It’s a bit cliché to start a review of an outdoor show by talking about the weather, and our copy editor Scott absolutely hates when we do it, but here we go; what an absolutely gorgeous day it was in Minneapolis on Saturday! With two massive shows happening, Gary Clark Jr. at Surly Festival Field, as well as PROF Outdoors 5 at The Cabooze Outdoor Plaza, you literally couldn’t ask for a more impeccable day.
Although the weather was perfect, the execution of the fourth, and final, concert this season at Surly Festival Field, a location that is nothing more than a grassy patch of land for 350+ days of the year, may have been even more impressive. Over the last four years this concert series has grown to proportions I’m sure even Surly didn’t foresee, and this year was capped off with yet another unforgettable sold-out show, which I’m told equals roughly 5,750 people.
Potentially the only thing that could have been even better than all of that on Saturday night, was Gary Clark Jr.’s performance, which left everyone in the crowd practically begging for more. As soon as he stepped out on stage, donning his trademark Brixton hat, dark sunglasses, and gripping his bright red Epiphone like he’s walking into battle; the crowd hung on his every word.
The 34-year-old bluesman made his Twin Cities debut in 2013 at Minneapolis’s First Avenue and performed here once again at St. Paul’s Palace Theatre last year, but this was by far his largest, and most impressive, show in the area to-date.
Although his setlists over the years don’t indicate much of a change, instead he has focused on fine-tuning his performance, figuring out the small intricacies that make a live show most impressive and exploiting the hell out of them for the benefit of the audience; and it’s worked, beautifully.
Performing for well over two hours, that fine-tuned setlist began how it usually does, with his twist on Robert Petway’s “Catfish Blues,” and ended with his incredibly popular rendition of The Beatles’ “Come Together,” which he turned into a heavy-riff laden masterpiece for last year’s Justice League soundtrack.
In-between those two songs, it was a classic Gary Clark Jr. performance. However, he did sprinkle in two new songs, “When I’m Gone” and “Roll The Rolling Stone,” which we can likely expect to hear in the form of an upcoming release that has yet to be announced.
Near the end of the show, Clark announced to the crowd “The Twin Cities has always been good to me,” and although it, unfortunately, might be a little while before we are graced with his presence again, the reaction from the crowd assured that he is welcome back anytime.