Last Friday night I went to go see my friends Great Good Fine OK play at Irving Plaza for the final stop on their Spring Is Sprung co-headlining tour with Smallpools. Both amazing bands that I was excited to be able to see play to their hometowns.
I’ve been seeing GGFO live since early 2015, so it’s no news to me that they’re a fantastic live act. But this show took things to a whole new level.
All of the elements that make up a great live show, GGFO put into play at Irving Plaza. The band went above and beyond to make the set an incredible experience for the audience.
Firstly, there were the glow sticks and light-up balls tossed into the crowd before the set, ensuring that fans had souvenirs of the performance, and that they were made to feel like part of the show.
Then there was lead singer Jon Sandler’s charming interaction with the crowd, from remarking on his parents in attendance celebrating their 48th wedding anniversary (!!) to joking on the single-ness of their drummer Danny. Often stage banter can feel rote (though that’s not always a bad thing!) but Jon was so utterly personable that it felt like he was having an individual conversation with every member of the audience.
I’ve heard the phrase “surprise and delight” used in regards to how an artist should create content for social media, but I think it should apply to live shows too. In the middle of GGFO’s set when keyboard player Luke took a surprise trip to Smallpools’ drum kit to have a drum-off with Danny, I was utterly delighted by the unexpectedness and sheer fun of the moment. Same goes for whenever Luke would walk out from behind his station to rip on the keytar, having solo-offs with guitarist Carey.
The personalities of each member of the band were spotlighted so authentically and organically throughout the show. Despite having seen them play so many times before, I found myself as excited as if I was seeing them for the first time.
All of the effort they put into their set combined with the energetic setlist, high-quality sound mix, and enthusiastic audience, made for a tremendous experience. All bands could stand to take the same kind of care with their sets, creating a new, different, and more special experience than just streaming the albums— especially pop bands where it’s always possible to lie back and rely on tracks.
Good job GGFO, and congrats on finishing your tour!