Saturday, December 31, 2016

Concert Review: Matisyahu @ The TLA - Philadelphia, PA 12/27/16

Not many could do what Matisyahu does. Actually, I don't think anyone could do what Matisyahu does.  In the hands of a lesser individual, the act might come of as schticky.  To Matisyahu, this is not an act.  What he creates is real and honest.  His music is filled with substance and love.  He sings songs of faith and devotion. Put in its simplest terms, Matisyahu is a thing of beauty.

Matthew Paul Miller has evolved since he hit the scene with Live at Stubbs in 2005.  He has built up enough of a catalog that his shows are no longer about songs or hits.  It's no longer about genres.  The performance revolves more around a jam and a flow.  He sets the mood with the soundscape and you float along.  His audience is a crowd of followers.  They are there for the message. When the show begins they dance and sing in a trance like state almost as if you were at a rave that became a religious experience.

The show at the TLA was sold out.  I stood next to the box office waiting for my credentials to come through watching fan after fan come up hoping for extra tickets to be released.  I was looking forward to experiencing this first hand. The first thing I noticed inside was the large disco ball dreidel that hung above the stage.

The opening act for the night was Alec Benjamin.  Alec was very interactive with the audience.  Before his first song he shared that while growing up in Phoenix, AZ Matisyahu was the first concert his mother would allow him to attend so it was a very special night for him.

The highlight of his set was a cover of Eminem's "Stan".  Before his last song he shared that two years ago he had dropped out of school to sign a record deal with a major company who in turn dropped him before he was able to release anything.  Since that time he vowed to play as many shows as he could and at this point he had performed over 160 times in the past six months.  If you get a chance please check out Alec's music on YouTube.  His music was endearing.

Matisyahu was treating us to two sets on this night. He came out and set the tempo right away.  His music, a mix of Dancehall Reaggae, Rap, Dub, and Jam melded into a single groove.  As I was in the photography pit taking photos I found myself closing my eyes and just being taken away with the music.  I opened my eyes and looked around to see that no other photographer was taking photos at that time.  We were all lost in the moment.  Now that is magical.

Although his sets do not revolve around particular songs its not to say it is without hits.  A personal highlight of mine was a groove oriented version of "Sunshine".

His band was about as tight as it could be with each member getting a moment to shine in the spotlight.  The rhythm section was unreal.  Kudos to those guys.  They played one hell of a set.

There was an artist set up to the side of the stage that was painting along with the music.  His paintbrush flowed along with the groove.  I watched in amazement as his painting of a whale transformed itself into a buck.

The sets were peppered with a nod to Bob Marley.  "Exodus" and "Get Up, Stand Up"  could be heard throughout the first two sets.  They served as bridges to the work of Matisyahu.

At one point during the show Matisyahu asked that if anyone had brought a menorah to pass it to the stage so that he could light it.

This is the type of person that Matisyahu is.  Before the show there was a problem with my credentials.  I was texting with the publicist to get them straightened out when I received a text from Matisyahu himself apologizing.  That may have been one of the coolest moments in texting history.

After two sets and almost two and a half hours the band came out to perform its encore.  It consisted of "One Day" and "No Woman, No Cry".  During the later the crowd rejoiced as if it were New Years and "Auld Lang Syne" was being played.

Speaking with members of the audience, many had traveled hours to see this performance.  They shared photos of themselves with Matisyahu and shared stories of what he meant to them.  That doesn't happen with just a rock concert.  You have to build that kind of relationship from the ground up.  This is why only Matisyahu could do what he does.

See you when the needle drops!


Recent Article By Fran

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts