–Guest post by Kim Prior
Shakespeare wrote, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Little did he know that would apply to me, as I write yet another recap of Louden Swain’s Saturday Night Special. It is a struggle sometimes, to find new words and new sentences and new ways of telling you just how much I love Louden Swain and their incredible concerts. The band and the music may be familiar, but each concert is special and new and unique, and I am completely overwhelmed with excitement as I walk into the theater each time. I can’t wait to catch the little smiles from Borja as he plays bass. I can’t wait to watch Stephen behind the drums, even if I repeatedly fail to get any photos of his performance. I can’t wait to swoon as Billy plays that guitar, making me feel all kinds of emotions. (hashtag allthegasms) I can’t wait to see Rob, to watch Rob, to be in this moment with Rob… this two-hour-long moment of excitement and heartbreak and love and pain, all told through lyrics and music.
I simply cannot count the ways, Sir Shakespeare. I am filled, completely and immeasurably, with love for Louden Swain.
Louden Swain began the show with two high energy songs, “Present Time” and “Taxi Driver.”
Matt Cohen joined the band to sing “Joker and The Thief.” I love that he gets so hyped for the concert!
“Silver Spoon” was the next song, with Master Photographer Chris Schmelke playing bass guitar. Listen, Mr. Schmelke, do you have to be so multi-talented?
Before any chords were played, Rob took a moment to explain the next song, “Angela.” He said, “it’s a song about the guardian angel who saved my life,” referring to the stroke he had five years ago. And my heart exploded. “Angela” is my absolute, number one, all-time favorite song. The music is haunting. Hauntingly real. The words are gut-wrenching. For me, the song is very grounding. We all have bad days, hard times, that’s just reality. And for me, I can listen to this song and it reminds me of my husband, my kids, my best friends – they set me right. I might dream of being a hero, dream that all my parts are sound, but so many times I wake up from that dream to find that I’m no hero. But ya know, my family is still here. My best friend is still here. They are right here, right by my side, reminding me that I don’t have to be a hero. They set me right. Like the guardian angel that saved Rob, these people are my guardian angels, my Angelas.
The band played the song a little slower. Rob sang the words with a very breathy tone. This only heightened the emotion as the words and the music just echoed in the theater. My heart exploded, over and over and over again. And yes, I cried. Thank you for this incredible moment.
Ruth Connell was next on stage with the band, singing a song that I think is called “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” with Richard Speight Jr. joining on bass guitar. Ruth said she felt nervous, and the crowd responded with applause and encouragement! No worries, Ruth, we got you.
Then we were treated to a new song from the band called “Too Far Away.” This acoustic song is featured on their new album that will be released in October! Listen, y’all, my heart cannot take the emotion! Once again, their lyrics are just heartbreakingly real.
Kim Rhodes brought us back from the edge of heartbreak with a high-energy performance of “Raise Hell.” I love the way she approaches the mic with such confidence and fierceness! She owns it!
Richard Speight Jr. was back on stage to play bass. Creation Entertainment’s Adam Malin also joined the stage to play keyboards. Rob dedicated the next song, “Leg Up,” “to anyone who’s not having their best day,” and reminding all of us the “best source of encouragement comes from inside your own heart.” The song is both a ballad and a rock song, and I’m never really sure if I should wallow in the words or dance, so I just did both.
Briana Buckmaster, ladies and gentlemen. “A Million Reasons.” What a powerful, emotional performance. And that note, holy wow, that note! And then the tears at the end and the cracking of her voice as she fights those tears back. Someone give that woman an album… oh wait… ok, someone sign this woman to a world tour already!
The band knows how to keep the rollercoaster ride of emotions going because they next performed “Hallelujah” with Jason Manns. Siiiiiigh. Jason’s silky smooth voice and Rob’s passionate tones combined together as they sang the words of pain and heartbreak. The melody and the harmony meshed together with utter perfection. The deliberate echo of Billy’s quiet guitar amplified the ache that swelled within us. The audience, quiet and silent, allowed every piece of this performance to fill up their souls. Hallelujah, hal-le-lu-jaaaaaahh indeed.
Jason stayed on stage to sing “Slightest Thing” from The Station Breaks album. Richard Speight Jr. joined the stage to play bass and Borja accompanied on keyboards. For those of you who do not know this song, it ends with the phrase “here we go.” And that word ‘go’ is a note that Jason hits, and hits perfectly, and then he holds that note, like forever. Okay, it’s 20 seconds, but seriously, it is like forever. Oh my heart, that boy can sing!
Richard Speight Jr.
It is just so clear they were all having fun… no, no, that’s not good enough. I think they were having the time of their lives.
Hayden Lee joined the band to sing “Crooked Wheel.” Hayden is a friend of Jason’s, and he has performed at concerts with The Station Breaks.
Rob dedicated the next song, “Amazing,” to the fans. He explained, “we help each other, you have helped me through a lot, and thank you!” I love this song, it is one of my favorites. Those opening notes from Billy just fill me with hope, and I am once again reminded that I am the captain of my story. Hayden’s voice added a new twist to the song, blending so perfectly with Rob’s! (insert heart eyes) And then Billy’s guitar solo, really, my heart was pounding with hope and joy and pure love. I have said this before, and I will say it again: Pull yourself up, look into that mirror, and scream it out loud – I. Am. The Captain. Of. My. Story.
Next, Rob shouted, “Love me or hate me!” and then they played “This Is How.” Holding the guitar over his head, Rob sang “I find my voice and sing it from the rooftops, stand up tall and slowly take a bow – this is how!” Oh band, thank you for reminding me that what I do, living my life behind my lens, is OKAY. Yeah, yeah, yeah – This. Is. How.
For the encore, the band played “She Waits.” The soft, heartbreaking guitar began. A hush fell over the theater. Rob began to pour his heart into ours as he sang the words of devastating pain and loss. And we responded to him with a sea of lights, our way of hugging him tight. Heart-hands, Rob, heart-hands right back at you.
The night ended with “Momma’s Jam” with all the guests returning to the stage. Briana and Borja and his hat! Rob and Ruth dancing together! Matt and Kim running around the audience! The show was ending on a high-energy, rock-n-roll, get-outta-your-seat-and-dance moment! Wait, no, it can’t be ending, I’m not ready for it to end!
Until next time,
just a mom with a camera.