Live Review: The Tallest Man On Earth @ The Vogue Theatre, Vancouver – September 10th 2012

For me, one of the best things about going to concerts is the ability to see an artist live and truly in their element. And when you’re as endearing and mesmerizing as the Tallest Man on Earth, I will shout it to the world that every cent of my hard-earned money was well spent on a ticket to your show.

Now I don’t want to exaggerate but the openers, Strand of Oaks, is my new favourite live band. I’m always pleasantly surprised when two people can get up on stage – one guitarist and one drummer – and make sounds that make you feel like there are more players up there with them. Strand of Oaks is actually just one man – Timothy Showalter – but I had never heard of him until last night and I thought Tim and his incredibly-talented-drummer-friend Chris were amazing. They played songs from Strand of Oaks’ most recent album Dark Shores and the crowd seemed to love them too.

Before the Tallest Man on Earth, Kristian Matsson, hit the stage everyone was a-buzz with excitement. Even upon arrival, the Vogue theatre was packed with people and if you could find a seat, you were a lucky one. For the rest of us, standing was our only option, and at a mere 5’5” tall, being at the front with some of the tallest people on earth was not exactly an option for me. Why do the tallest people always stand at the front? COM’ON!

But I digress.

In any case, once the Tallest Man of the Night sauntered adorably onto the stage, the whole place exploded with cheers. I won’t go on about how little the Tall Man is as I’m sure everyone usually does when writing about him, but dressed in a black tank top and matching tight jeans, “adorable” is truly the only way to describe him at first look. And what a stage presence! Armed with only an instrument and a mic, Matsson serenaded the crowd for just under 2 hours and the completely mesmerized concert-goers were hypnotized by every melodic note that filled the vast venue.

How can one small man command such a presence? Sure, his vocal style and songwriting have been compared to Bob Dylan, but it’s not just that, it’s the way that he plays: masterfully plucking and strumming each string on his guitar at a speed that belies the soothing nature of songs like “1904”, and getting up close to those in the front row and pausing mid-song to take a silent moment to look around at us and make us all laugh before continuing on. It’s also the way he dances around the stage and makes eye contact with the iPhones and DSLRs that are quickly snapping away in an effort to capture just a glimmer of his character. And while he’s up there wooing us, I’m sure he’s having more fun than everyone in attendance. At one point, he even finished playing a song by slamming his guitar pick to the ground and when some lucky fan caught it on the bounce, he apologized for almost injuring her. See? Adorable and funny!

In the end, the Tallest Man on Earth put on an amazing show and if you’re not already a fan of him, go and see him perform songs like “Graceland” live (which was the encore song) and see this man light up a room with only a guitar, great vocals, and a stage presence that every performer could only wish to have. Then, and only then, will you understand why so many of his shows are often SOLD OUT.

Photos © Selena McLeod

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