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Concert Review: Barenaked Ladies at the Bank of America Pavilion in Boston, MA

August 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Concert Reviews, Daily Music News

Barenaked Ladies
Bank of America Pavilion
Boston, MA
August 14, 2010

Rating: ★★★½☆ 


Reviewed by: Heather Kobrin

Barenaked Ladies has always been a two-for-the-price-of-one type outfit. Ticketholders for a BNL show could look forward to being entertained by not one, but two extremely charismatic frontmen. Co-lead singers Ed Robertson and Steven Page effortlessly played off each other on stage, their shared vocals and self-effacing banter serving to create an intimate, welcoming vibe for those in attendance.

Things changed, however, in February 2009 when Page left the group to pursue a solo career. That left Robertson, keyboardist Kevin Hearn, bassist Jim Creeggan, and drummer Tyler Stewart facing the challenge of creating the same BNL magic as a 4-piece band. Based on last week’s performance at the Bank of America Pavilion, the Canadian pop-rockers are moving forward with assurance, although they may want to consider a few slight tweaks to their live show.

For the most part, the band delivered as it always does. They played a good mix of past hits (“The Old Apartment,” “Pinch Me”) and solid new material from their latest album (All In Good Time, released in March.) The first single, “You Run Away,” which Robertson has said was inspired by Page’s exit from the band, was particularly moving for this longtime BNL fan. Sample lyric: “I tried to be your brother, you cried and ran for cover.”

Also in fine form was the trademark BNL humor. Kevin Hearn’s story about meeting a friendly, but clearly not listening Mick Jagger was hilarious. (Jagger’s uninterested response to Hearn noting that he was a BNL member: “Thanks, mate.”) Another great moment was Stewart’s comment after Robertson dedicated a song to a fan who was marking his  80th show: “I don’t even think I’ve been to 80 shows.”

Despite the many positives, it was difficult not to feel the absence of Page, a singer who possesses a gift-from-God kind of voice. His loss was especially noticeable during the a cappella medley of current pop hits — a band trademark that usually stands out as one of the funniest and most enjoyable parts of a BNL show, but which fell a bit flat here. Throughout the evening, Hearn, Creeggan, and Stewart worked to fill the void and give Robertson a breather, each taking over on lead vocals at various times, with varying results. While Hearn’s “Sound of Your Voice” made for a sweet moment, Stewart’s comic take on “Alcohol,” normally sung by Page, was uncomfortable, even though it was obviously meant as a joke (and even though Stewart is usually hilarious in general.) Overall, I think the reworked BNL show would be better if Robertson alone handled lead vocals, with his bandmates providing backup support.

Regardless of a few minor missteps, this fan left the venue feeling good about the future of BNL. Sure, Steven Page’s shoes are considerable ones to fill, but the remaining Barenaked Ladies proved tonight that they are definitely up to the task.


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View photos from the show

For a full listing of Barenaked Ladies tour dates visit their official website here

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Comments

2 Responses to “Concert Review: Barenaked Ladies at the Bank of America Pavilion in Boston, MA”
  1. JR says:

    How was Ben Kweller?

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