While he certainly may not have been the first to address the unusual assortment of food Atlanta’s Chastain Amphitheater attendees brought, Guster’s Ryan Miller wasn’t going to let that stop him from poking a little fun at the higher-ups eating at tables in front of him, and getting a laugh from the cheap seats.
“This is a f—king weird show,” Miller said, eventually expressing his own hunger and making a personal menu order from onstage. “This is a f—king dinner party man.”
Since the band’s formation as a acoustic guitar-driven, bongo beating trio in Boston in 1992, the members of Guster have never been much for hob-nobbing, having used a dedicated grass-roots approach to their music that has gained them a loyal following and allowed them to maintain creative control of their work for years.
On the road with Ray Lamontagne to support the recent release of its fifth studio album, Ganging Up on the Sun, Guster played to the tour’s largest crowd like it was just another small venue, offering up infectious pop tunes that made the evening pass more quickly than it should have.
With a set list that with a healthy mix of familiar favorites such “Fa Fa,” “Happier,” and “I Spy” and new cuts such as “Manifest Destiny,” “Captain,” and “One Man Wrecking Machine,” perhaps the most subtle, yet gratifying element to the band’s performance was the newfound versatility to its musical compositions.
With the help of multi-instrumentalist Joe Pisapia as a permanent addition to the band, providing some much needed slack—particularly with his ability on lead guitar and solos—Miller could occasionally take a turn at playing keyboards, guitarist Adam Gardner was able to step aside and play a few bars on trumpet, and percussionist Brian Rosenworcel could even leave his bongos and cymbals to play on a standard drum kit. And there was even cowbell.
Ultimately while some may have come for the food and the music, Guster certainly did its part in making the latter the part people remembered. Before closing with the previous album’s title track, “Keep It Together,” Miller thanked everyone for supporting them and coming out to the show. He also said thank you for the cheese.