It was a beautiful, clear evening on Tuesday in Central Park as the John Butler Trio brought their Flesh & Blood Tour to New York City. The Australian roots rock band performed songs from their recently released Flesh & Blood album as well as many older fan favorites. The group, comprised of John Butler (guitar & vocals), Byron Luiters (bass) and Grant Gerathy (drums & percussion), performed a 2+ hour set, incorporating such styles as rock and roll, gritty blues, acoustic folk rock, rockabilly, and acoustic ballads.
Speaking to a fan at the show that has seen the band numerous times over the years, she felt that lately it's taken them a couple of songs into their set to find their groove and get the crowd amped up. The second song into the night, "Revolution," showed that the trio was wasting no time making sure the thousands in attendance were on their feet and dancing. Throughout the set, John Butler switched his acoustic guitars, going from six string to twelve string, and dazzled the fans with some electric guitar playing as well.
The slow and bluesy "Blame It On Me" demonstrated John Butler's impressive guitar skills as he channeled his inner Jimi Hendrix. "Devil Woman" featured a rockabilly groove that had couples grabbing each other to dance as it were the 1950s.
"Ocean" - John Butler Trio At Rumsey Playfield, Central Park, NYC 6/17/2014
While there were plenty of uptempo songs that the fans rocked to, John Butler proved that he is a well-rounded guitarist of many styles and can blow your mind with his fingerpicking skills. Case in point was the song "Oceans," which he dedicated to a fan who had recently passed away. It's a song that he used to play while busking on the streets and likes to incorporate it into his shows as often as possible.
The impressive element about a John Butler Trio show is that they switch up their styles on nearly every song. John Butler came out for a few songs with a banjo and Byron on upright bass to make the crowd feel like they were at a Texas hoedown. "How You Sleep At Night" was dedicated to our corrupt politicians and "Only One" was for the good friends we have in our lives. Other songs found John alone on stage with his instrument, performing some heartfelt ballads.
For the last song of the set, "Zebra," John asked the crowd, "Do you feel like singing?" The fans unanimously shouted back, "Yes!" and the band performed the song with the crowd as its back up singers. Not wanting to leave the stage, John Butler came back out and we were treated to a three song encore, first a solo acoustic performance, then the rest of the band joining John for the appropriately titled "Livin' In The City" then "Funky Tonight." It was a great ending to a fun night of impressive musicianship and positive vibes from the fans.
The band has three more East Coast show dates before heading overseas for an extensive European run. Check out the band's tour dates page for more information regarding these shows. For more John Butler Trio news and information, check out their official website. Below are additional photos from the evening, including the setlist.