Though it’s blatantly obvious that it’s Tony’s show and, at the State Room in Salt Lake City Tuesday night, he took plenty of opportunities to stand alone under that single spotlight, but “Everything is Moving So Fast” and “The Chorus in the Underground” just sound better with a fiddle, a stand-up bass and, hmm, a banjo? There was definitely some banjo. Gone were the cricket chirps captured in his early recordings and in their place were layers injected into his songs. The songs still had all the power in the world to squeeze at your heart, but they moved better than they once did or have. Stark beauty can still exist with some of that good, old-fashioned flow, right? It’s as natural a progression as it is a good and proper one.
Eh, nobody’s complaining. It’s an observation if it’s anything. It’s probably why there were shouts from a few overly anxious Canadians for a double encore; the Great Lake Swimmers exactly deliver on that demand, but they did give us a good 90 minutes or more with an encore tacked onto the end. With a set list that jumped from Lost Channels to the band’s debut, this was one of those concerts that ought to have come with a Satisfaction Guaranteed promise. And, for a guy who’d already done two performances before this one—an in-studio at KRCL and another over yonder at Graywhale — that’s saying something.
There was talk off stage from Tony himself about the desire to do some kind of church only tour in the future, though it’d be a bit of a scheduling nightmare. If and when that takes place (and the fingers are crossed), the Cathedral of the Madeleine should fit into that pretty nicely. The suggestion has been made, the seed has been planted and we can go about living on hope until it actually formulates.