March 10, 2020
Review Dave Gray
Photos by Rene Rivera
Devin Townsend Brings His Musical Circus To Granada Theater!
For over a year now, Devin Townsend has taken his “Empath” tour around the world, but Tuesday night before a packed house at Dallas’ Granada Theater, he showed no sign of letting up. Performing among the faithful people from the metro, he delighted onstage with a staggering amount of musicality, showmanship and comedy that had ‘em all participating in a Zappa-esque night of fun that will not be forgotten quickly.
Opening the set with “Evermore”, a cut from the latest release “Empath”, the almighty power and supreme harmony of the six members began to unfold. The CD itself is an incredible production and I was wondering how the band would pull this show off without backing tracks, but the six members onstage were a talented bunch and as the night progressed, I witnessed a great set and a cornucopia of music styles and musical aptitude.
Devin Townsend is a complete showman. He’s the master of ceremonies, the musician, the vocalist, the comedian. With guitarists Mike Keneally (of Steve Vai fame) and the talented Che’ Aimee Dorval (Casualties of Cool) at his side, he could hardly go wrong. He warned the audience at the start that the setlist was going to be a bit different tonight because he was fighting the weather, but it wasn’t noticeable, that I could tell. The stage itself was a silly thing, with 100+ stuffed animals abound, as people throughout the world tour would bring plush to the show and add it nightly to the colorful, unique collection onstage.
The set consisted of tracks from various projects that he’s done over the years from his solo act, The Devin Townsend Project, Casualties of Cool and Strapping Young Lad. From the melodic acoustic “In-Ah!” to the electric heavy chords of “Deadhead”, the audience responded appropriately; waving hands, raising fists and bobbing heads. (oh, and laughing). It’s a big catalog to know all the music he’s done over the years, but the set seemed to keep all entertained, and no one left early. A few favorites for me were the dark country “Forgive Me” featuring the vocals of Che’, and the heavy “March of the Poozers” (check out the video on YT).
He asked forgiveness for not playing “Why?”, a fan favorite, but played “Borderlands” instead, an incredibly moving musical production from “Empath” that combines a reggae beat with a Pink Floydian middle section and manages to also send a good message. A ridiculous encore (if you like humor, The Trammps and Frank Zappa) was also “hevy” as they ended the two-hour set with “Kingdom”.
The night featured lots of silly moments onstage with great musical wizardry to boot. This was great entertainment, quite possibly for even those who may even stumble in and have never heard of him. But I’m guessing from the full house that tonight that wasn’t the case. Two Thumbs and Four Horns Up!