HOME SOUNDcheck GOhear GOview GOread GOplaces DOmore


  » Contact Us
  » Advertise With Us

  » Classifieds
  » Newspaper Ads

Concert Reviews:
Five For Fighting Talks Hockey In Hockeytown

of the Oakland Press

Posted: Friday, May 21, 2010

» See more SOUND CHECK

DETROIT -- If you're going to play in Hockeytown, you better known your way around the ice. Fortunately Five For Fighting -- aka singer-songwriter John Ondrasik -- does, which certainly boosted his cred with the crowd that turned out for his solo performance Thursday night (May 20) at the City Theatre inside the Hockeytown Cafe.

A sports aficionado with loyalties to his home town Los Angeles teams, Ondrasik nonetheless had Red Wings stories to share with his Detroit fans -- including playing a party the Los Angeles Kings held for former Red Wing Luc Robitaille's retirement and meeting Steve Yzerman in a St. Louis hotel and having a conversation Ondrasik said he ended abruptly when he realized he was still wearing his massage attire (robe and slippers) while Yzerman was looking buff as he worked out on an elliptical machine.

Ondrasik also regaled the crowd with hockey questions from a box of Trivial Pursuit cards he found backstage in the former home of Detroit's Second City comedy troupe.

It wasn't all sports, mind you, but it was indicative of present Ondrasik was in the moment of the show, which is part of what makes a one-man-concert so effective. He had the tunes, of course, including hits such as "Superman (It's Not Easy)" and "100 Years," but he also had a consciousness of the audience throughout the 14-song, 90-minute set and a wealth of other stories he shared with a generous warmth and gentle self-deprecation.

Switching between piano and guitar, his tales straddled the line between touching and humorous. "I Just Love You," he said, was inspired by his daughter, Olivia, during a call home from a trip to an ashram -- a birthday present from Ondrasik's wife that, given four hours of intensive yoga per day and dinners of two carrots and an avocado, was not quite what he expected. Before "Easy Tonight" he recalled hearing a happy hour troubadour on a restaurant deck in Lake Tahoe playing the song -- and referring to it as an "oldie."

Ondrasik spoke lovingly of the "65 Mustang" that his father had handed down to him (and that his two children are already positioning to own), and he related the experience of having his most recent single, "Chance," used as the end credit in the hit film "The Blind Side." But he also revealed that "If God Made You," generally considered a love song, was actually written about the loss of a child (not one of his) and paid tribute to ALS-stricken exercise guru "Augie Nieto" in a song from the latest Five For Fighting album, "Slice."

Ondrasik, who stuck around after the show to sign autographs and take pictures with fans, finished the night completely stripped-down, singing "Hope" a capella after acknowledging the tough economic times the country -- and specifically Michigan and Detroit -- were going through. On Thursday, however, he helped everyone put that aside, at least for a little while.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


GO & DO Michigan, an Entertainment Portal
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the written permission of the copyright holder.

© Copyright MediaNews Group, Inc. | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | Arbitration