Wednesday, December 29, 2010

From Good Homes - December 18, 2010

If you’ve never been to the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, New Jersey, you should really consider paying a visit. This 2500 occupancy venue is a marvel of acoustic amazement. Built in 1922 as an acting theater, the building was converted to a movie theater in 1929. In 2006, the theater closed and was reopened in 2008 for concerts. The cathedral ceilings and large open floor make it an excellent venue for concerts. The acoustics in the building are impeccable. A seated balcony graces the upper level for those that prefer to sit during a performance, although on the night that From Good Homes performed, not much sitting occurred.

It had been a long time since I saw a From Good Homes concert. While they reunited last December (2009) for the first time in a decade, I missed their Wellmont reunion shows. I also missed the sporadic few events they played in 2010. This December was going to be my first opportunity to see the band live since I watched them at Waterloo Village in 1998 and I had a feeling that it was going to be quite a show.

Bassist/Vocalist Brady Rhymer and guitarist/vocalist Todd Sheaffer looked amazing as they made their way to the front of the stage to begin the night. They both appeared vibrant, youthful, and in great shape. Opening with the fan favorite There She Goes, From Good Homes instantly had the crowd in their grasp. The opening jam found the audience more than willing to sing along. The first set focused more on the From Good Homes classics. Songs such as Relationships Are Strange, Suzanna Walker, and If The Wind Blows dominated set one. The band reached deep into their catalog to please the masses. Closing the first set with another fan favorite in Way To Go Pam, the band book ended their set with two magnificent jam sing-alongs.

When their first set ended, just under an hour after it had started, it felt like From Good Homes had played the entire night. Nothing was held back in their set one performance and it had me wondering what would be available for set two. The energy and power the band brought to their performance was astonishing. The band clearly enjoyed performing to their audience, and the audience was grateful for the opportunity to see the band live.

During the set one break, I had an opportunity to talk with some of the fans. From Good Homes fans have a passion and joy for music that isn’t found in most fans. Everyone was friendly, pleasant, and willing to talk, which is a reflection on the band. There wonderful music draws wonderful fans that appreciate one another and are willing to share their experiences and joy.

Most of the fans had come the year before and they all remember the blizzard that the 2009 shows brought. Every fan that attended the blizzard show said it was worth it. After seeing set one, I could understand what they meant.

Back inside the theatre, set two proved to be just as grand as the first, only much more majestic in length and content. Opening set two with Broken Road, From Good Homes let themselves loose upon the New Jersey crowd, blasting us with harmonies, melodies, and amazing riffs that washed over every fiber of our being.

The drum/bongo solo that occurred at the end of Head was a jaw dropping moment during the concert. At first, I was questioning the idea of a drum solo in the middle of a great jam, but further review proved it was the proper course of action to proceed with. Patrick Fitzsimmons on the drums and Danny Sadownick on the bongos were the perfect tandem for a percussion solo. It was amazing to see Fitzsimmons bang out the beat only to have Sadownick match it. Together they created the most special moment during the night. The fans loved it and showed their appreciation with deafening applause.

At some point deep in the second set, a feeling of euphoria overtook me. The power of live From Good Homes songs will do that to a person. The positive message in their music and lyrics is that of hope and celebration. It is music that makes the listener think and imagine what life could really be like if they apply the learning found in the escapism of the entertainment.

It was nearly midnight when the show ended. From Good Homes had played for over 3 hours. Two sets filled with amazing moments. The final song of the night, Maybe We Will was performed with as much rigor and enthusiasm as the opening song of the night had been. Both the performers and the crowd were still going strong, wanting more. With a long, drawn out Maybe We Will that Todd Sheaffer refused to let end (by screaming “Let’s do it again!” after each moment that we thought the band was done), From Good Homes ended on a high note. It’s that magic these guys have together that make them such a fantastic group.

From Good Homes could have been one of the biggest bands in their world, but circumstance and fate didn’t allow that to happen. And to me, that’s all right. It makes the band even better in concert. Where else can you see a band perform a stadium show in the intimacy of a venue like the Wellmont Theatre at an affordable ticket price?

If you haven’t seen From Good Homes on one of their few reunion performances, you should it make it a priority for the next time they come anywhere near your town. As a holdover, the band has released a live DVD of highlights from the 2009 performances at The Wellmont Theatre. You can purchase that in the meantime, but it in no way replaces their actual live show. Travel if you must, it’s worth every mile.

There She Goes
If The Wind Blows
Suzanna Walker
Let Go
Dance A Hole
Giving Tree
Relationships Are Strange
Way To Go Pam

Broken Road
Where Songs Begin
Like A River
Second Red Barn On The Right
Trampled Underfoot (Led Zeppelin Cover)
I Only Want
Ferris Wheel Waltz
Comin’ On Home
Drum/Bongo Solos
I’m Your Man
The Ballad Of Todd And Tracy
Butterfly And The Tree

Atlantic City (Bruce Springsteen Cover)
Maybe We Will

No comments: