Written by Jeff McMahon, Photos by Suzanne Davis McMahon
On the Ocean, Guster’s very own summer festival, entered it’s second year. The band pulled together a festival for the very specific fan that loves Guster. In Portland, Maine, Guster fans were treated to a fun time among friends. As fans of Guster, we seem to share a kinship with band members and their quirkiness.
On the first night, Guster began the show with a trip down memory lane and a classic show at the downtown Portland venue the State Theatre. While the theatre looked pretty much like a classic small town concert venue, it was stiflingly hot and humid inside. Luckily, the happy go-lucky attitude of the band managed to lift the spirits of the sweaty crowd.
The band started with a mix of songs from their early albums and deeper tracks. The band played favorites “Ramona,” “Barrel of a Gun” and “Airport Song” while deeper tracks “Dear Valentine,” “Hercules,” and “Gangway” balanced out the set. After having seen Guster more than 10 times, I found the mix kept the crowd interested and singing along on every other song opposite those deeper tracks.
The band presented the show as though they were playing in a room full of their closest friends. The members had the idea of writing song requests on ping pong balls which the audience would then hurl at the band when given the signal. About halfway through the show, Ryan Miller, the lead singer, explained the process only to be pelted with ping pong ball song requests. The band used this interactive device to bring together the band and their audience and played many old favorites straights from their fans.
After this section, the band returned to more familiar territory. They played “Great Escape,” “Stay With Me Jesus,” and “Fa Fa.” The songs brought the band into their familiar Guster happy place. For the encore, the band returned with “Rocketship,” “Manifest Destiny,” and “Fa Fa” to bring the memories to their height. Not a bad way to kick off the festival tailored to their most loyal and long-running fans.
About the author: Suzanne started her love affair with photography at age 15. When she's not snapping photos, she is working as a Clinical Social Worker just outside of Boston. Suzanne also enjoys attending concerts and singing. Check out more of her photos at www.suzannedavisphotography.com