The pop star’s return to a sold-out Meijer Gardens amphitheater on Sunday abounded with ‘golden retriever vibes’ and an upbeat flair. The review and photo gallery.
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Andy Grammer must have an emotional IQ of about a million, that is if Sunday’s sold-out show at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is any indication.
Joy. Grief. Self-love. Somehow, he navigated them all through lyrics that weren’t just clever but wise and true.
And positivity is his vibe, to be sure. The word “Good” is in the titles of at least three songs, and goodness abounded during the Sunday concert.
There were songs which radiated love for children and spouses and humankind. So much love, in fact, that Grammer noted that, “I’ve been told I have strong golden retriever vibes.”
Boy, does he ever.
The 39-year-old California pop star sprang onstage wearing a nifty gas station attendant-like jumpsuit (his superb five-piece band also sported jumpsuits, all with the word “Spirit” on the back), uncorking the ebullient “Love is the New Money,” also the title of his current tour.
“Good to Be Alive” and “85” followed fast on its heels, much to the delight of the crowd, who seemed to know every word of every song and sang along happily. On “85,” Grammer sang about not wanting to hit the octogenarian years without investing in the things that matter and turning into someone who can say, “I got a big house, but my heart is ugly.”
Each song was more sunshine-infused than the previous one.
But he also knew when to take it down a notch, as a good showman does. “Saved My Life” honored his godmother who stepped in wholeheartedly when his own mother died when he was 25. He encouraged crowd members to think about the person in their life whom they “could never repay.”
“Good Man (First Love)” reflected on dads, especially good ones, whose “first love” for their daughters hopefully encourages them to choose their own good person someday. His own baby girl, Israel “Izzy” Blue, born during the pandemic, inspired the touching tune.
A CONDUIT OF POSITIVITY AND AN IMPRESSIVE OPENING ACT
After this tender interlude, it was time to bring things back up again as fans jumped to their feet for “Honey I’m Good,” Grammer’s insanely catchy hit, greeted with cheers. Folks bounced up and down with pure enjoyment, making it a show highlight.
“These Tears” showed what opening act Devon Cole meant when she said she was misty for every show. “I see you everywhere in the sidewalk of my dreams,” the song goes. It was for everyone who had lost someone irreplaceable to them — including a little girl in the crowd who lost her uncle — and it was healing grief therapy wrapped in a song.
Because, after all, the people who come to his shows, said Grammer, are “the sweetest people in the world who have been through some hard, hard s–t.” He launched into near-perfect rendition of “If Nice Guys Finish Last, Save a Spot in the Back For Me,” singing sitting down with harmonies from Cole and keyboardist Teddy Obot.
Grammer came across Sunday as a conduit of positivity anchored in reality. Life is hard and the world is broken, but there is redemption and joy on the other side. To that end, Grammer peddled a loving way of looking at life, one that money could never buy.
Opener Devon Cole and her two bandmates, Erica Fox on guitar and Zoe MacMillan on the drums, showed some serious girl power in their zesty half-hour set.
“Dickhead,” a raucous ode to some unfortunate non-tipping, mom-dissing, man-‘splaining ex-boyfriend, was instantly fetching, if not totally appropriate for the children in the crowd. “July for the Whole Year” was a swingy, summery heartbreak song with a luscious refrain spot-on for the July evening. And W.I.T.C.H., which stands for Woman In Total Control of Herself, provided an edgy, feminist underpinning to the set.
The Canadian alt-pop singer displayed a great voice, while surrounding herself with talented musicians performing super-engaging songs — making her an artist to watch.
PHOTO GALLERY: Andy Grammer, Devon Cole at Meijer Gardens
Photos by Steve Baran