“Is anybody here in love?” Gavin DeGraw asked a packed crowd at New York’s Rumsey Playfield in Central Park (otherwise known as That Place With All The Good Morning America Concerts). Love was the ostensible theme of the warm-breezed show on Saturday night–looking for love, finding love, keeping love. If Adele or Taylor Swift concerts are totems to messy relationships, consider this summer’s DeGraw-Colbie Caillat tour a jubilant celebration of happily-ever-after.
Caillat opened her set with a slow-burn “Falling For You” that kicked into high gear during the first chorus, prompting a brief singalong that didn’t last through her next songs — which seemed to act more as mellow soundtrack for audience conversation. “Begin Again” and “Realize” were preempted by cutesy anecdotes from Cailat that seemed to blend together with later intros to “Shadow” and “I Never Told You,” selected at random from a menu of hopeful reminiscences like “I wrote this when I was in love” or “I wrote this when I was thinking about love one day.”
Caillat scored with the more uptempo “I Do” and “Lucky” (replacing Jason Mraz with DeGraw protegé/show opener Andy Grammer, who garnered one of the biggest crowd reactions of the night), but lost some momentum when she delivered a lackluster snippet of “Empire State of Mind,” a thematically obvious (why yes, we are in Manhattan!) though somewhat bizarre addition to her set list. She rounded out her dusk performance with “Brighter Than The Sun” (impeccably timed to the sun breaking through the trees in Central Park) and ended with her fizzy breakout hit, “Bubbly.”
DeGraw took the stage with unexpected swagger, strutting across the boards like Freddie Mercury by way of Raffi and launching immediately into gospel highlight “Sweeter.” He followed with repertoire favorite “In Love With A Girl” before asking the crowd about their aforementioned relationship status, as an segue into “Soldier” and “Candy,” both of which were accompanied by LED visuals spinning with bubblegum colors. The crowd roared through “I Don’t Want To Be” and “Follow Through,” but halted as DeGraw covered Aloe Blacc’s folk-soul plea “I Need A Dollar” (though it brought one of the night’s funkiest moments, most of the audience seemed unfamiliar with the song). The crowd’s energy picked up again, with the throwback “Chemical Party,” “Run Every Time” and set-ender “Chariot” each drawing enthusiastic responses. The encore brought solid performances of “Radiation” and his most recent hit, “Not Over You” (which he joked had nothing to do with his ex-girlfriend).
You can probably imagine the type of fan that dominated the grounds: bubbly twentysomething girls in breathable cottons, accompanied by guys in fedoras and moms in chunky necklaces. The evening played out with a dearth of musical surprises and absolutely no interaction between Cailat and DeGraw (personally, I was profoundly disappointed at the lack of at least a brief duet), but I imagine that most ticketholders knew precisely what they were getting into: a straightforward live rendition of DeGraw and Cailat’s well-established brand of mellow, with few frills to distract from the king and queen of soft-chill acoustics.