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Live reviews

While some might consider The Call's best days behind them, the compelling, urgent set delivered by Michael Been and company at the Subterranean Cafe and Cabaret Thursday night decisively proved otherwise. Playing without a bassist (but with original members Scott Musick on drums and Tom Ferrier on guitar). All Been did was wow the standing-room-only crowd with a balanced mix of old standbys and thoughtful, new originals- including the hypnotic, steam rolling, "All You Hold On To," a bonus track on the just released "The Best Of The Call." In strong voice through 17 songs and a generous encore, Been held nothing back, bringing a biting rock brilliance to the group's semi-acoustic lineup. He's also a spiritual, antheroic songwriter who flows easily between the searing and the soaring, and the night's set offered strong evidence that The Call, unsung or not, may well be the closest thing America has ever had to its own U2. No wonder Bono, Peter Gabriel and Bruce Cockburn are Call fans.

If pressed to pick a highlight- the entire night played like the crest of a wave- this reviewer gives a nod to "Everywhere I Go" from 1986's "Reconciled." Ferrier and Been stretched the songs middle with atmospheric solos long on emotion and absent of cliché before hammering home the song's thunderous tag. Likewise; it was impossible to resist "The Walls Came Down" - especially when Been, clearly taken by the crowds enthusiasm, let fly a mighty, celebratory. whoop at the end of the song. Rock shows may come bigger, flashier and costlier, but they don't get much more immediate and passionate than this.

Lou Carloza Chicago Tribune November 1, 1997
Call in Iowa City 3/29/98
Thanks to Eric Coleman for the review
Here are some notes before and then my comments from after the show ...
So from all appearances it looks like we are in for an acoustic show. They are setting up stools and the drum set seems pretty minimal. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I was hoping for an electric show. But we'll see. It looks like no keyboards, which also does not bode for good things. That means that there are several things that we probably won't hear tonight. The idea of The Call as a power trio is kind of amusing. Especially seeing as how Michael Been tends to get carried away and frequently forgets to play the bass.
So enough speculation. The Actual Show
It was three members. Tom, Michael, and Scott. Electric guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Drums. I was very worried about there being no keyboards but I shouldn't have been. The sound was as lush as one expects from a Call show. Michael amazes me. He was playing acoustic guitar yet he managed to fill in the sound with both the middle and the bass as well as tossing of some really fine solos. The rest of the band watches him and takes all of their cues off him. He goes off on a tangent (rarely on this show, really only on the first song) and they follow. When I saw them some years ago I accused him of musical Tourette's Syndrome and I was very worried when he went off on a very long tangent during Everywhere I Go. But the rest of the set was rock solid and rocked like a demon (an odd phrase for a band as concerned with faith as this bunch).
Judging from the lyrics on the new album (haven't heard it yet but I took a look at the lyric sheet) Michael's songs are going further and further inward. And the live show was very introverted. Tom was the only one who really spoke to the audience. Michael said a couple of words here and there. But mostly just played and sang in that glorious voice. And what a voice. They did my favorite Call song Into The Woods. And when he hit the high notes ... WOW!
Here is the set list: Everywhere I Go, You Run, What Happened to You, Tell Me What You've Seen?, All You Hold On To, Into The Woods, Heartbroken, In The River, I Still Believe, Let The Day Begin, Walls Came Down
A good set of classic material and three new songs that (with one exception) were as good as the old stuff. It is great to have these guys back. Met them all afterwards and got all my stuff signed. I walked up to Tom and handed him all the CD sleeves and he held them up to Scott and said "We've got one of these!" I told him that I had all the vinyl too. I have met a lot of bands (It's hell being shy) and I think that I have never met anyone more gracious than Tom Ferrier.
Columbus, OH 4/30/98 Thanks Dave R. for this!

In case you're interested, here is the set list from the show in Columbus, OH on April 30th.
Into The Woods, You Run, Memory, Oklahoma, What's Happened To You, All You Hold On To, Everywhere I Go, Become America, In The River, Heartbroken, I Still Believe, ***ENCORE*** Love Is Everywhere, Let The Day Begin, As Tears Go By (Rolling Stones cover), The Walls Came Down