Review – Thomas S. Orwat, Jr.
Buffalo, NY – Nate Ruess, vocalist/songwriter of the successful pop/alt band, Fun., played his last show of the “Grand Romantic” tour, in front of a sold out crowd in Buffalo, NY. Ruess, was abruptly forced into a solo career when Fun. co-founding member and guitarist, Jack Antonoff, launched a new band, Bleachers. Many feel that Antonoff timing for forming another band was “interesting” to say the least, in that it came right as Fun. was ascending into arena rock status. Ruess waited patiently for Antoff to return to the band, but as time went on, he grew impatient and subsequently recorded a fantastic solo record. and put together a great new outfit, called The Band Romantic.
The Band Romantic, which consists of Sulene van der Walt (guitar), Aaron Farmer (piano), Ryan Lallier (guitar), Emily Moore (guitar), Nate Harold (bass), Will Noon (drums) , and their front man, Ruess, played a high energy, extended set. This featured not only songs from the ‘Grand Romantic’ album, but also a healthy dose of songs from Fun., the Format (Ruess’ group prior to Fun.), and some classic covers, including Elton John’s, “Rocket Man,” and Prince’s, “Let’s Go Crazy.”
The 33-year-old Grammy winner was in great spirits, mentioning many times throughout the show that Buffalo was his “new favorite city out of anywhere in the world.” Midway through the show, Ruess even paid homage to hometown heroes, the Goo Goo Dolls, with an impromptu and abbreviated version of “Slide,” which was met with a roaring approval from the audience.
Ruess kept the momentum going by performing his Grammy nominated duet, “Just Give Me A Reason,” which he co-wrote with P!nk. He explained that, when asked to do the song, he wasn’t very enthusiastic about it. But, as the song developed, he became more interested. Ruess stated that P!nk explained to him that she would not record the song unless he sang it with her. Ruess is thankful that he did; it has turned out to be a very successful hit, and a highlight of his concert performances.
The highlights of the show were definitely the hits of Fun., such as “Carry On,” “Some Nights,” and “We Are Young.” The band also performed the Format song, “Snails,” live for the first time, ever. These songs were performed with extreme passion, and really showcased Ruess’ amazing vocal abilities. Not only was the crowd in the palm of his hand, but Ruess was obviously also having a blast, boasting about how he was on his seventh drink of the night.
Ruess was reluctant to end the show, even though he had to catch a flight at 4am. He extended his set by playing an extra encore, which surprisingly consisted of a rockin’ fist-pumping version of the Bruce Springsteen classic, “Thunder Road.”
Although the future of Fun. is unclear, whether Ruess is playing clubs or arenas, his path of success remains unwaivered with or without Fun..