Concert Review: Guster’s We Also Have Eras Tour

Posted on: March 16, 2024
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By Ryan Nims // Back in the late 90s, in the days before social media, I was a Guster Rep; my Guster Rep codename was Motormouth. As a Rep, I would purchase stacks of CDs from the band at wholesale price, which I could then resell and pocket the profits. It seemed like a good gig for a college student, right? In truth, though, I’m not sure I sold even one CD. I just gave them away to people. I loved Guster so much I just wanted people to hear the music, I wasn’t in it for the money.

This was one of Guster’s early eras; to celebrate their more than 30 years as a band—and 30 years since the debut album Parachute was released—Guster is taking to the road for their retrospective “We Also Have Eras” tour, which kicked off at ACL Live in Austin on March 7th.

My rare copy of Gus’s Parachute signed by all original members

I’ve been a fan through pretty much all of the band’s eras; this was my fourth time seeing them live: I snuck my two brothers and myself backstage to meet the band at Stubb’s in 2003, took my wife to see them again at Stubb’s in 2011, and my brother Adam and friend James caught the tour opener last year at the Granada Theater in Dallas. Adam and James also joined me in experiencing this year’s tour opener.

Adam and Ryan in their dorm room at Tufts. (Photo by JML Parker) 

Upon entering the venue, we were greeted with a dorm room at Tufts University, which would be the set for the first of many skits the band would perform that covered certain band highlights. In the case of the dorm, the original members of the band, then simply known as Gus–vocalists/guitarists Ryan Miller & Adam Gardner, and bongo player Brian “Thundergod” Rosenworcel–played entirely acoustic performances of a couple of songs off of Parachute: the album’s namesake and “Happy Frappy.” Next, the set changed to a tour van, and the band performed “Demons” and “Airport Song” from their follow-up album Goldfly.

The concert more or less progressed in this way: short funny skits, costume changes, or in some cases original Broadway-style songs to introduce the next album or meaningful milestone in the band’s career. That time Adam confronted Brian about finding drumsticks on the tour bus (gasp!). Or when Ryan discovered the bass guitar. Thundergod singing his own song bemoaning the fact that although former supporting acts such as John Mayer and Maroon 5 have won Grammys, Guster has yet to win one. Multi-instrumentalist Luke Reynolds (formerly of the band Blue Merle, a member of Guster since 2010) played both himself and earlier band member Joe Pisapia. The band’s drum tech David Butler acted as the narrator for the skits, as well as playing the parts of producer Steve Lillywhite (U2, Talking Heads, etc) and puppeteer for an evil music executive, in an especially funny little skit. Dave even got his own song.

Between the eras of 2006’s Ganging Up On The Sun, and 2010’s Easy Wonderful, the concert went into a 12-minute intermission, during which a slide show was played celebrating people who have worked with Guster in the studio, on tour, or personal friends and family.

“Instagram moment!”

Following the intermission, the band played songs from Easy Wonderful, Evermotion, Look Alive, and a couple of brand new songs from the upcoming album, Ooh La La, finishing with the 2003 classic “Come Downstairs and Say Hello.” After that, Ryan announced that was their last song, but that they’d be back in about 45 seconds to do the encore. The stage was then set up to look like a campfire, and the band came back out and played “Happier” and “Amsterdam.”

The show was an incredibly fun time, full of music, comedy, costume changes, and some fourth-wall-breaking humor. The “We Also Have Eras” tour is currently running through the Midwest on the way to the East Coast. The end of the tour will culminate in a hometown album release show in Boston.

L-R: Guster’s Ryan Miller, James, Adam, myself.
Tour dates can be found on the band’s website under the Tour Dates tab. While you’re there, you can preorder the new album Ooh La La or purchase albums from previous eras.