Looking up at the night sky while listening to live music should be the eighth Wonder of the World. As the setting sun painted The Greek Theatre in hues of orange and pink, “Purple, Yellow, Red and Blue” filled the air, and John Gurley’s voice gently rocked me into hypnotic bliss. The last bit of sunlight disappeared, and Griffith Park came to life.
Portugal. The Man easily puts on one of the best shows imaginable. Gurley’s smooth, inescapably pure voice softly caressed my ears while luscious guitar riffs played gently in the air. The band’s impeccable timing, exquisite precision, and stellar light show melded into about forty minutes of musical perfection.
The psychedelic light show against the night sky made the performance even more enticing, like the most beautiful acid trip you could ever imagine. I felt the music vibrating within me, saw the colors playing above me, and heard nothing but great music throughout Portugal’s whole set. The band does not play to the crowd — they play to play. Their stage presence does not necessarily scream rock and roll, but their music certainly makes up for it. I really couldn’t help but just close my eyes and smile.
As I mentioned in another article, the members of Portugal. The Man and the actors from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia have a beautiful friendship. Knowing this I couldn’t have had a bigger smile on my face when Portugal began playing a groovy rendition of the infamous “Dayman.” Judging by the crowd’s reaction, everyone else was as happy about it as I was.
And Portugal had even more goodies up their sleeves! They played a wonderful medley of older songs for longtime fans like myself who have been following them for a while. As a whole, it was a near-perfect set.
After a short intermission, Grouplove came dancing onto the stage. Their stage presence was quite different from that of Portugal. The Man, and it blew me away. They exhibit such intense energy, and frontwoman Hannah Hooper must have a metronome programmed into her body. She must. She moves perfectly to every beat all while twirling around in a Stevie Nicks fashion. Her voice carries a lot of muster, and she definitely knows how to excite the crowd.
The LA natives played a wonderful set that included a cover of Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love” as well as their radio hits “Tongue Tied” and “Ways to Go.” Grouplove put on an awesome show. They never slowed down, the crowd never lost interest, and everyone’s energy stayed high. Towards the end of their set, Hooper kindly dedicated a song to recently deceased entertainer Robin Williams. The crowd, hearing his name, all audibly “aww-ed” in unison.
As a fitting encore, all the members of Portugal. The Man and Grouplove took the stage together, beers in hand, and played “Teenage Wasteland.” Absolute perfection. What a splendid way to end an evening of music, love, and alcohol. If you missed the Honda Civic tour this time around, please do yourself a favor and make sure to see one or both of these bands the next time they play here. You will have a great time, I promise.
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