I’ve been a fan of Grace Potter since high school, when someone in honors choir with me raved about her and her then-band, the Nocturnals. We covered one of her songs, “Tiny Light,” and I was in love. So, I was excited to learn that she had released a new album, Daylight, and that she was back on tour and coming to DC! The tickets were a bit of an impulsive purchase, but it was definitely a good one that I regret not at all.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention her opener, Devon Gilfillian. Gilfillian’s voice has the soul and smoothness of John Legend’s, but his voice is much more raw, giving a roughness around the edges of the strong, sweet smoothness of his voice. His music has veins of blues and funk running through each song that make it unique. I will be checking out his music, especially songs from his new album, Black Hole Rainbow, and I’d encourage you to do the same.
And now, to the heart of the matter: Grace Potter! Besides her gorgeous name (though I may be a little biased there), her voice when she performs live sounds just like her recordings, if not better. She gives energy to the audience, who is caught between dancing and watching in awe of her.
Potter’s performance was something to behold. Her stage presence is joyful, yet approachable. Her dancing is uninhibited, and her jokes are funny and endearing. During the whole of the concert, her entire persona seemed not only truly happy, but deeply grateful. Her voice is, by turns, powerful, sweet, light, and intense.
My favorite song came in the encore, when Potter stood alone onstage at a keyboard she used to accompany herself. The song is one of my favorites from Daylight: “Release.” The whole time Potter performed, you could’ve heard a pin drop in the audience. All we could do was watch, rapt at her emotion and the beauty of her voice. That performance of “Release” was amazing; genuine, gorgeous, and better than the recording. Her voice soared strong when she belted, and there was no airiness to the softer, sweeter notes. The price of the tickets and parking were worth it, but if she had just performed “Release” that way, that would’ve been worth every penny itself.