After thinking things couldn’t get better from last week’s Caedmon’s Call concert, last Friay I took my wife to see Derek Webb at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. The venue was terrific; Wallenberg Hall there at Augustana is small enough that the seats only went back about 10 rows deep; I got a seat on the center aisle in the third row, and was only 6 or 8 feet from the stage (which was only about a foot high). It was awesome. The crowd was warm and receptive, and by the time Derek came out, they were very ready to hear some good tunes. They were not disappointed.
Derek was presenting lots of songs from his new album, I See Things Upside Down. The sound is a departure from his old, Caedmon’s sound (also found on his first album, She Must and Shall Go Free) — none of the acoustic simplicity that was the trademark of the earlier days; this new sound is a much more modern sound, inspired by artists like WILCO and Ryan Adams. It is different, but the excellent songwriting still shines through the wall of sound. They played for nearly 90 minutes, not talking very much in between (a departure of sorts from other Webb concerts). The musical highlight of the night was when things slowed down and Derek performed Nothing Is Ever Enough as a solo with only his electric guitar; an incredible sound on a beautiful song.
Didn’t get to meet Derek afterwards; the band hustled off to somewhere, and we had to head home; the babysitter was waiting. 🙂 Didn’t get home ’til midnight, and had a great time.