Auditorium Theatre – Chicago, IL
The Mix’s Miracle Near State Street 11
December 4, 2009
Oh The Fray, how I love thee… Seriously though, I adore The Fray and have been a fan of the group since the very instant I heard “Over My Head (Cable Car)” on the radio back in the fall of 2005. I grew up playing the piano (classically trained, thank you very much); therefore, I am intensely attracted to The Fray’s compositions. Music of any sort that heavily features piano, keyboards, synthesizers, etc. holds a special place in my heart. Needless to say, I am a proud owner of the Piano/Vocal/Guitar songbook for The Fray’s first full-length album How To Save A Life and have taught myself how to play my favorite songs from the band’s debut record. “Heaven Forbid” is undoubtedly my absolute favorite track from How To Save A Life and every time I have seen The Fray live in concert, the guys have included it in their set list. Unfortunately, the Denver foursome decided not to perform “Heaven Forbid” at their Miracle Near State Street 11 gig last Friday night in Chicago. Slightly disappointed, I still managed to have an amazing time seeing one of my favorite piano-based bands play their music from the glorious vantage point of the second row (center section, of course). What I would have given for the chance to be invited up on stage to play the piano for just one of The Fray’s songs in place of frontman Isaac Slade…
More photos of The Fray after the jump!
Set List / Chicago
You Found Me
All At Once
How To Save A Life
Where The Story Ends
Never Say Never
Over My Head (Cable Car)
One of the things I love most about The Fray is how talented these four guys truly are when it comes to writing music and playing a wide variety of instruments. Each one of the band’s members can easily adapt to and play each other’s instruments and proceed to do so during their shows, which I witnessed last Friday night. Lead singer Isaac Slade performs the majority of the set while sitting down at his grand piano, exactly where I like him to be. However, there were many times during the evening’s holiday radio show where Slade let his bandmates play the song’s necessary instruments while he chose to pace the stage sing his heart out.
To be honest, it was (and still is) hard for me to accept Slade as just a singer instead of a pianist/singer. Watching Isaac sing into a cordless microphone while standing still at the edge of the stage was difficult for me to observe. I had to resist the urge to yell at him to sit back down at the piano and play the same black and white keys that I know how to play, which is what I really wanted to do.
On my Christmas wish list this year is (can you guess?) the Piano/Vocal/Guitar songbook for The Fray’s second and latest full-length album, self-titled The Fray. The need to learn how to play my favorite track off of The Fray “Syndicate” is incessant and unrelenting. To my great relief and profound happiness, The Fray chose to play “Syndicate” at The Mix’s Miracle Near State Street 11. Rest assured, I was one delighted and satisfied fan when Slade announced that the second song of the night was called “Syndicate.” Looking back at the set list, I suppose that by playing “Syndicate” I will forgive Isaac and Co. for the fact that “Heaven Forbid” did not make the final cut. Next time, boys!
One of the fantastic perks that comes with living and working in Chicago is that super successful bands like The Fray tour through the Windy City quite often. Fortunately, I am one of the group’s lucky fans in America’s third largest metropolis who have seen The Fray all three times the band has played in Chicago within the past year. In celebration of most recent album The Fray, the band hit up small venues in select cities across the country to perform intimate shows while promoting the new record’s February 2009 release. So there I was, photographing and reviewing The Fray for The Dead Hub at a completely sold out show at Chicago’s historic Metro. That performance was impossible to get in to; after all, the Metro holds no more than 1,100 people. Trust me, I know how blessed I was to be there and do not take it for granted at all. I went alone for crying out loud!
The Fray must love Chi-Town, because the guys filmed their music video for lead single “You Found Me” off The Fray in the city I call home. Did you know that? I just found out about this interesting little fact within minutes of The Fray’s Miracle Near State Street 11 performance ending last week. Unfortunately, The Fray guys did not perform their amazing cover of Kanye West’s “Heartless” at this show. I bought their version of the song on iTunes the other day after remembering how much I fell in love with it after seeing the band play the cover at their Chicago concert this past June. But seeing as how I am currently boycotting everything Kanye West due to his appalling behavior at the MTV VMAs this year, I guess it was a good thing that The Fray chose not to pay homage to Mr. West.
Due to The Fray’s headlining gig at local station The Mix’s holiday radio show, the band’s set had to be much shorter than what is the norm for an artist of their merit and size. Upon the end of grand finale song “Happiness,” I was left wanting more of The Fray’s music. The guys did not even have enough time to include an encore in their set. What is that about? Who doesn’t perform an encore these days? Typically, two or three songs in an encore is the standard for performing artists and to be expected, right? Apparently The Mix’s Miracle Near State Street 11 thought differently.
Argh, the frustration I felt when the band finished playing a rousing rendition of “Happiness,” walked away from their instruments and off the stage into the shadows of the wings. Dashing all hopes I had of The Fray returning to play more songs, the house lights came on and the union stage hands began tearing down the stage. I am already waiting for the next date to be announced when The Fray will perform in Chicago again. For now, listening to their music on my iPod and playing their songs on my keyboard will have to suffice and hold me over.
Click on thumbnails to enlarge photos: