by Mike Carroll
Our day started with a 2 hour trek deep into the Everglades from Palm Beach County. We took a detour on our way to the Everglades Seafood Festival to make the 22-mile round-trip drive up and down Janes Scenic Drive through the heart of the Fakahatchee Strand State Park in the Everglades.
If you’re ever in the area, it’s well worth taking a few hours to explore this sliver of nature. We saw several gators, turtles, birds, a snake, and even a deer. You can also see black bear, bobcats, minks, and even occasionally a Florida Panther. Below are just a few of the wildlife pictures we got driving through the swamp.
We arrived at the Everglades Seafood Festival in Everglades City in time to eat some food, grab our chairs, and find a spot close to the stage. After a 45 minute delay due to technical difficulties (Mojoe Productions – get your act together next time!!), Josh Gracin’s intro kicked in.
If there’s anything bad to say about his show, it would be that I don’t like that he comes out after a montage of sound clips from his American Idol days. I realize I am biased because I personally despise reality TV and have never watched more than a couple of minutes of Idol, but it gives off the impression that he’s best known for his Idol days. I say let it go and embrace the fact that he’s become a star on his own, not a 4th place finisher on Idol. His live show proves that he doesn’t need to prop himself up with Ryan Seacrest’s voice introducing him.
Josh’s show is full of high energy and on-stage antics that captivates the crowd’s attention from beginning to end. He set the tone early in his set by diving into Green Day’s “Basket Case.” He explained during one break between songs that he’s taken the time to research what the fans are listening to. He was curious to see what other music people were buying or listening to after buying or listening to his music, and has incorporated some of that into his show with some amazing cover songs.
Speaking of fans, his fan-interaction is unprecedented, as he is grabbing camera after camera from the front rows to take on-stage pictures with his band-mates, creating memories that will never be forgotten for those lucky fans.
Lost in the crazy fun of his show is the fact that this United States Marine can actually sing. He belted out hit after hit, from “I Want to Live” to “We Weren’t Crazy” to “Favorite State of Mind.” He changed the pace w/ “Stay With Me (Brass Bed)” which had the ladies swaying along as if he was singing to them.
Sprinkled in with his hits and covers were a few new songs that will be released on his upcoming album. The crowd reaction was very positive for the new tunes, so lets hope his record label gives him the proper push when it’s released to bring him back into the limelight.
After his set ended, the band came back out for the encore. They started into Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” while Josh discreetly walked around the perimeter of the crowd to find himself behind it. He sat down in an empty chair and just sat there until the gals next to him realized what was going on. He started singing while lounging in the chair, and once a small crowd started to form, he got up to make his way back towards the stage.
He finished the show with his #1 hit, “Nothin’ To Lose” as he tossed several drumsticks out to the crowd. As the band continued to play after he was done singing, he went around with a handful of open water bottles, acting as if he was going to pour them onto one of his guitar players.
They kept dodging him, and he ended his entertaining show by spinning around and throwing the water out onto the ecstatic crowd.
I’ve talked with Josh before on twitter, so it was pretty neat that he knew exactly who I was once I told him what my user name was on there. If you’re on twitter, you can tweet him at @joshgracin. You too just might get a response! He’s also very active on his facebook page, which can be found by clicking here.
Josh gets it. He understands he wouldn’t have a music career without his fans. He treats them well and puts on a great show. It’s refreshing to find an artist so in touch with his fans…others can take some lessons from him.
So have you ever seen Josh Gracin perform live? If so, what did you think?