By Mike McKenney, Rock At Night New England
Venue: Foxwoods Grand Theater, Mashantucket, Connecticut-May 31, 2019–Walk Off the Earth with Gabriela Bee “
For the uninitiated, a Walk Off The Earth (WOTE) concert is kind of like watching at a three-ring circus–your eyes don’t know where to look next! Afraid of what you will miss, blinking is no longer an option. From the scenic backdrops, creative lighting, flying instruments, confetti, a tire screeching video of band members racing to get to the correct venue, and musicians appearing all over the stage, it’s a visual smorgasbord. If there is one constant though, it is the high octane fun WOTE generates through their music.
As Walk Off The Earth bombarded the Foxwoods audience on every sensory level, the crowd roared as Gianni “Luminati” Nicassio, Ryan Marshall, Joel Cassady, and Sarah Blackwood, joined by touring musicians, Lee Williamson, James “Ervy” Ervin, and Zach Gerber bounded on to the stage.
Starting the show with the heart pumping “Fire In My Soul”, and “Fifth Avenue”, WOTE engaged the fans with their friendly charm from the beginning, encouraging the crowd to dance, sing and clap. At a point during one of their mashups, band members came out into the audience to dance and sing with everyone.
The party continued and WOTE really hit their stride with covers “Hey Ya” (Outkast), and Girls Like You (Maroon 5), while “Teenage Dirtbag” (Wheatus) showcased the incredible vocals and chemistry of Gianni Nicassio and Sarah Blackwood.
All throughout the show, instruments were being thrown around and played by multiple musicians at the same time. As if the melodica, didgeridoo, and glockenspiel weren’t unusual enough, they were accompanied by some strange looking, one of a kind instruments, reminiscent of a Dr Suess musical!
Of course , it was their brilliant 5-people-playing-one-guitar interpretation of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” that exploded on YouTube with over 180 million views and skyrocketed the Canadian based groups popularity. The Juno Award winning, multi-platinum musical phenomenon have become an international success, collaborating with some of the biggest artists in the world such as Keith Urban, Snoop Dogg & Steve Aoki.
However great tragedy struck WOTE late last year with the sudden death of popular band member Mike “Beard Guy” Taylor.
Like all of the members of WOTE, Mike Taylor was a multi-instrumentalist, however it was his great keyboard ability that gave the band a sturdy foundation to soar and create. So profound was his loss that Friday night there were three very emotional tributes to him. WOTE played the recently released “Mike’s Song”, an uplifting rejoinder. They also showcased Beard Guy’s favorite song to play, Queens “Bohemian Rhapsody” during which everyone sang (loudly) as a video of Mike played on a large screen. The audience then held blue paper hearts (passed out before the show) in front of their cellphone flashlights and swayed to “Hold On (The Break)”.
It was all a fitting celebration of the Beard Guy and his contributions to the band as an accomplished musician and beloved friend. Represented by lit candles placed on stage, Mike “Beard Man” Taylor will always be remembered.
As the show came to an end with “Rule The World”, Sarah Blackwood gave a young fan in the audience a ukulele, and it did appear there was one glitch, a large collection of balloons hung over the audience all night but didn’t release, however it was hardly noticed by anyone. The “Walk Over The Earth World Tour 2019” continues on in Europe, United States, and Canada this summer.
Walk Off The Earth Setlist:
1. Fire in My Soul
2. Fifth Avenue
3. Corner of Queen
4. Hey Ya! (OutKast cover)
6. Teenage Dirtbag (Wheatus cover)
7. Somebody That I Used to Know / Stand by Me / Come on Eileen / Wouldn’t It Be Nice / Shape of You / No Scrubs / No Diggity / Closer / Royals / Hello
9. Rise (Jonas Blue cover)
10. Mike’s Song
11. Home We’ll Go
12. Girls Like You (Maroon 5 cover)
13. Red Hands
14. No Brainer / In My Feelings / Irreplaceable / Party in the U.S.A. / Roar / Rich Girl / Hips Don’t Lie
15. Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen cover)
16. Sing It All Away
17. Gang of Rhythm
18. Hold On (The Break)
19. Rule the World