Sea!
Favorite Songs: Here and Now, Love Me Tonight, When I’m Up, When I am King, Jack Hinks, Mari Mac, Walk on the Moon
Overall Rating: