Every time George Ezra smiled, I melted, which meant that I spent most of this gig melting because he smiled so much. This was a very special show.
Despite living in New York City for almost four years – typing that out is strange because it feels like it’s been at most two – I have never been to a real dumpling spot. George played the Bowery, so I met my roommate down on Eldridge St. for a quick bite beforehand. I don’t know why this detail feels like it was an absolutely integral part of this experience, but there’s no denying it. The dumplings were so good that I can’t stop thinking about them, and I think they’ve been permanently bundled into my memory of this night. Even though the weather was hot and sticky, this night seemed to mark the start of fall for me.
When we strolled up to Bowery just before doors, we were met by a line that wrapped twice around the sidewalk. Usually when I get to Bowery at doors I waltz right in, but I guess I wasn’t all that surprised that George would have so many fans, and so many young ones, at that. Rarely do I feel old at a gig – in fact, I often feel young – but I found myself nostalgic for the days when my parents would insist on taking me to shows.
I was more or less ambivalent to the openers, Ruen Brothers. I really liked the song they opened with, “Aces,” and I felt as thought their performance was really theatrical. They seemed like a good fit to open for George, and I think they warmed the crowd up nicely.
It was really special to see George in such a small venue. We had a perfect spot that afforded us the perfect view of his shoulder shaking guitar playing magic. I really appreciated the way that he gave a short introduction to every song he played. Several of the songs that night were being performed in the United States for the very first time, so it was nice to have context on the songs I’d never heard before. Initially, I thought that it might get old pretty fast, but he was so endearing that I found myself equally as enthralled when he was speaking as when he was playing music.
I’m glad that I went to this show, because previously I’d been a little disappointed in the lead single from this album, “Don’t Matter Now,” which didn’t grip me in the way that anything off Wanted on Voyage had. But there was something really whimsical about standing in a room of people who were chanting “it don’t matter now!” around you, and joining in. It was odd, but I felt like I was choosing to laugh at whatever was bothering me, and I think that’s the point of the song.
When you watch George Ezra play, you’re very clearly watching someone who adores what he does – sometimes he closes his eyes during an instrumental bit of a song and you can tell he’s thinking I have created this. This is my favorite song ever. It’s hard not to smile at that.