First up was Unified Theory, and as usual the set was superb. The started with "Cessna" which is the opener on the CD. This song is so great. The sound is captivating and Christopher Thorn's lap steel makes the song. Chris Shinn was dead on vocally, and the rhythm section of Brad Smith and Dave Krussen weren't missing a beat. The set flowed so well, and the songs were perfectly played. "Instead Of Running" was the highlight for me. Brad Smith's bass lines in that song are so sweet. "Full Flavor" was great to see done live. Christopher Thorn went off of the song and exibited some great guitar playing. I also loved hearing their cover of Pink Floyd's "Breathe In The Air" again. It's a great rendition of the song, and showcases Christopher Thorn's lap steel playing. The set ended with "California" which hit as hard as ever. The lead riff in that song is very catchy and cuts hard. The vocal tandem of Shinn and Smith make the harmonies come off perfect. This was a great set from one of the great bands around at this time.
The second and final band was Better Than Ezra. They opened with one of their radio songs, "The King Of New Orleans" which got the crowd excited and into their set. They had a good mix of sound with a backup musician who played guitar and keyboards. They put on a good energetic show and left me with a good impression of their musical ability. The thing I liked was that they got their more popular songs out of the way early to cater to their real fans who knew more than those songs. The fourth song they played was "Good" which got the largest response of the night, but also saw many people leave at it's conclusion. It was disheartening to see how lame some people could be. The rest of the set rolled on pretty smoothly, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Better Than Ezra showed they could play some great songs that didn't make the radio. All in all they showed a lot. I was left with a respect for them as musicians and performers.
Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.