Greek Fire Brought Much Needed Musical Relief With Livestream Concert at The Pageant

Johnny Venus of Greek Fire performing at The Pageant Saturday. screenshot courtesy of HyFi.com and Greek Fire.

–By Sean Derrick

–all photos are screen shots courtesy of HyFi.com and Greek Fire

 

I gotta admit, I have never reviewed an online performance. I never felt the need to, what with having access to in person shows. The thought of reviewing something online just felt strange. But then again, these are strange times. When Greek Fire announced a couple weeks ago that they would be performing at The Pageant in Saint Louis last night, but with no fans live in person, streamed to anyone who wanted to watch, for free, I was intrigued to say the least.

I have seen several live performances since the Covid-19 pandemic shut down our way of life, but they usually consisted of a musician playing by him/herself of accompanied by just one band member, or an entire band playing at once, but at different locations – ie. their homes, and streamed together. That was cool and all, but they all had one thing in common – they all felt like you were just watching a Zoom or Hangouts meeting. Some felt like you were hanging out at a recording session, which is super cool, too.

Greek Fire performing at The Pageant Saturday. screenshot courtesy of HyFi.com and Greek Fire.

But what made Greek Fire’s show on Saturday special was that it was a full performance (100 minutes), with all four members on one stage. Sure it was weird to see no fans, but it was also very refreshing. Almost like you were getting your own personal concert.

Having seen the band live a dozen times or so, I can say that the show they performed had the same energy  as a live performance with the fans. While it is true that in person fan’s energy would have amped the band up as they feed on the crowd’s energy and excitement, lead singer Moon Valjean (along with bassist Mark Joseph Roth, drummer Johnny Venus, and guitarist Chris Hobbs) did their best to call up the vibes from past shows to feed their energy for this special performance.

Greek Fire performing at The Pageant Saturday. screenshot courtesy of HyFi.com and Greek Fire.

They didn’t hold back, incorporating a full live production of lights, big screens, and smoke – an actual live performance…just to an audience that they couldn’t see. Moon even did his normal routine of talking to the audience between songs, as if they were sitting right there. After opening with the excellent “What’s Left” from their latest album Broken Moon said “What’s up everybody? We are a rock and roll band called Greek Fire. Hope your couch is ready for dancin'”. And with that Moon quickly set the mood that this wasn’t just a jam session or studio practice.

With the prospect of not having the opportunity to perform on stage for the entire calendar year for the first time in over 20 years Moon and Greek Fire jumped at the chance for the concert. Even though they haven’t performed together live since December they sounded tight and with very few technical glitches.

Greek Fire performing at The Pageant Saturday. screenshot courtesy of HyFi.com and Greek Fire.

The band hit through so many of the fan’s favorites; from “Break Me Down”, “A Real LIfe”, “Doesn’t Matter Anyway”, and “Dreaming in Deja Vu”, to requests from fans of “Saddest View” (which will be released “soon” as the final version has finally been recorded), and “Top of the World”, to covers of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” and “Garth Brooks’ “The Thunder Rolls” (which Moon said was requested by “Garth”. Hmmm)

The show was put together by an upstart company called HyFi, (Www.hyfi.com) in conjunction with The Pageant and was wonderfully produced, with multiple professional quality cameras (I counted at least 4 different cameras) and seamless transitions the final product was very professional and well produced. This was their third show and they have more coming up (Tonina is scheduled for next Saturday) in their new livestreaming concert series. You should check it out.

Greek Fire performing at The Pageant Saturday. screenshot courtesy of HyFi.com and Greek Fire.

The show was also used as a fundraiser for the Gateway Resilience Fund. The band acknowledged that the times were rough for many people as many are out of work, including many in the restaurant industry and the entertainment field, which has been especially hard hit and remains shut down for the foreseeable future.

One of the more poignant segments of the show was at the end of “Put Your Hands on Me”/”Hand in My Pocket” the band left the stage to a recording of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1967 speech he entitled “Beyond Vietnam” (which was also used as a prelude to the Linkin Park song “Iridescent”).

Greek Fire performing at The Pageant Saturday. screenshot courtesy of HyFi.com and Greek Fire.

“Saddest View” was actually performed in one of the dressing rooms backstage and, coupled with Moon’s solo performance on piano for “Crawling” and “True Colors” was a nice contrast to the electric rock setting for the rest of the show.

Greek Fire performing at The Pageant Saturday. screenshot courtesy of HyFi.com and Greek Fire.

The band stayed loose and had fun throughout the show and it really showed when Moon forgot a “witty dad joke” during a stoppage in the song “The Ride”. I have to say, that was pretty funny (though I do hope to hear what the joke was at a later point, as I love dad jokes).

Greek Fire performing at The Pageant Saturday. screenshot courtesy of HyFi.com and Greek Fire.

The show as a nice reprieve from the mundane that has taken over since March in the country’s effort to just survive by staying home. This show, and other set to follow give me something to look forward to.

Greek Fire performing at The Pageant Saturday. screenshot courtesy of HyFi.com and Greek Fire.

HyFi is archiving the shows so far, so go and relive this show here.

I can’t wait for more shows like this.

 

Greek Fire Setlist:

What’s Left

A Real Life

Put Your Hand’s on Me/Hand in My Pocket (Alanis Morissette cover)

Crawling (Linkin Park cover)

True Colors (Cyndi Lauper cover)

Saddest View

Under the Stars

Doesn’t Matter Anyway

Wait it Out

Top of the World

Running Away

The Thunder Rolls (Garth Brooks cover)

The Ride

Coming Out of the Rain

Dreaming in Deja Vu

If This is the End (The Sound of Belief)

 

2 thoughts on “Greek Fire Brought Much Needed Musical Relief With Livestream Concert at The Pageant

  • Avatar
    June 21, 2020 at 3:40 am
    Permalink

    That is a tough business to be in right now.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    June 23, 2020 at 12:41 pm
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    It’s nice to see local bands doing what they can to help in such a time of need.

    Reply

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