Monday, October 11, 2010

Lifehouse 101

Kris Allen goes out on tour with Lifehouse starting this weekend, so I thought I would offer up a little introductory post about Lifehouse's music for fans going to the shows who are not familiar with the band. I know I always find it more enjoyable going to concerts when I've at least heard a good chunk of the songs.

If you think you're not familiar with their music, think again. Chances are you're more familiar with them than you thought. Lifehouse, which consists of lead singer and guitarist Jason Wade, drummer Ricky Woolstenhulme Jr., bassist Bryce Soderburg and guitarist Ben Carey, has been around for 10 years and has five albums.

Their first single was "Hanging By A Moment" (Music Video | Live), which topped the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles chart in 2001 and was the most-played song on the radio that year.

Another one of their monster hits is from their self-titled third album, the ballad "You and Me" (music video) | Stripped Sessions). This song was probably played at every other wedding in 2005 and beyond and stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 for 62 weeks, the fifth-longest run in history. It is still being played regularly on AC radio five years later.

Lifehouse had three big hits from their fourth album, Who We Are: "First Time" (Music Video | Live); "Whatever It Takes" (Music Video | Live), which has Jason playing guitar while standing amidst a bunch of lamps while things explode in the music video (Sound familiar?!); and "Broken" (Music Video | Live), which was featured on quite a few TV shows, including Grey's Anatomy. It was also used in a Fox commercial last year that had a clip of Kris winning American Idol on it.

Since this is the Smoke & Mirrors tour, I expect Lifehouse to be playing a good chunk of songs from their Smoke & Mirrors album. The first two singles are "Halfway Gone" (Music Video) and "All In" (Music Video | Live). Those are givens, and I assume "Nerve Damage" (Live) and "Wrecking Ball" (Live), which features bassist Bryce Soderburg on vocals, are givens as well since they sang those at both their opening shows with Daughtry and at their headlining fair shows. They also sang "It Is What It Is" (Live) at both, but it seems to have disappeared from their set fairly recently. "Falling In" (Live) was played at both fair shows I went to, and I believe they kept playing it in Europe as well.

All of these songs, and I haven't even gotten to my favorites. One of the co-favorites is "Everything", which has one of my favorite lyrics of all-time: "How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?" It has been off their setlist for a few years now, but they've promised to bring it back for this tour, and they played it for their encore during their recent European tour.

I see "Everything" as Lifehouse's version of "I Need To Know" - a much revered and rarely played live album track with lyrics that are often interpreted as being about one's faith/spirituality. Both were even played on CW dramas - "Everything" on the pilot of Smallville and "I Need To Know" on The Vampire Diaries last week. I'm also expecting some dancer or choreographer to pick up "I Need To Know" for a routine on So You Think You Can Dance at some point. "Everything" has been used on the show - check out Shauna Noland's ridiculous solo to this (those spins!).

Here's Everything, performed in Cologne, Germany last week:


"Blind" (Music Video) was the follow-up single to "You And Me" but did not have nearly the success as that song did. I actually had never heard it until I saw a YouTube video of them performing it with Chris Daughtry. Now it's my co-favorite, especially live. I like the changes they made to the tempo and the notes. I kind of want to marry the live version of this song.

Here's Blind from San Diego in July:


The fact that they didn't do "Blind" by itself in Europe troubles me. Hopefully that was just a European thing (DO YOU HEAR MY CONCERN, LIFEHOUSE?!).

What they did do in Europe, though, was really cool. The band has five albums out. Obviously they can't sing every song. But Jason did an acoustic medley of songs by request. I hope this is something they continue this fall. "Blind" was included a few times, as was another favorite of mine, "Storm" (Snippet), which is another popular contemporary dance song (One of the few SYTYCD Season 1 episodes I saw was one of the audition rounds, and winner Nick Lazzarini auditioned to this song. I bought it on iTunes on the spot.).

On this video, recorded in London, they sang "Take Me Away", "Breathing", "Blind", "Sick Cycle Carousel", "From Where You Are" and "The End Has Only Begun":



So that should pretty much cover most of the songs they might possibly sing on tour. But I saw them four times this year, and each one has been a little different, so you just never know. What I do know is that they will deliver a good show, so stick around to watch their set. I'm hoping Kris eventually joins them for a song once they have time to rehearse (No really, guys, please rehearse if you do this. Kris has ~history with lyric fails. "And you won American Idol?!"). Lifehouse and Chris Daughtry ended up doing a couple of different songs together on their tour - Blind, Broken, Had Enough, and Home/You And Me.

Lifehouse and Kris hit the road starting this Friday. The tour opens at the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods in Mashantucket, CT. For tour dates, visit Lifehousemusic.com or KrisAllenOfficial.com.

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