Ray LaMontagne baptizes crowd in new album at Cathedral Sanctuary

Ray LaMontagne photosPhoto by @MaggieBryant

Last night’s concert at the Cathedral Sanctuary at Immanuel Presbyterian Church was advertised as “An Intimate Presentation of Supernova with Ray LaMontagne“. The pitch perfect folk singer played through his new album, Supernova and sounded just as it would if it were a free stream of the release. Though the performance itself was impressive, it lacked the intimacy that was advertised as LaMontagne shared very little interaction with the crowd, to the point that late in his set, one fan yelled “Say SOMETHING, Ray!”

The only moment of the show that elicited more than a few words from LaMontagne was when a female fan walked up to the stage and let out a beautiful and soulful rhythm of the heart, to which LaMontagne referred to as “bad ass” as security chased the eager fan away.

Though the show was specific in advertising it being a presentation of LaMontagne’s new album, it didn’t keep fans (a mostly cougar-ific crowd) from yelling out requests from his back catalog. LaMontagne stuck to the script, though he did turn back the clock on occasion. When he did, he didn’t belt out the radio friendly singles that likely brought many to LaMontagne’s music.

Venues that once were churches are the new fad in live music. In this case, this is an active church that sometimes doubles as a music venue and it served as a beautiful backdrop to LaMontagne’s set. Though my initial impression upon walking in was to think “holy sh*t” in amazement, I kept myself from speaking the words aloud. The stained glass windows and amazing acoustics of the church complemented LaMontagne’s gig better than it would most other artists, and it brought a certain level of respect from a crowd that otherwise may have been rowdier. That alcohol was sold and had to be consumed in the lobby was an interesting angle, and it felt wrong to hear two girls behind me talking as they Tindered while we awaited LaMontagne’s arrival to the stage.

Though they would’ve preferred hearing old favorites, my guess is that LaMontagne’s performance sent people home anxious to purchase the new album to help relive that evening’s greatness.

Let it be live music that brought me to church for the first time in a few years. On that evening, I worshipped at the altar of Ray LaMontagne and left that night feeling born again.

Words: Mark E. Ortega

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