BRETT SCALLIONS UNPLUGGED @ THE KESWICK THEATER 2/26/15
Right now, Brett Scallions has embarked on a very intimate type of tour bringing the songs of Fuel as well as other of his musical influences to the unplugged realm. However; this tour is very different in that it not only includes his music catalog, but also encompasses his life as a musician and his maturity and growth both musically and as a human being. Believe it or not, yes this was the first time that Jason Voorhees set foot in the Keswick Theater. The Keswick Theater is an iconic venue of many sorts and I have read and heard many great things about the great architectural building. I arrived at the venue shortly before eight and actually saw Brett outside preparing to walk in to the building. He did not see me, but I surely recognized him.
After taking my seat in the tenth row, I could quickly see that something magical was going to occur on this evening. Then it happened...Brett came out and addressed the crowd. He had his acoustic guitar over his shoulder and he introduced his friend Kemble, who was also on the acoustic guitar. He started off talking about how he loves this city and playing here and that he has had many great memories here. Then Brett put a picture of himself as a young child in front of a Christmas Tree on a stanchion. He would then go on to explain his affinity for music at a young age and stated that Elvis Presley made a huge impact on his early career. In fact, he stated that he was in rare company in the theater to have been able to actually see Elvis play live.
Then the show started...the song was Burning Love (Elvis Presley Cover.) Right away, the crowd was treated to one of the most talented lyricists of the metal/grunge transition of the nineties. As mentioned, Fuel was one of the best bands during the nineties and Brett was a huge reason why as his vocals transcended many other lead singers of his day. The chemistry between Brett and Kemble was amazing as they were both on point with every note. Meanwhile, Brett treated the crowd to an awesome rendition of Elvis that sent chills down my spine.
After Burning Love, it was another cover of a Hall of Fame Band, The Rolling Stones, as he played Mother's Little Helper." As Brett would later explain, this tour does not have a set playlist and he has been playing each show on a whim at the drop of a dime. Surprisingly, I had researched his previous set lists and did not expect to hear the song I heard next. WoW! I was blown away as he played Sunburn, which for all of those not familiar with Fuel is the title track to their debut album. As Brett and Kemble dueled on acoustic guitar, his vocals rang out and I could have sworn that I was back in the nineties at a FUEL show. Brett killed it on this number and it was a huge hit with the fans.
After performing Sunburn effortlessly, he put up another picture of himself, and Kid Rock and Hank Williams Junior. After explaining his introduction to country music, he played his best rendition of All My Rowdy Friends by Hank Williams. At this point,. Brett went on to a playlist of a few of Fuel's best songs ever, beginning with Shimmer, Bittersweet, and Falls on Me. Brett would then delve into his time playing with Robby Krieger and the Doors and how he really saw another side of music. He explained that although he never met Jimmy Morrison, that he quickly gained a newfound respect for the star lead singer. At this point, he covered Love Her Madly by the Doors and he sounded eerily similar to the one and only Jim. It was pretty funny at this point, you could see how well the show was progressing as the Crowd continued to cheer louder and louder. One woman even shouted..."YOU ARE SO HOT BRETT," and this got the crowd stirring.
Then, another surprise...Innocent. This was not on any of the other previous playlists that I had reviewed. Then it was a Johnny Cash song...yes Johnny Cash. Brett and Kemble sounded just like Cash on the acoustic as they killed it on Man In Black. This was kind of a turning point in the show as the crowd did not know what to expect next. Brett began talking about his time before FUEL as the Seattle Grunge Era began. He mentioned such bands as Nirvana, SoundGarden and Alice In Chains. Brett explained that this was a huge milestone that would change the music world forever. He voiced his affinity for bands like Poison and Motley Crue and gave a huge shout out to Cinderella, which brought a huge ovation from the crowd. As most of you know, Cinderella is a local hair metal band that came from Philly and Brett stated he is a huge fan, and that he still loves them.
Then, it came out of nowhere. Scallions said I have a surprise for the crowd...and then the song began to play. It was Polly from Nirvana. Now, any metal fan has to be a fan of Nirvana and the history behind the band. However; to actually hear a Nirvana song live was epic. Of course, I was never lucky enough to see Nirvana live. But, once again, Scallions killed it on this song as he did his best impersonation of Kurt Cobain. Then, it was time to cover a band out of San Diego California...Stone Temple Pilots. Brett and Kemble played this song with no issues. BIG EMPTY...wow I was enamored too say the least! Stone Temple Pilots is such an underrated band and Brett and Kemble made it sound like it was STP live and unplugged. The cover was fascinating. Then it was a brand new song...well not brand new to FUEL fans...What We Can Never Have. Brett alluded to the fact that all of his songs were always tough to write...but that this was the easiest song he ever wrote! Great Song!
Brett then went on to give a detailed explanation of his time with Fuel. He explained that the band released Sunburn. After the album, the band toured for two straight years with no breaks. Then he said that they held up in the Pocono Mountains and that they were writing the tracks for the next album. Then they released the next album and were on to the next tour. They then toured another two years straight. Brett gave props out to the entire Delaware Valley. After this, he put up a picture of a skinny Brett Scallions with a boat in the background.
Then, it was the best ovation of the evening by the crowd. He said, "This is How We Do It!!!! He said we just need some time to decompress and not think about anything...for that matter. So I got off the road and did not own anything. So I got off the road and said... I own this bank account now!!!! What am I gonna do...I always lived on a tour bus! So being from Tennessee, I went to Tennessee and bought a brand new Ford Expedition SUV, and I bought a 22 1/2' Ski Boat, and I bought a big bag of pot, and went to the Tennessee River, and I sat on my boat and smoked pot and drank beer...it was the best feeling ever! Then it was time for Hemorrhage!! This was my all-time favorite FUEL song so I was in Heaven!!!! I was in a point of Infatuation!!!!! I love this song...even the whole entire crowd knew the lyrics which Brett ok'd! Lol! And then Kemble left the stage, Brett talked about his love for his wife and children, and then it was the finale..."Danny's Song" by Kenny Loggins!!!!! Just for the record...this was the absolute best acoustical unplugged show I was ever at and I saw Metallica, Alice In Chains, Hoobastank, etc. This was the BEST!!! You rock #BRETT SCALLIONS!!!!