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José Gonzalez – Live @ Courtyard Café

Date 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)



5 Responses to “José Gonzalez – Live @ Courtyard Café”

  1. Jen said:

    Wow. Wow.
    LOVE Jose Gonzalez. I’m very jealous, and thanks very much for the video.

  2. Joao said:

    Hi there,

    Thanks for sharing this with us… Could you please give us a hint of the NEW songs he’s playing? I’m a HUGE fan o JG’s work and would love to have that information.



  3. celeste said:

    He played one upbeat song and a slower song that were new. I don’t remember much about them, except that they were good.

  4. David said:

    I too was there, and it was quite a concert. I finally got around to (a) starting my own music blog, and (b) posting about the Jose concert, so please check it out. I agree with you, Taylor, about both New Ruins and Jose, though for some reason I just felt something was off with “Hand on Your Heart”, my favorite song of his (I have a video (not currently posted) I can send to you if you’d like.) Besides that, his performance was perfect. I wish I knew the names of his new songs too… Glad you were able to make it to Champaign midweek!

    David| La Tete Du Roi

  5. tihopilik said:


    I can’t be bothered with anything these days, but shrug. I just don’t have anything to say recently.