Monte Montgomery, StageOne Fairfield, CT – 7/24
Photo by Michael Clay Smith
For those of you who have never heard of Monte Montgomery, he is an insane guitar player from Texas who can play acoustic guitar like nobody’s business. He has a huge vocal range and his voice has a little bit of a grunge sound to it. For the most part he has seemed to have slipped under the jamband radar and people consider his style more rock. Yet, I don’t see how he is not considered a jam guitarist, because most of his songs are at least seven minutes long, and even without a backup band his solos can still blow you away.
Fairfield’s StageOne is an intimate little venue that only holds 150-200 people at my estimation. You drive into the parking lot of a metro station to park and it is in a brick building with a large FTC (Fairfield Theatre Company) painted across it. You walk into the concert area and there is a black wooden stage in the middle surrounded on three sides by seats. There is a great sound quality at the venue and they have nice lighting. It is a nice intimate venue and is one of my favorite places to see a concert.
To begin the show, Montgomery walked onstage, picked up his acoustic, said, “Thank you,” put his slide on, and then burst into his song “River.” He really showcased his slide work in this song for what was to be an amazing night of music. He then put the slide down, made some joke about how it was awkward that everyone was looking at him, and then played his song “Wishing Well.” From here after a five minute conversation with an Italian lady in the front row, he went into a hopeful song of his called “Rescue Me.” While he was still in “capo position fret 2,” he moved into his gentle “Sunday Song,” which he wrote when he was 15. Then he took the capo off and burst into his song “Moonlight Tango” which has a driving beat. Following his gentle and reflective “When the Punch Line Hits,” which is basically about taking his daughter to lunch, he ended the set with one of the crowd’s favorite songs of the night, “When Will I,” where he showed off “everything he knew in the key of A.”
Montgomery returned after a 10 minute break and opened his second set with a new version of his popular song “Mirror.” Then he went into an amazing cover of the Daryl Hall song “Sara Smile,” which he recently performed with Hall on Live from Daryl’s House. The “groovy” “Could Have Loved You Forever” was followed by an old favorite called “1st and Repair.” Then, at the request of a fan, he played his song “Romeo and Juliet,” with a six minute long solo weaved in. Responding to joking cries from the crowd for “FREE BIRD” he combined “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin and “Free Bird” in order “To get them both out of the way.” When he finished “Stairway to Free Bird,” he played a ten minute long solo on his guitar before charging into his rock song “Let’s Go.”
He then left the stage to raucous applause and returned for an encore playing his song “Six String Wooden Friend,” which is basically an apology to his guitar and is appropriate given the fact that he has snapped the neck of his guitar on four separate occasions when soloing. It was an impressive, inspiring end to an impressive, inspiring night.