On Saturday 29th February we ventured into East London for the best possible reason – a gig at the Troxy, and not just any gig, but the one and only Dallas Green. Better known under his quietly ingenious band name, City and Colour.
We’ve seen Dallas perform live a couple of times before in recent years but even with past experience we could not be ready for the electric excitement within the venue, and the awesome on-stage presence he commands. That man and his guitar, plus a perfect backing band.
First we were introduced to Lucy Rose. She is gorgeous, quirky and infinitely talented. Her wild acoustic beauties got us in the mood – oh, especially when she abruptly called out “Ladies and gentlemen, Dallas Green!”
The man himself walked on stage, in jeans and a casual tee, stepped up to her accompanying mic and sang along with one of her own penned singles.
The lights went down and of course the crowd began shrieking and applauding, some even yelling above others professing their love for Dallas. We will admit we were immediately swept up in the desperate thrill, and let ourselves whoop a couple of times. Then the hush fell. We waited patiently, breath held.
Imagine our astonishment, then, when suddenly some ancient country music starts playing. The tension in the crowd breaks and laughter circulates – people start dancing along and chattering amongst themselves. Then Dallas takes to the stage, and all he says before launching into the first song is “We’re the Three Amigos. Even though there are five of us.”
The set list was unreal. Mostly new tracks off his latest release ‘If I Should Go Before You’, the most exciting and dance-inducing being ‘Killing Time’, ‘Wasted Love’ and ‘Northern Blues’. Also opening with his 9-minute tune ‘Woman’ was brave and fantastical. It brought the most beautiful calm to the crowd; we swayed happily throughout.
Dallas also mixed it up now and again with some of the lesser known B-sides from the last couple of albums (‘Hurry and the Harm’, ‘Bring Me Your Love’).
He purposefully, famously, does not play some of his most well-known songs at his gigs. Classics from the ‘Sometimes’ album such as ‘Save Your Scissors’ and ‘Like Knives’, even ‘Sam Malone’, are never heard live these days. As die-hard fans, we have accepted this. However, a little part of us has always yearned to hear ‘Hello, I’m in Delaware’ played live – just once.
So when Dallas started strumming rather vaguely on his snazziest electric guitar and then leaned in to the mic to utter the words ‘there goes my life’, we felt our knees buckle, and there was an uproarious cheer all around us as our fellow fans realised what was happening.
As if that whole portion of the gig wasn’t emotional and beautiful enough, in his encore he played ‘Body in a Box’ and did the usual jokey spiel beforehand, saying “everyone get your cell phones out and shine the light…great, now put them in your pocket and keep them there for this entire song!” Which was, as always, met with hysterical laughter and applause. It’s no secret that Dallas hates those who hold phones up and record during his shows.
Dallas would occasionally pause between songs to utter the most gentle and sincere ‘thank you’, but we feel we should all have been thanking him, endlessly. For the most wonderful evening, packed with joy and magic.
(FULL SET LIST: ‘Thirst’, ‘Northern Blues’, ‘Two Coins’, ‘If I Should Go Before You’, ‘Killing Time’, ‘Hello, I’m in Delaware’, ‘Wasted Love’, ‘Weightless’, ‘Lover Come Back’, ‘Waiting…’, ‘Sleeping Silence’, ‘Woman’. ENCORE: ‘Body in a Box’, ‘The Girl’, ‘The Grand Optimist’, ‘As Much as I Ever Could’)