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Independant.ie: The More Gray Changes, The More He Stays The Same
Monday, November 19, 2007
By Shilpa Ganatra
November 19, 2007
It's been a decade since David Gray's wobbly head rose to stardom as he did, when he spearheaded the international singer/songwriter movement with 'White Ladder'.
It's still there, shaking about in all its near-detached glory, because, however odd it may appear to his audiences, Gray is not a man to change his craft for anyone but himself -- and that's exactly the theme of this show.
Having stood his ground through the dance era and the Britpop phenomenon, to the new hybrid of the two, he's now waved goodbye to his record company and touring band.
Tonight, we're saying hello to the new musicians. And even though, with matching suits and receding hairlines, the foursome may look like post-work accountants, they're fierce performers and boost David's show which, with hindsight, was needed.
The man himself is on top form in all respects. He looks dapper in designer stubble, a black shirt and suit and a smile on his face that only fades when his mind's on the music.
The square shape and low ceilings of the venue give a much more intimate feel than his last visit at The Point, allowing him to chat with the crowd as with old friends.
But when he sings, it's as if his voice becomes sentient, leaving his body as a mere conduit.
Aided by crystal-clear sound, he throws out phenomenal notes, effortlessly hitting each one while displaying a grittiness not evident on record.
'The One I Love' is as perfect a performance as he's likely to get, and 'Late Night Radio' proves that his set isn't dictated by his new Greatest Hits CD.
From the eeriness of 'The Other Side' to the mischievous joy of closer 'Please Forgive Me', each song is perfectly crafted within itself, not claiming to be any more than honest, heartfelt guitar or piano-based songs, but capturing an emotion so perfectly and simply it's an honour to witness.
Haircuts, peers and colleagues will come and go, but that is David Gray's constant.