The weather in California’s Napa Valley has been spectacular during the first two days of Live In The Vineyard, but the terrifying conditions that Hurricane Sandy ravaged upon New York City have been at the forefront of every performer’s mind, perhaps none more so than Gavin DeGraw‘s. “Don’t know if you’ve heard, but this bitch Sandy came through and f***ed up my city,” the New York City native announced to the lively crowd in attendance at the Uptown Theater last night, where he was headlining the evening’s stellar lineup that also included Martin Harley, Casey Abrams, A Rocket To The Moon, and Hedley. NYC was never far from DeGraw’s mind during his eight-song, 50 minute performance, during which he also dropped General George Patton’s famous quote “If you’re going through hell, keep going” before performing his new single “Soldier,” in an attempt to deliver some psychic inspiration to the city’s incredibly determined and resilient populus.
DeGraw is one of the more affable and charming performers on the circuit these days, so despite the heavy thoughts on his mind, his concert was far from a funereal affair. Leading the set off with “Sweeter,” his ditty about a Lothario who can’t help but cave-in to his darkest romantic desires, the crowd —all of whom were a few glasses deep in vino— immediately rose to their feet. Staying consistent with all of the performances at Live In The Vineyard, DeGraw stayed perched behind his piano for the entire set, accompanied only by a gentleman wielding an acoustic guitar. This arrangement meant we didn’t get to see any of the fancy footwork he perfected during his “fake dance career” on Dancing With The Stars earlier this year, but this stripped down set gave DeGraw an opportunity to flex his considerable storytelling muscle. He delighted the audience by giving some clues as to the origins of songs like “Chariot” and “I Don’t Wanna Be” (the song that “payed [his] college debts”), before closing his outstanding set with his smash hit, “Not Over You.”