May 3, 2007
Even though it was a little out of the way and during one of my biggest weeks of the year (not to mention on the same night as Lost), seeing José Gonzalez was one of the best concert decisions I’ve made this year. The atmosphere was completely different than any show I’ve ever been to. When I arrived, the Courtyard Café was packed almost to its brim and everyone was seated. Before José took the stage, a local group called New Ruins played a short folky set which was pleasant but not extremely memorable. Then the man emerged from the shadows with nothing but an acoustic guitar, sat in a bare stage, and began to play to an audience that were intensely focused on his every movement. It was the definition of intimate, José even commented that he felt like he was in his own little world.
The setlist was all I could have hoped for; José played almost every song of his fantastic debut album, Veneer, a few covers and rarities, and a couple new songs. It’s amazing to see José’s guitar work close-up, he really is a master of his art. During the concert, the audience remained extremely quiet and respectful, a complete contrast to the rowdy college crowds that were usually typical of a show at University of Illinois. Besides the crowd favorites, “Heartbeats”, “Stay in the Shade”, and “Crosses”, the highlights for me were two covers that came later in the set, Kylie Minogue’s “Hand on your Heart” and Massive Attack’s “Teardrop”. It’s incredible how well Gonzalez adapts these songs into his own style. On “Hand on your Heart” especially, José delivered a very heartfelt performance. Look below for a self-taken video of “Crosses”.
MP3 José Gonzalez – Crosses
MP3 José Gonzalez – Hand on your Heart (Kylie Minogue Cover)
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