City Winery was cozy and warm Monday night, filled with the soothing vocals of none other than Joshua Radin. I have been a fan of Radin’s for quite some time now – since that semester my sophomore year of college when I was feeling kind of down and my friend gave me a mixed CD with a plethora of cry-in-your-room worthy Joshua Radin songs. As I was walking away from the bathroom prior to the show, I passed the room where Radin sat waiting and caught a glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye. I didn’t want to stare too long but as I rushed away I definitely fan-girled a bit in my head.
Before Radin graced us with his presence, songstress Anya Marina let her airy vocals be heard throughout the venue. As the audience sipped on samples of the special Joshua Radin Cabernet Sauvignon, Marina let out her emotions on stage. She talked about just ending her relationship with her previous six year long one night stand and sang songs about how she was trying to resurrect herself. Her banter between songs was probably the funniest I’ve ever heard and her eerily beautiful version of “Whatever You Like” by T.I. was incredible. Marina’s album Paper Plane, comes out in January and I know I’m going to be running out to get it.
This was the first show of Radin’s solo acoustic tour and also the first of two shows at in NYC – the city where he got his start 11 years ago and played his first show at The Bitter End. He reminisced about his days living in his tiny East Village apartment and writing his songs sitting on his couch. He sat for most of his set, which he said made him feel more comfortable because it was like he was back in his beginning stages of writing again. Radin kept claiming to be nervous to be on stage without his band but that didn’t show throughout his performance.
He opened with one of my personal favorites, “Brand New Day,” which brought back so many tear-filled memories for me. Radin played a good amount of his older stuff that I loved, but told stories about the songs that I didn’t know. “Everything’ll Be Alright” was written during the time that Hurricane Katrina hit the states. He had been taking care of his friend’s son one night and turned the song into a lullaby for him. Radin has played his song “I’d Rather Be With You” every show since he wrote it because it was the only one that was ever played on the radio – not in the states though, he emphasizes. He also played “No Envy, No Fear,” which he gets excited about because it’s the song that people get tattooed on them the most.
He also played a good amount of songs off his most recent album, Onward and Sideways including “Belong” – a song he wrote around the time Nelson Mandela died and used some of what he knew about Mandela’s life in the last few lyrics of that song – and “We’ll Keep Running Forever.”
Since the concert was so intimate and Radin was performing by himself, we also got the chance to hear three new songs that Radin had written this past July during a rocky period in his current relationship. He doesn’t have any set titles for these songs yet but the one that he is calling “Waiting” really got to me. He had written it when he was going on tour in Australia and he was afraid that his lady wouldn’t be waiting for him when he got back singing, “If you forget about me now, I’ll be here waiting.”
Radin ended his set with a heartfelt version of his song “Winter” and came back out for an encore where he covered Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” singing out to the crowd without a microphone and making us feel all the feels.
Radin’s music always comes from the heart and I think that’s why so many people connect with him and appreciate his music. This was a concert I’m glad I didn’t miss.
Article: Merissa Blitz