Review: Devin Townsend [CAN] – An Evening With – Solo Tour
The Gov, Tuesday 10thSeptember 2019
(Review by John Glennie)
Progressive rock and metal genius Devin Townsend brought his all-acoustic ‘An Evening With’ tour to The Gov! The show featured songs across his entire discography in an intimate and ambient setting, along with Q&A sessions where fans had sent in questions to ask the globally acclaimed multi-instrumentalist about his career and new album Empath.
The entire dance floor of The Gov was filled with seating which created the appropriate atmosphere for an acoustic set. Devin showed his awesome sense of humour from the moment he stepped on stage until he left at the end of the show. While tuning his guitar (which had an amazing rich, deep sound by the way!) he commented that when planning a solo acoustic tour he wondered if anyone would come then added “I wonder why the f#@% would anyone would want to come to one anyway!”.
He started playing the first few bars of a ballad then suddenly stopped and said “nope, not ready to play that one yet!”. Audience members called out a few suggestions and he said “hey, that’s a good one – can do that” as he launched into Genesisfrom his new Empath album.
I was not very familiar with Devin’s music, but after the concert I will definitely look into his music a lot more closely. There was no set list and Devin pretty well winged it throughout the evening. Towards the end of the first set he did part of his Q&A session until the sound guy hinted it was time for his interval.
The thing which really struck me, apart from his guitar skills, was his incredibly versatile voice. One second he would be almost whispering a beautiful falsetto harmony then revert to an immensely powerful “controlled death-metal-like scream” (only way I can think of describing it!) then immediately back into a soulful ballad. When he hit those powerful notes he reminded me a lot of David Draiman in Disturbed’s version of Sounds of Silence– yes, that powerful.
As mentioned, not familiar with a lot of his music, but did pick up on some of his new work from Empath includingSpirits Will Collide(great track!), a beaut version of Evermoreand Why?. Having seen most of these on YouTube in full-metal mode I was sceptical about how they would fare as solo acoustic tracks. I needn’t have worried – this is perhaps why he is touted as a “multi-everythingist”!
About half way through his second set he decided to continue with the Q&A session which, after a short while, completely lost me. Had no idea how long it was going to last and it looked like he had a long list of questions, so I left early. There was no telling how long it would be before he returned to playing his magnificent music. He could totally have done without that aspect of the show.
I overheard some young guy say “how boring is Dev?” – though he looked like all he wanted was the full metal experience complete with band. Must admit I would be keen on coming back to see him performing with his band – fingers crossed! I was going to score him 8.5 for his music talent, excellent humour and audience interaction but had to take the Q&A into consideration too (sorry Dev!).