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Howie Day, live at the Troubadour in Brisbane

(Side Note: Apologies for the weird formatting issues in the below post. I’m posting this from the road, and my laptop seems to be acting up a bit. When I’m back at my regular computer next week, I’ll try and fix it up. For now, I hope you can put up with the changing fonts and weird picture alignments etc.)

So last night, I saw a musical genius at work. Those who have read this blog for any amount of time might know my somewhat obvious admiration for all things Howie Day. If you aren’t aware of this, I suggest you check out my last post regarding him, entitled, “Live Music Friday – Howie Day live at The House of Blues. (Or, I’m in mourning. I missed the Howie Day gig.)”.

Back? Ok, good. So, now that you’re up to speed, you can imagine my excitement when I learned that Howie Day was returning to Australia, this time headlining his own tourand was performing at the Troubadour in Brisbane. This time, I wasn’t going to miss it for the world.

It was my first time visiting the Troubadour last night, and I must say, I was very impressed with the venue. Tiny and laid-back, it’s the perfect spot for a live, intimate gig. Unfortunately the crowd was… well, shall we say slightly young for the most part (in fact, at one stage Howie commented to one extremely tipsy amorous pre-legal age girl at the front of the crowd that “he remembered his first beer too”), but overall the setting was a great one.

Anyway, I’m getting slightly ahead of myself. First, there was the opening act. Well, two opening acts actually. The first was a girl that, for the life of me, I don’t think ever mentioned her name (sorry… if you by any chance come across this post, feel free to drop a comment so I can update the entry with a name). Her set was good, although I think she has a bit to learn about dealing with being an “opening act”. Her awkwardness was part of her charm though, and she played a short set which was worthwhile. After this mystery girl, Sophie Koh came on stage.

Sophie Koh is a girl that I had – coincidentally – only recently become aware of, so I was very interested in hearing her play. Although she apparently usually plays with a full band, Sophie was up on stage as a solo performer, and as much as she may protest against this statement, I really think this is the setting in which she excels. Sophie has that kind of vulnerability to her voice that you simply cannot dislike, and her guitar phrasing is nothing short of beautiful. Seeing as I’ve only recently become aware of her music, I won’t waffle on too much here. Suffice to say that, if you get the chance… go see this girl live. You won’t be disappointed.

Listen: Sophie Koh – All The Pretty Boys

After Sophie, it was time for the main event… Howie Day came on stage to what seemed like a subdued crowd (although I think the reason there was a hush was that everyone was waiting in what can only be termed extreme anticipation). It’s weird, but I don’t think I’ve been to a gig in the last 5 years where simply everyone was sitting on the ground in silence. But that was the case with this one. While I think Howie seemed somewhat unsure of what to make of such a crowd when he came out, I think he soon warmed to the fact that here was a crowd to listen.

After a quick, “How you doing?”, Howie launched straight into “Sorry, So Sorry”, which had the crowd in raptures. And it was here that my question was answered. In recent live shows of Howie’s that I’ve heard, it’s seemed clear that he appeared to be moving away from the looping effects of his shows from years past. While I could appreciate the new direction, I would have been lying if I said I wouldn’t have been disappointed if he didn’t employ his “trickery” as he so often termed it that night. However, launching into “Sorry”, it was clear that this was a disappointment I wasn’t going to have to deal with. Unfortunately, just as the song was reaching it’s emotional peak, it became clear that there were some power issues with Howie’s pedals that interfered with the sound equipment; interference that led to everything cutting out, and Howie having to stop, mid-song. Despite this clearly nerve-wracking time for Howie, once the issue was sorted he picked up the song, quite literally from the line he left off, and just let loose with an emotion that bowled us all over.

Howie Day performing live at The Troubadour

After “Sorry”, the night flew by in an absolute flash for me… I simply blissed out on – finally, after all these years – finally hearing one of my favourite musicians perform live. For those who are interested though, here’s the setlist (as I recall it) from the night. If you were at the gig though, and think I’ve missed something out, then drop a comment and let me know.

Howie Day at The Troubadour in Brisbane Setlist

Sorry, So Sorry
Brace Yourself
Sunday Morning
No Longer What You Require (new song)
Sound the Alarm
Perfect Time of Day

She Says

Highlights of the set for me? Well… to be honest… everything. However, if pushed to pick a few highlights, I’d say “Ghost” (of course), “Bunnies” (which was simply brimming with emotion), “Madrigals”, “Collide” (which Howie introduced as simply, “Well, here’s this song”, which was an indication of what a curse and blessing the song is, even all these years later. The reason it’s on my highlights list, though, is that it’s the reason my girlfriend came with me to the gig; a rare occasion), and the new song, “No Longer What You Require”. It was my first time hearing this new song, and – quite frankly – it’s the most excited I’ve been about Howie’s music in years. Point blank. And I don’t mean that in a derogatory way at all, it’s just an indication of how amazing the song is.

