All things good must come to an end, and such was the case last night at Auckland’s Powerstation as Gomez brought their long-running Quinceanera Tour to a close. The five-piece band may have been a bit road-weary at this point, but they still treated the crowd to a 19-song set that spanned their 15 year career.
Fans who arrived to The Powerstation early, were lucky to catch Delaney Davidson deliver an excellent solo set of dark, slightly unsettling country-blues songs. He’ll be on the road soon with Marlon Williams to support the release of their upcoming album together and I highly recommend catching them in concert. They played a short set last Sunday at Ponsonsby’s Golden Dawn and were fabulous.
But on to the main event…the five members of Gomez ambled on to the stage just after 9:30 and began the proceedings with Revolutionary Kind from 1999’s Liquid Skin album. Ben Ottewell, who sings this one, was front and centre with Ian Ball on his right and Tom Gray on his left. Ottewell’s distinctive gravelly voice has aged nicely and the rhythm section of bass player Paul Blackburn and drummer Olly Peacock laid down a smooth, slinky groove.
Gray took the lead vocal duties next for Shot Shot, then Ball on I Will Take You There from the band’s most recent album, 2011’s Whatever’s On Your Mind.
The three front men pretty much split the duties equally until the end of the show, when it seemed that Ottewell took over most the last few tunes. Gray, Ball and Blackburn switched instruments, trading between guitars, keyboards and bass between during the course of the show.
The group got involved during Get Myself Arrested, singing along enthusiastically despite the slowed-down arrangement. That was the first of seven songs to be played from the band’s 1998 debut album, Bring It On. The set list was influenced by fans who submitted requests online during the weeks before the gig, so it’s easy to surmise that they wanted to hear the old songs. As a result ten of the 19 songs performed came from the band’s first two albums, with three from their newest. The one rarity was a tune called Machismo, that was featured in the film Gone In 60 Seconds.
The band isn’t much for audience interaction, keeping their heads facing the ground during a good portion of the show, getting on with the business of making music. Tom Gray seemed the most comfortable with the crowd, thanking them for coming and commenting occasionally throughout the set.
While the bands sounded great, they did little to generate much emotional reaction. I’ve seen them several time before and know that they are capable of more excitement on stage, but I thought they were a bit lack-lustre this time around, which, as I mentioned earlier, attribute to the long tour coming to an end. There was a feeling of relief rather than celebration at the show, although they did play one unscheduled encore, Make No Sound, from Bring It On, after the fans demanded another tune. Otherwise the show would have ended with Get Miles, which Gray pointed out was the first song the five of them wrote together.
I see that Ottewell already has solo shows planned and Ian Ball is working on a new album of his own. No doubt, this is the secret to the band’s longevity…they are able to get away from the band and re-charge their creative batteries and re-convene fresh. I’m guessing that it will be a while before Gomez releases a new studio album. I’m glad I took the opportunity to catch them live one more time. It will be interesting to see where they go from here.
Click here to see a photo gallery of concert shots taken by 13th Floor photographer Michael Flynn:
Gomez set list:
- Revolutionary Kind
- Shot Shot
- I Will Take You There
- See The World
- Get Myself Arrested
- The Place And The People
- Tijuana Lady
- Rhythm And Blues Alibi
- Detroit Swing 66
- Free To Run
- Here Comes The Breeze
- Whippin’ Piccadilly
- How We Operate
- Get Miles
- Make No Sound