Josh Ritter @ Woodland Park Zoo (7/30/14)

Beth and I went to see Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band at the zoo last night.  That sounds sort of exotic, but the truth is that I didn’t see or hear any animals other than birds and gnats the entire evening.  I didn’t even smell any animals.  The predominant smell in the air was that of garlic fries.  The animals at Woodland Park Zoo must be very shy, polite, and hygienic.

It was a perfect evening to be out on the grass for an outdoor concert, but I soon became grumpy because the opening act, a group called Lake Street Dive, wouldn’t leave the stage. Long after I thought they should’ve wrapped up, the singer was talking about playing a few more.  Then they played more after those.  No opening act should ever be onstage longer than 40 minutes.  That’s a rule.

Lake Street Dive eventually went away and Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band took the stage.  Josh Ritter is so earnest and enthusiastic that it’s hard to stay grumpy once he’s doing his thing.  He’s pretty much the John Denver of the 2000s.  I don’t mean that as an insult either.  I always liked John Denver.  I think he got a bad rap because he had awful hair and hung around with Muppets too much.  He was a true entertainer who seemed to genuinely enjoy being onstage and singing his songs for people.  I get the same vibe from Josh Ritter.  He has a good time up there and seems to appreciate how lucky he is to be able to make a career of it.  And his enthusiasm is infectious.  Okay, let’s just say I smile a lot at Josh Ritter shows and move on to the next paragraph.

Josh Ritter’s most recent release is The Beast in Its Tracks which came out in early 2013 (and took the #5 spot on my Albums of the Year post).  He’s still traveling with his Evil Eye backdrop, but it didn’t feel like he was really touring in support of that album.  He only played three songs from it.  The setlist felt more like a career retrospective to me…what I’d call a “hits” set if Josh had ever had a hit.  He also played two brand new songs as part of a mini solo acoustic set in the middle of the show.  He didn’t give the titles of these new songs, but I’m calling them “Devil in His Eye” and “Get Yourself Back to the Country”.  Maybe I should’ve called that first one “Henrietta, Indiana” because he likes to use place names as song titles.  I don’t really know.

Here’s the setlist:

Main set: Good Man/Hopeful/Me & Jiggs/Southern Pacifica/Harrisburg/Right Moves/Kathleen/The Temptation of Adam (solo)/Henrietta, Indiana (solo)/”Get Yourself Back to the Country” (solo)/Here at the Right Time/Lantern/Wolves/New Lover/Naked As a Window–>Girl in the War/Joy to You Baby/Lillian, Egypt

Encore: Roll On/To the Dogs or Whoever

Blah, blah, blah.

I’m not finishing this one.


(digital flyer)

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11 Responses to Josh Ritter @ Woodland Park Zoo (7/30/14)

  1. homebody says:

    The only thing that beats a Josh Ritter concert for me is a Josh Ritter concert outside on the grass in perfect weather with good company to boot. That was the most enjoyable evening I’ve had in a long time.

  2. amyhftw says:

    Thanks the intro to Josh Ritter. I’ll have to check him out.

    BSG was just in Colorado and took a photo of a concert poster of Lake Street Dive and said he wishes we could be there for the show (it’s next week). I’d never heard of them before and now I hear of them twice in two weeks. Maybe I need to check them out just because.

    This is turning out to be a big concert fall for me. And by big, I mean four concerts, not big concerts. BSG’s friend bailed on going to see Chevelle so I went with him. I didn’t know anything about them and was expecting some thrash metal band. It was actually a fun and non-abrasive show. Not at all what I was expecting. The other shows we have tickets for are Interpol, Arctic Monkeys and Kaiser Chiefs (<—-SO EXCITED!).

    The Kaiser Chiefs are playing in a tiny place (the Rialto) down in Tucson during the middle of the week. So we're making the two hour drive, will stay at a cool historic hotel (Hotel Congress) across the street and then make our back to work the next day. (I tried to include links to the Rialto and Hotel Congress but WP won't let me.)

    I may cut and paste most of this comment so I'll have something new for my own blog…

    • M-----l says:

      If you really have an interest in checking out Josh Ritter, I’d suggest downloading some of the free music he’s giving away on Noisetrade. There’s a sampler and two live shows available, and all you’ve got to do is provide an email address. The site also features a free EP by Kaiser Chiefs…including a new version of one of my favorite songs from 2005, “I Predict a Riot”.

      I hope you have a good time at the rest of your shows. Now that Nick Cave, Luluc, and Josh Ritter are over, my concert schedule is officially empty for the rest of the year. I’m a bit jealous that you have so many coming up. The Rialto/Hotel Congress combination sounds like an especially fun night on the town. The hotel sounds familiar to me. It brings Calexico to mind, but I’m not sure why.

      (I made the edit you suggested.)

      • amyhftw says:

        Thanks for the info – and for the edit!

        Calexico came to your mind because they are a Tucson band. They probably have songs about the Rialto and Hotel Congress. That’s some musical treasure trove up there in your noggin’!

  3. Paul Thie says:

    if a concert is in a small art space venue (no chairs no food no drinks) and the doors open at 8:00 and everybody (maybe 100-150?) are all standing in line to get in at 7:15, what time should the concert begin? Is there an equation?

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