Citizen Cope at the Marquee Theatre, 1/27/12

Citizen Cope
Marquee Theatre

Friday, January 27, 2012

I've been to more exciting Citizen Cope shows over the past few years, but last night's solo acoustic gig was still a tight show for different reasons than I'm used to.

Clarence Greenwood sounds fabulous when he plays with his band, but he held his own without them.

He didn't do a whole lot of strumming on the guitar, so the onstage activity was minimal, but it forced us all to pay attention to a facet of his music that can lost amid the funky jamming: his lyrics.

And focusing on the lyrics, you realize how sad some of his songs are. I'm sure plenty of people never realized how deep observations in songs like "Healing Hands" really are. Because of the stripped-down sound, the crowd was able to acknowledge lyrics like "The violence of a few have put the world in harm's way."

The level of intimacy Cope created made the show feel like a giant coffee house performance or even something in the realm of "An evening with Clarence Greeenwood." Greenwood kept the talking between songs minimal. It seemed he didn't entirely connect with the crowd, but it didn't matter because the crowd sure as hell seemed to be connecting to him.

"Son's Gonna Rise" got everyone on their feet near the beginning of the second set. Greenwood let the crowd sing the first verse and chorus of "Sideways." Staying true to his roots, he repeatedly expressed his gratitude to the crowd by patting his hand on his chest.

Although last night's show wasn't necessarily the kind of Citizen Cope show that many of Greenwood's fans are used to, it's safe to say that just about everyone seemed like they would be down to see another one of his acoustic sets in the future. Big ups to Greenwood, one of most humble men in the world . . . second only to Jack Johnson, of course.

Critic's Notebook:

Last night: Citizen Cope at the Marquee Theatre.

Personal bias: I've been a Cope fan for about five years and I've seen Greenwood with his band twice before.

The crowd: Unusually clean-cut for the Marquee. Just about everyone was between the ages of 25 and 35, and everyone looked surprisingly sober.

Overheard: "Clarence: Keeping cargo pants alive."

Random notebook dump: I couldn't help but giggle every time Greenwood looked around for stagehands in search of what looked like a bottle of milk from far away. He really wanted more of whatever was in that bottle. Also, seats in the Marquee? WTF?

Set list:
Pablo Picasso
Bullet and a Target
Every Waking Moment
D'Artagnan's Theme
Healing Hands
Appetite (For Lightin' Dynamite)
Keep Askin'
Hurricane Waters
Son's Gonna Rise
200,000 (In Counterfeit 50 Dollar Bills)
Back Together
If There's Love
More Than It Seems
Brother Lee
My Way Home

One Lovely Day
Let the Drummer Kick

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Lenni Rosenblum