As I mentioned above, it’s pretty much impossible for me to give a song by song breakdown of the night, as I lost myself in the music. I will say this though… Howie not only lived up to my expectations – which after close on 8 years of waiting in anticipation, were not small… by any means – but he clearly overwhelmed them. The guy was nothing short of magical. Possessing one of the strongest voices I’ve ever witnessed, and with a musicality that simply towers over most over performers, the night was one that with stay with me for years to come. All I can offer, should some of Howie’s people stumble across this post in their usual reputation management checks, is my sincere thanks to Howie for a simply amazing night.

Howie's many pedals...

After Howie had finished for the night, he came out and joined the crowd (or what was left of it) for a while. Thankfully, I managed to meet him, and a more humble, gracious person you could not hope for. Despite what the media sometimes portray Howie as, I was amazed at how down to earth he was, and how hard he was obviously willing to work at his chosen career. I’ll be honest: I was amazed that Howie performed to such a small crowd, with such a cheap ticket price in the first place, given what he could obviously ask for. But he’s clearly committed to working on breaking it in Australia from the ground up, and that’s something I have major respect for. Anyway, I managed to snag a pic with him, which is below. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera that night, so all the pics are from a somewhat crappy phone camera… which is a pity, but still, at least it’s a reminder of a wonderful meeting. Thankfully, Howie was kind enough not to laugh at my fumbled, tongue-tied compliments.

Howie Day & Burgo

Anyway, that’s clearly enough from me, as this post is becoming ridiculously long. All that’s left to say? Come back soon Howie. We’ll be waiting for you.

Listen. Love. Support.

Listen: Howie Day – She Says (link no longer active)

Update: 10 December, 2008

Seeing as this track has already been put out there on the ‘Tube (see the comments section of this post for more on that), I don’t see a problem with posting the mp3 of that video. So here, for your extreme auditory pleasure, is Howie Day’s new song… “No Longer What You Require”, from his live performance at Annandale while on his Australian tour. It is, quite simply, beautiful. As I said up above, in the main post… it’s quite possibly the most excited I’ve been about Howie’s music in years.

Listen: Howie Day – No Longer What You Require (live performance of new song)

Seeing as there’s really no information out there about this song, I thought I might as well take the time to transcribe the lyrics from this performance… as up until now I’ve drawn a blank looking for any lyrics out there already. I’m pretty sure there are a few mistakes in the below, so please feel free to correct me in the comments and I’ll be sure to update the post accordingly.

Anyway, here you go… Howie Day, “No Longer What You Require” Lyrics

We had it all we were young lovers
We were full of trust and faith
And we were deadset on making it last forever
forever and a day
I recall it was fall last year when it started to die
Standing still as the temperature kills
The summer (?) that were keeping it alive
The days got colder so I held you closer
In an effort to save us some time
Almost like the wind came and ruined the spark
And left us in the dark

But hey,
I could have told you that i loved you and stayed
Around to kindle the fire
But I was late
On my returning now you’ve lost all faith
And I am a liar
I’m no longer what you require

See I still feel you at night
Turning in the sheets when I turn out the light
It’s how a ghost,
The ghost of your first love
Won’t ever leave you until the day that you die
I won’t have any doubt leaving her behind
Even if the choice was the right one
It was a good thing staring me right in the face
but I turned and ran away

But hey,
I could have told you that i loved you and stayed
Around to kindle the fire
But I was late
On my returning now you’ve lost all faith
And I am a liar
I’m no longer what you require

Back then the days were so much faster
we were young, stubborn and in love with disaster
And no, you cant come back even if you try
You better just forget and won’t you close the door on me
Coz it’ll never be the same
It’ll never be the way it was before

But hey,
I could have told you that i loved you and stayed
Around to kindle the fire
But I was late
On my returning now you’ve lost all faith
And I am a liar
I’m no longer what you require
Well hey,
I could have told you that I loved you and stayed
Around to kindle the fire
But I was late
On my returning now you’ve lost all faith
In the dying light
I’m no longer what you require
I’m no longer what you require