I still remember buying the Do You Feel CD as soon as it was released on July 17, 2007. This was, and still is, an album that is timeless to me – I still have that copy. I’ve seen The Rocket Summer a handful of times over the past ten years, bringing family and friends each time, and each time, the man behind The Rocket Summer, Bryce, delivers an astounding performance of musical integrity and a powerful message. Bryce composes and plays every single instrument on his albums, which is no easy feat. So, as soon as I found out that The Rocket Summer was playing Do You Feel in its entirety for the first time ever for a 10 year anniversary tour, I knew I had to be there.
The Rocket Summer was one of the first bands I ever photographed with a true ‘photo pass’ instead of using a small camera from the crowd, so this opportunity was near and dear to my heart. As I cleaned my camera gear and got my bag ready, I realized how long it had been since I saw Bryce and his band first perform in Boston when Do You Feel came out. Now, ten years later, in California, I prepared for an evening of reminiscing just how much time had passed between the first time I saw Bryce play.
Bryce chose Slim’s, an intimate venue in San Francisco where attendees could get up close and personal with the artist. As I walked up the steps to the main concert hall, it felt like 2007 all over again – small bright lights lit up the merchandise stand, always proudly run by Bryce’s wife, Tara. A crowd pushed together towards the front of the stage, eagerly anticipating the show to begin. The photographers clambered into the photo pit and the lights went out.
The band approached the stage, and opened powerfully with the title track of the album, “Break It Out”. Through the track list, fans at the front of the barricade sang every single word. Halfway through the album, after “All I Have”, Bryce and his drummer jammed on two side-by-side drum sets for a drum duel, bringing the audience excitement to an all-time high leading into “High Life Scenery”. Before Bryce sang “Colors”, he explained to the crowd that he is one of the folks in the world with Synesthesia, a condition which alters your perception, which in his case means that when he hears certain sounds, he can see or taste colors – giving a new perspective to much of his music for the listeners.
The very last song on the album, “So, In This Hour…” is a powerful piano-driven ballad in which Bryce and the band showcase their talents on their respective instruments and Bryce rocks a blazing guitar solo. “So, In This Hour…” has a special live ending segment called “You Tell Me To Live”, which is Bryce on piano singing softly to mark the end of the album.
After a loud applause from the audience, The Rocket Summer brought out some old favorites like “Around The Clock”, “Cross My Heart”, “Brat Pack”, and “Goodbye Waves and Driveways”. This performance was unlike any other, filled with joy, love, and thankfulness resounding from the artist to the attendees and back again. To anyone who has not seen Bryce and The Rocket Summer live, I urge you to make it a point to go and catch the Do You Feel front to back spectacular to spark a bright, powerful mood that will last you for weeks to come.