If music can be likened to a relationship, there are many short term tumultuous affairs out there. You have the bands that can easily be crashed and burned on where you listen passionately to their latest album ten times a day and then can't stand it anymore after two weeks have passed. You have bands that have a fairly decent run of a couple good albums that end amicably as well. Then, you have the bands (or in this case, musicians) who are almost like a comforting old friend.
Download - Grant Lee Phillips -Johnny Guitar
That said, I could definitely tell Grant Lee Phillips, formerly of pivotal rock band Grant Lee Buffalo fell into the latter of these categories for most of the audience in attendance. t's a different sort of passion than the type of band you'd see twenty somethings throw themselves at the stage for. It's the adoration that comes from driving through Cleveland in the middle of the night listening to those songs as your only company or putting them on to get over a broken heart, or just sheer living with those albums around you every day. When a musician has been creating songs for 15 years, there's also a certain amount of respect you are bound to feel.
Grant Lee Philips definitely left it up to the audience to determine their favorite songs and I think that is what made the show much more special to the majority. He came out without a setlist prepared to play any requests and left it up to the men and women in attendance to decide what their favorite songs and memories were throughout his 75 minute set. "Johnny Guitar" came off especially well. He also played a couple of covers of Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan songs, which was nice for variety sake and helped make it an enjoyable night.
My only suggestion is that if you haven't see Grant Lee Philips before, it's good to be really acquainted with these albums or see him play with a full band first. The songs are strong in the way they are written, but I actually enjoyed last year's performance at Lakeshore Theater when he was backed up with a full band a little more. This was definitely the more intimate of the two performances, however, and therefore definitely cherished by so many.