Barenaked Ladies Pepper Their Feel-Good Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica Concert With Cleveland References

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Early in last night’s nearly two-hour concert at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica, Barenaked Ladies singer-guitarist Ed Robertson talked about how much he enjoyed spending the day in Cleveland.

After telling the audience that he remembers when Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica was just known as "Nautica," he talked about taking a dip in the river and referenced stopping at the Happy Dog for food and then notching the high score on an Iron Maiden pinball machine at Super Electric before hitting up Sweet Moses for dessert.

The local references clearly endeared the veteran Toronto-based band to the near-capacity crowd. You can see a slideshow of photos from the concert here.

The performance had a feel-good vibe to it as the band celebrated the last date on its annual Last Summer on Earth tour. A few early highlights: The band delivered the giddy “Bringing it Home” with a calypso beat and started “Brian Wilson,” a track that featured opening act KT Tunstall on guitar and vocals, as a tender acoustic ballad before building momentum slowly and turning it in a righteous sing-along that got fans up and out of their seats. The tune ended with a vigorous jam.



The group then stripped down to an acoustic format for a short set that included the folk-y “Canada Dry” and the tender “The Township of King,” a tune that came off as an Irish ballad as Robertson talked more than he sang. The group revisited its first album for “Wrap Your Arms Around Me” and “Enid,” tracks that featured harmony vocals and suggested the band’s quirky sensibilities, which were only latent back then.

The group plugged back in for “We Took the Night,” a generic rock tune that flickering strobes couldn’t even bring to life. But the guys got back on track with the jittery pop tune “Lookin’ Up,” a high energy song that had a Jimmy Buffett feel. Robertson prefaced the track by saying, “We shouldn’t build fences but put up bridges.”

The end of the set featured a litany of hits as the group played the Big Bang Theory theme song, “One Week” and “If I Had $1000000” before launching into a frivolous rap that included snippets of tunes such as Post Malone’s “Rock Star,” Portugal the Man’s “Feel It Still” and Migos’ “Stir Fry.” That all led nicely to a rendition of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.” Drummer Tyler Stewart capably sang lead vocals while Robertson switched to drums. “We’re Canadian, and I want to remind you that we’ve been your friends and allies for 150 years,” Stewart said at the song’s conclusion. “Don’t let some idiot tell you anything different.”

The encore included “All Been Done,” a tune that benefited from retro-sounding synths, and a grittier rendition of the poppy “The Old Apartment.”

The concert also included performances by openers Better Than Ezra and KT Tunstall. Better Than Ezra peppered its 30-minute set with a few covers. For its rendition of Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer,” a song that found singer Kevin Griffin sounding more like Kermit the Frog, the lanky guy hopped off the stage and made his way up into the bleachers, all without missing a note. The set concluded with an up-tempo rendition of the James’ tune “Laid.”

While singer-guitarist Tunstall didn’t have the benefit of performing with a band, she made do with a drum machine and sampler that she triggered by tapping her acoustic guitar. While Tunstall, who wore studded black boots and a ragged denim skirt, got a rise out of the crowd when she played her hard-hitting hit “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” her set’s highlight was her soulful cover of “The Boys of Summer,” a tune she dedicated to the guys in Barenaked Ladies and Better than Ezra, whom she said couldn’t be “kinder, more supportive or more fun.”

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