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Cali girl Caillat more then just a pretty face

Colbie Caillat

Colbie Caillat, one of the West Coast’s most beautiful and talented young artists, stopped in Boston at the Orpheum Theater this past Sunday night. In an almost flawless performance, she established that her proliferating fame is no fluke, and that a pretty face, a hit song and a nice voice are not the only assets she brings to the table.

Howie Day, the opening act following young up-and-coming Trevor Hall, left a lasting impression on the crowd. Day’s first few songs were just like any typical opening act with people still shuffling into their seats, talking just loud enough to be audible.

Day’s forth song, “Ghost,” was very good. It was so good, in fact, that a group of teenage girls simultaneously stopped whispering, giggling and texting as if they were scheduled to do so.

Playing the song with no band behind him, he used a series of “loop pedals.” The electronic instruments allowed him to record short vocal, drum and guitar riffs that repeated as he mixed in other clips, sang and jammed out to the song. Essentially, Day was recording and concurrently mixing the song live.

At first, the use of the pedals was confusing as it seemed like he was simply lip-syncing and playing his guitar to a recording of the song (see: Ashlee Simpson on SNL). Once the crowd caught on though, he had their total approval and they were not quiet about it.

He then questionably slowed down for the next song, even apologizing to the crowd. He said, “Sorry guys, I’m gonna do a slow one.”

The song, “Weightless,” was fantastic, and began to make sense as he used it as a transition to his hit “Collide.”

The 2003 mainstream Top 40 countdown song demonstrated Day’s potential star power and further emphasized what a talented artist he truly is. The live version trumps the radio version by a substantial margin. Although most of the audience seemed to have thought this was his final song, it is still rather notable that he received a partial standing ovation at the conclusion of “Collide,” despite some obvious confusion.

Finally, he played a song called “Madrigals,” which has all the ingredients to be yet another mainstream hit. Again, he utilized the loop pedals and once the crowd realized what he was doing, they began to cheer and whistle in what was a sturdy mix of surprise and appreciation.

In a very, very rare instance – for an opening act, that is – at the end of the extended version of the song, the crowd burst out their seats and gave Day the ovation he deserved.

After a very long intermission, Caillat’s band took the stage one by one. The beautiful 24-year-old walked out to expected applause, and went into her first song, “I Won’t,” off her latest album “Breakthrough.”

Dressed simply in a black backless shirt and jeans, Caillat epitomized natural beauty and the “Southern Cali girl” look.

She successfully paced her set list smoothly and kept all in attendance interested throughout the show.

Just before she began “Realize” from her first album, “Coco,” a middle-aged man yelled out to her in what was a blatant attempt to talk to her and consequently embarrass everyone he was with. He explained that he had met her in the Bahamas and his 5-year-old son, Alex, had given her a white bracelet. In sincere appreciation, Caillat smiled and dedicated her next song to him.

“Realize,” which is a relatively slow moving and soft song, utilized the band behind her and rather than sticking to an acoustic version, stressed a variety of strings and even included an astoundingly fitting guitar solo.

Caillat played her persona to a tee, flirting with all her band members throughout the concert and suitably performing a cover of “Don’t Cha” by the Pussycat Dolls. A crowd member who chose to remain anonymous said that her rendition of the song was “way better than the original.”

Caillat showed her talent branches far beyond her beautiful voice in a ukulele battle with lead guitarist, Justin Young.

The most shocking moment of the night occurred when she handed her stage manager the microphone in what seemed to be an unscheduled addition to the show. Headset and all, he performed an almost flawless cover of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry.”

An acoustic “I Never Told You,” which progressively brought the rest of the band into the song, followed by “Little Things” led the set right into her biggest hit on the radio right now, “Fallin’ for You.”

The song, unfortunately, proved to be the single flaw of the evening. The studio version follows Caillat’s voice more so than the instruments themselves, but the live version used loud bass and guitar, which was at times overwhelming and even drowned out the vocals.

A standing ovation like none-other capped the end of the regular set list, and continued persistently till the soft lighting fixtures revealed an encore.

She finished with “Lucky,” a duet with guitarist Young, which was originally recorded with Jason Mraz, and finally her most popular song, “Bubbly.” Her last song brought the crowd to their feet to sing along and even stirred some dancing in the aisles.

Caillat’s performance was not an inch short of excellent and demonstrated her dynamic musical talent. Her hit songs shift wonderfully from the studio to the stage, but more skillfully than often seen, she promoted her lesser-known songs and received unanimous approval from her fans. Using unique percussions and strings (e.g. the ukulele), she and her band created a sound that brought the audience to Malibu, broke their hearts and made them fall in love again.

Justin Gagnon can be reached at jgagnon@dailycollegian.com.

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