Saturday, August 9, 2008

My Night With Josh Gracin

Last night, Josh Gracin took the stage at the Scioto County Fair. And as expected, it was a great show.

However, if I have one complaint, it would be that Josh seemed to employ too many of the same tricks that he did the last time I saw him. He even opened the show with the same recording featuring soundbites from the “American Idol” judges. Personally, I think Josh has been successful enough in his own right to drop the “Idol” intro…

His first song was a more uptempo version of “I Wanna Live” and then he proceeded to perform for a solid hour and a half with only a small break before the encore.

He sang all of his singles, including his two (surprising) misfires, “I Keep Coming Back” and “Favorite State of Mind,” his latest hit, “We Weren’t Crazy” and his new single, “Unbelievable.” He also did two of his favorites from his first CD, “Wheels” and “Turn It Up” and three additional tracks from his new CD “Livin’ It Up,” the Tim McGraw cover “Telluride,” and my favorite, “Found,” which I hope will eventually be a single.

As for covers, the two most significant ones were Robert Palmer’s “Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor Doctor)” and a beautiful rendition of MercyMe’s “I Can Only Imagine.”

But I have to say the thing that stood out for me the most at the concert was the crowd…

A large group of people actually left after the second song and small groups left throughout the rest of the show (especially during “I Can Only Imagine”). But the real kicker came at the end. Josh had yet to sing “Nothing to Lose,” which I knew was his encore. But when he and his band (who is awesome, by the way) left the stage abruptly at the end of “Turn It Up” (without even trying to sell it as an actual exit) people actually started leaving—a lot of people. Did they really think he would leave without doing his biggest hit? Some of the people leaving were actually surprised when his band returned to the stage.

But having seen Josh before, I knew what was next. I knew that Josh would appear somewhere other than the stage and I scanned around the grandstand looking for him (The people around me must have wondered what I was looking for.). Sure enough, Josh appeared in the middle of the crowd to the left of the stage where he was absolutely mobbed by cameras. How he was even able to sing (“Ain’t Goin’ Down ‘Til the Sun Comes Up, by the way), I have no idea.

Josh then retook the stage to finish “Sun” and then go right into “Nothing to Lose,” which got a big reaction from the fans, since I think that was the only reason most of them were there. But even before he finished it, there was another mass exodus…

However, I was in place following Josh with my camera, because as soon as he grabbed the water bottles from the stage I knew that he would spray the crowd and I wanted to be ready to capture it. In fact, I was so busy following Josh with the camera that I missed a member of his band falling while trying to run away from Josh. But Josh got a nice long laugh out of it.

If you ever get the opportunity, I highly recommend seeing Josh in concert. Just be on the look out for water AND flying t-shirts. Josh loves to throw them into the crowd. And don’t worry if you’re not sitting right in the front. Josh has an excellent arm—excellent enough to reach a certain blogger seated a ways back from the stage…

If any of you were at the concert, feel free to share your reaction. Just post a comment or send me an e-mail at