Ray LaMontagne Gets Honest at the Beacon Theatre
October 31, 2022
Ray LaMontagne – Beacon Theatre – October 28, 2022
Pumpkin spice, leaves turning and the cool, crisp change in temperatures: Fall is decidedly upon us and there’s nothing I’d rather wrap myself into than the warm vocals of singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne. Having gained fame for his 2004 debut album, Trouble, which has graced television shows, commercials and a few Voice auditions, LaMontagne has been consistently releasing material ever since, with his most recent LP, Monovision, arriving in 2020. Following a successful spring tour supporting that album earlier this year, the New Hampshire native kicked off his fall edition a fortnight ago, bringing his raspy, soulful voice to the Upper West Side on Friday, the first of two nights at the Beacon Theatre.
LaMontagne was welcomed to the stage with chants of “Raaaaaaaay” as he opened with “No Other Way,” from 2014’s Supernova. Fortifying his set with deeply personal stories and the inspirations for his songs, he shared that a solo visit to a fog-drenched campsite on a tiny island off the coast of Maine gave birth to “Misty Morning Rain.” While the bittersweet “Ojai” captured the life of his once joyful uncle turned cynic. LaMontagne had the room lapping up his vocal flourishes, from growl-like deliveries on “Roll Me Mama, Roll Me” to longing, husky belts on “Jolene.”
Fan-favorites “You Are the Best Thing” and “Trouble” instantly became sing-alongs. With deep honesty, the seasoned performer revealed that he wouldn’t be like those peers who sing until they can’t, but rather, he said there will be a time when he’ll know to stop. Although some grumbling reverberated across the room, I appreciated the candor. Fittingly, LaMontagne concluded the show with a song that he explained might sound sad but is in fact hopeful, “Highway to the Sun.” Here’s hope that the troubadour continues to tell his stories for years to come. — Sharlene Chiu | @Shar0ck