Review - An Evening with Dawes @ the Fillmore (4/26/23)

Dawes @ the Fillmore (Photo: Sean Reiter)
Dawes @ the Fillmore (Photo: Sean Reiter)

A Dawes concert always has the vibe of a large college reunion with friends getting back together at a great house party and Wednesday night at the Fillmore saw the band deftly songs from 2023’s Misadventures of Doomscroller with crowd favorites from their first fourteen years. Singer/lead guitarist Taylor Goldsmith acknowledged the situation by starting out the second set with a solo acoustic interpretation of “House Parties” – a fun, self-reflective and sentimental song that has yet to be given official release. “House parties and local bands,” Goldsmith sang “House parties and local bands. That’s where I belong.” Though he was standing in a solo spotlight in one of rock’s most iconic venues on one of the last stops of a 30-city tour, the whole audience let out a roar of agreement.

Taylor & Griffin Goldsmith of Dawes @ the Fillmore (Photo: Sean Reiter)
Taylor & Griffin Goldsmith of Dawes @ the Fillmore (Photo: Sean Reiter) 

“An Evening with Dawes” featured two sets by the headliner approach so popular in the jam band world these days and the band has a built up a catalog more than capable of holding a crowd for two and a half hours of music. Starting off the night with “Everything Is Permanent” off the new album, the band hit the stage with a joyful enthusiasm and appreciation of the special night that was reminiscent of Tom Petty’s approach years ago.

Dawes @ the Fillmore (Photo: Sean Reiter)
Dawes @ the Fillmore (Photo: Sean Reiter)

From there, the band went back to 2011 for the heavy chorus rocker “If I Wanted Someone,” before going into 2018’s “Living in The Future” – a rocker that amply demonstrates Goldsmith’s frequent approach of spare sounds and softer lyrics combined with loud and powerful choruses. “Waiting for Your Call” was up next - a tender ballad that showed off drummer Griffin Goldsmith’s surgical touch behind the kit while brother Taylor demonstrated his vocal range. “None of My Business” a full force rocker leaned heavily on Lee Pardini’s keyboards and bassist Wylie Gelber driving the tempo forward for a song that brings a much larger wave of energy live than on the album version. This show was one of the last with Dawes for Gelber – an original member who announced his amiable departure would come at the conclusion of this tour. Gelber seemed intent on running through the finish line of his Dawes time as he moved about the stage throughout the evening with a huge look of enjoyment on his face.

Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes @ the Fillmore (Photo: Sean Reiter)
Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes @ the Fillmore (Photo: Sean Reiter)

Indeed, as good as Dawes songs are on album, this is a band built for live performance with an audience. “Most People” - a longtime crowd favorite may have been the night’s best demonstration of this - featuring an interlude of Grateful Dead’s “Fire on The Mountain” with Taylor ripping a huge solo, guitarist Trevor Menear adding Bobby Weir style fills and drummer Goldsmith bringing the whole thing back and to a huge crescendo.

Trevor Menear of Dawes @ the Fillmore (Photo: Sean Reiter)
Trevor Menear of Dawes @ the Fillmore (Photo: Sean Reiter)

The first set ended with a surprise appearance by beloved Bay Area and jam scene multi-instrumentalist Jason Crosby who sat in on fiddle for set one’s last two songs – the new “Comes in Waves” (which featured Crosby unleashing a virtuoso solo) and perhaps Dawes greatest anthem “When My Time Comes.” Goldsmith brought the crowd’s singalong volume up to 10 and finished the song with the entire Fillmore singing the last two verses before heading off for a 15-minute set break.

Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes @ the Fillmore (Photo: Sean Reiter)
Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes @ the Fillmore (Photo: Sean Reiter)

Goldsmith kept the solo acoustic start to the second set going with “Crack the Case” a song he introduced with “I wrote this song in 2018 when I thought our communication and understanding as citizens had reached an all-time low. I was off by a few years…but at least it’s still relevant.” Griffin called an end to the acoustic solo guitar work by a huge drum intro to the rapid-fire “Ghost in The Machine” featuring outrageous keyboards from Pardini and dueling guitars with Taylor and Menear going back and forth. Menear’s guitar work was phenomenal all night - highlighted by his beautiful slide guitar work on “Didn’t Fix Me” and rousing solo on “From a Window Seat” in the second set. After “When the Tequila Runs Out” which The Fillmore audience embraced as a party anthem, “Didn’t Fix Me” saw an extended interlude of U2’s “With or Without You.”

Dawes @ the Fillmore (Photo: Sean Reiter)
Dawes @ the Fillmore (Photo: Sean Reiter)

The familiar guitar notes of “Things Happen” was followed by the Laurel Canyon sound and lyrics of “Time Spent in Los Angeles.” “From a Window Seat” led into a great rendition of the new album's lead track “Someone Else’s CafĂ©/Doomscroller Tries to Relax” before finishing with the warm, sentimental “All Your Favorite Bands” to end the second set. For the encore, Goldsmith again appeared solo to end the show fittingly with “A Little Bit of Everything” the rousing melancholy favorite that begins “With his back against the San Francisco traffic…” On this night, this literal band of brothers brought a feeling of joy and belonging to a diverse audience of passionate fans and demonstrated their mastery as a live rock band in a most hallowed hall. “This was a real special night,” Goldsmith told the crowd. “If you keep coming back, we’ll keep coming back.”

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Dawes Setlist The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA, USA 2023, Misadventures of Doomscroller

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