This wasn’t the first time I’ve seen José González live, but it has to be one of my favorite concerts of his. Accompanied by the big Göteborg String Theory orchestra, his music does get a bit more drive – which I appreciated for a concert.
Before González played, it was Hanna Leess turn to play a short set. We didn’t catch the beginning of it and I have to admit that she didn’t quite manage to capture my attention or stick in my memory. Re-listening to some of her songs now, though, I don’t really know why. Maybe I would have needed to listen to her music beforehand to really appreciate her live performance.
After she played, it was time for José González. As I said, I’ve seen him before, but usually it was him and his guitar alone on stage. And he definitely knows how to fill that stage on his own. But since he sings calm and quiet music, his concerts are rather calm and quiet affairs.
With the orchestra, the music does get a little louder and a little more powerful. It’s still not music that will make you want to jump to your feet and dance (I certainly didn’t regret that we had seats), but it calls more attention to itself. And that is something I did appreciate, especially for a concert.
His setlist was well put together and a good mix of old and new stuff. Of course, his biggest cover hits – Heartbeats and Teardrop – were played as well and they, too, profited from the orchestra.
But ultimately it’s González lugubrious voice, his wistful, absolutely sincere delivery of those songs that make the concert – with or without the orchestra. It’s simply lovely, and it’s wonderful to experience.
Summarizing: definitely pays to watch him live.