Ray LaMontagne at the Santa Barbara Bowl

Brandi Carlile Opened a Sold-Out Show on Sunday, September 11

Ray LaMontagne at the Santa Barbara Bowl
Paul Wellman

On the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, thousands of Santa Barbarans gathered at the Bowl to hear Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs perform their unique brand of folk rock. As a chill took hold of the night, LaMontagne walked onto the darkened stage with only his bass player and summarily started his set with the haunting “Burn,” from his 2004 debut record Trouble. Without a word, the rest of the Pariah Dogs joined the duo onstage for their second number, “For the Summer,” followed by “Beg Steal or Borrow,”both off his Grammy Award-winning album God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise.

Ray LaMontagne at the Santa Barbara Bowl
Paul Wellman

After another two songs (“Sarah” and “Repo Man”), LaMontagne finally addressed the crowd. When he did speak throughout the evening, it was mostly to thank the audience. At one point, however, the typically soft-spoken LaMontagne had some choice words for a chatty concertgoer. “There’s some gal down here who will not shut the fuck up,” LaMontagne said, pointing to the first few rows. “We all have things to talk about, but generally when I go to a show, I go to listen … I’m not saying I’m God’s gift to the world. I’m just saying if you come to a show, shut the fuck up and listen.” The sentiment was greeted with roars of approval from the audience.

LaMontagne was able to silence the at-capacity venue during songs “Jolene” and the spellbinding “Like Rock & Roll and Radio,” with which he closed the show. When LaMontagne played the Bowl in September of last year, he co-headlined with British folk-pop singer David Gray. A year later, he and his band took their well-deserved (solo) headlining rights.

The evening’s opening act, Brandi Carlile, was well paired with LaMontange’s musical sensibilities. Carlile became a recognizable name on the folk-rock scene with the release of her eponymous debut album in 2005, and claimed broader fame two years later with The Story. The petite singer’s powerful voice was on full display during her cover of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and a lovely spare rendition of Alphaville’s “Forever Young.” But the highlight of her set was when she sang the stunning “The Story,” off her album of the same name.

Ray LaMontagne’s Set List

1. “Burn”
2. “For the Summer”
3. “Beg Steal or Borrow”
4. “Sarah”
5. “Repo Man”
6. “Achin’ All the Time”
7. “Blue Canadian Rockies” (The Byrds cover)

8. “Devil’s in the Jukebox”
9. “New York City’s Killing Me”
10. “God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise”
11. “Empty”
12. “Trouble”
13. “Jolene”
14. “Henry Nearly Killed Me (It’s a Shame)”


15. “Let It Be Me”
16. “Long Distance Operator” (Bob Dylan cover)
17. “Like Rock & Roll and Radio”

Brandi Carlile’s Set List

1. “What Can I Say”
2. “Dreams”
3. “Closer to You”
4. “Keep Your Heart Young” (Unreleased)
5. “The Story”
6. “Jackson” (June Carter and Johnny Cash cover)

7. “Folsom Prison Blues” (Johnny Cash cover)
8. “Forever Young” (Alphaville cover)


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