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A relentless and sizzling performance

Grace Potter/ Rayland Baxter
The Historic Rialto Theatre
Tucson, AZ
August 9, 2015
Grace Potter Grace Potter Grace Potter

Review and photos by Mary Andrews

Grace Potter brought a nonstop powerhouse performance to Tucson. Grace has always delivered the goods and tonight was no exception.

The tour is promoting a new album release, "Midnight," that 'drops' Friday, August 15, 2015. It is her first release without the Nocturnals - the band that she has fronted for the last 12 years. Grace has always penned all the songs on her albums and this record continues that tradition.

Tonight's band lineup included drummer and percussionist, Matthew Burr, and on lead guitar and vox, Benny Yurco from the Nocturnals. The rest of the band members are new and include Ben Alleman, keyboards and guitar and vox, Tim Deaux on bass guitar and vox, Eliza Jones on keyboards and vox, and Daiki Hirano on drums and percussion. As evidenced by this performance, all are consummate musicians!

The show started with opener Rayland Baxter and his band from Nashville. Rayland is a singer songwriter who opened for Boz Scaggs at the Fox theatre in Tucson two months ago. This set with the band was a much more rocking event. They are touring to promote his new album, "Imaginary Man," that will coincidentally be released the same day as Grace Potter's new album. Baxter employs a genius wit, melodic mastery, and a technical knack to craft great songs. All was apparent in his opening set.

Ms. Potter promised to take us to church and then later to prison early in the set and she kept that promise. There is something about a woman who straps on a custom made Stratocaster guitar and shreds it like one of the bossiest guitar players in the business. It was a religious experience and very sexual at the same time. No one in the crowd was complaining when she tore up "God Will Cut You Down!" She carried this libido driven pounding rock into new songs, "Hot To The Touch" and "Look What We've Become." The new songs blended perfectly with her more familiar songs. Then there was an extended version of "Loneliest Soul" that kept the rock fest going!

Grace spent less time at the keyboards than previous shows. The band had two other keyboards to keep her classic sound during the set. The best moments of the show were numerous. The extended performance of "Gimmie Shelter" rivals any Rolling Stones' version as the best. "Paris Ooh-La La" was the final number that pumped every bit of energy out of the ecstatic dancing fans and it was a dandy.

Most writers compare Grace Potter with other powerhouse female singers. Many have criticized her use of sexuality in her performances when her male counterparts are celebrated for their sexuality. There seems to be a double standard here. Let's not forget that Janis Joplin capitalized on her sexuality during her performances. Grace has got the goods. Why not flaunt it while making great music? It would be more appropriate to rank her exciting performances with ANY of the great rock performers in the business not just the women.
Set List:
1. The Lion The Beast The Beat
2. Alive Tonight
3. Never Go Back
4. Biggest Fan
5. Runaway
6. Empty Heart
7. Yes We Can Can (The Pointer Sisters cover)
8. Ah Mary
9. Your Girl
10. Apologies (with Rayland Baxter)
11. Low Road
12. God's Gonna Cut You Down (Johnny Cash cover)
13. Hot To Touch
14. Look What We've Become
15. Loneliest Soul
16. Jump Into the Fire (Harry Nilsson cover)
17. Medicine

18. Stars
19. Gimme Shelter (Rolling Stones cover)
20. Paris (Ooh La La)

Related articles:

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals w/Langhorne Slim and the Law - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI January 2013
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals (Farm Aid 2012) - Festival review - Hershey, PA - September 2012
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals - Concert review - Nashville, TN - September 2011
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals (Lollapalooza 2011) - Festival review - Chicago, IL - August 2011
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - January 2011
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals (Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival) - Photo Gallery - Manchester, TN - June 2009
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals with Benevento/Russo Duo - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - Mar. 2008
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals (10,000 Lakes Festival) - Photo Gallery - Detroit Lakes, MN - July 2005
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals - This Is Somewhere - Album review
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