It’s impossible to understand why the Meant To Be Tour goes to such small venues. With Mikey Wax’s magical voice, Matt Wertz’s clever quips and Parachute’s lightshow, this could have easily be an arena tour. But there is one perk…no barrier.
Portland, Oregon is not known for dancing when at concerts, and if you are an opening band, good luck getting the audience to sing along. But that’s not true for Mikey Wax. He makes sure no one stands still and everyone sings along. With the first song, “Fall Back in Love,” he asks that we join in on the chorus. Shockingly, everyone actually does.
For his next trick, he get us to clap in rhythm for the entirety of “Bottle Of Jack.” How does he do it? Maybe by making the audience feel at home. He explains that Mikey Wax is his actual name, not a stage name, to which guitarist Joe Striff says, “we are going to start selling candles.” He gets even more personal, asking us to follow him on Twitter so we can “take our relationship to the next level.” Or maybe it’s because he mashed up songs we know with songs he wrote: “Bottle Of Jack” / “Get Lucky” and “Let You Run” / “Say Something.”
After his set, it’s a short break before Matt Wertz. Wertz starts off his set by telling us that Portland is his favorite city…because of our coffee. I thought that was what Seattle was known for. Aren’t we tea? Wertz apologizes in advance just incase his set isn’t very good: “you can [drink] if you want, but maybe not to self medicate because of how bad we are.” It is a needless warning because he does everything right, and for the second time tonight, everyone is singing along. It does help that he inserts “Portland” or “Portland Oregon” into every song in the set. For “Carolina” he sings, “Portland Oregon you will have to forgive me.” In “5:19” he sings, “Portland take all the time you need.” I guess he really does love our city.
Parachute bounds onstage singing, “Hurricane” to a light show reminiscent of their newest album cover. Flashing lights blend together creating a gradient from pink to orange. With all the lights and screams it’s easy to forget how small the venue is. Kit French, who seemingly plays ever instrument, makes it even easier. Every few songs, he plays the saxophone, something he doesn’t do in studio recordings, but should. The trumpet makes its first appearance after their second song, “White Dress,” for the intro to, of all things, Arianna Grande and Iggy Azelea’s “Problem.” I’m seriously considering starting a petition for Grande, Azelea and Parachute to collaborate. Who’s with me?
We soon discover that Wertz has competition in the who-loves-Portland-most contest. Lead singer Wil Anderson’s dad grew up here. He tells a story of being stuck in a tree butt-naked, unable to climb down. His father had to climb up the tree to get his butt-naked son. Welcome to Portland.
Though this tour celebrates their newest album, Parachute plays many songs from their second album, The Way It Was, including “Forever and Always,” possibly the hardest song to see performed in concert. Somehow Anderson’s performance gets the audience to sing along rather than cry.
For their final song before the encore, “Didn’t See It Coming,” Anderson teaches us our part as he does for every tour. To his surprise though, we already know our queues. Last year, at the Crystal Ballroom, this wasn’t the case. Oh how far they’ve come.
The show ends with every performer returning to the stage. We all sing, “She Is Love” as the lights fade and the stage goes black.
There are some real benefits to having a show like this in such a small venue. It was really intimate, something fans are unlikely to again get as intimate an experience as this tour.
You should buy concert tickets or purchase a CD here for Parachute.
You should buy concert tickets or purchase a CD here for Matt Wertz.
You should buy concert tickets or purchase a CD here for Mikey Wax.
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