Potter, drummer Matt Burr, guitarist Scott Tournet, guitarist Benny Yurco and bassist Michael Libramento began the delectable musical onslaught with an explosive “Turntable,” followed it with an electrified “Only Love” and ended the troika by throttling back for a playful “Goodbye Kiss.”
From there it was off to the races as GPN seesawed between the sizzling and the sublime. The band rode a powerfully understated Tournet guitar intro into a blistering “Mastermind,” highlighted by Potter’s matchless onstage energy, fierce vocals and east coast strut that was sweet as molasses.
But what really knocked the crowd out were her softly pleading vocals on one of the night’s highlights, “Apologies.” Potter mesmerized the Celebrity crowd with her impassioned starkness, mournfully singing “He said it’s crazy / How love stays with me / You know it hurts me / Cause I don’t wanna fight this war / It’s amazing to see me reading through this scene / Of love and fear and apologies.”
Potter’s potent musical honesty is a big part of her appeal – what you see on stage is what you get off stage. The gifted artist chatted with me about it in an earlier interview. When asked whether or not her stage persona was the “real Grace,” she immediately stated, “Every single bit of it. It’s not an act. And that comes from the way I was raised.”
“You have to be genuine and do things. I think that’s why I wouldn’t be a very good actress. Because when the director yells ‘Cut!’ I don’t cut. I don’t have an on and off switch. I kind of embody that energetic spirit that’s on stage at all times.”
And in keeping with that energetic Potter spirit, after sharing her softer side with the transfixed fans it was high time to transport them to GPN’s gator infested bayou with a swampy “Treat Me Right.” Newest band member Libramento laid down the funkiest bass line this side of “Thunder Thumbs” Johnson.
Witnessing Potter’s high-heeled swagger and straightforward vocals on “Ah, Mary” made it all the more remarkable that she once described herself as a “shy, shrinking violet” that was too afraid to sing at her grandmother’s birthday celebration as a young girl.
The band gleefully busted out their new cut from “The Lone Ranger: Wanted Soundtrack,” “Devil’s Train.” It’s a tall order to take a Hank Williams tune and make it your own but with three dueling six-strings, a snare drum and one incredibly smoky vocalist, the band was up to the task.
Potter showed her “pensive” side by breaking out her Flying V for “Loneliest Soul.” Let’s just say this – she doesn’t bust out the master blaster for a power ballad. And for the rare soul in the crowd whose face was not melted, she followed it up with an angry “Stop The Bus.”
GPN thrilled the delirious crowd – and closed out the fantastic show – with a final encore triple of the bold and the beautiful, a hard driving “Medicine,” a heavenly “Stars” and GPN’s trademark rocker “Paris (Ooh La La).”
With the show winding down, I remembered something that Potter had shared with me in our interview. As the band has continued their meteoric rise over the past five years, they’ve never forgotten where they came from.
“A lot of times as you get bigger and bigger, people think you’re forgetting your foundation. But we never do and we’ll always come back. We make sure that the crowd feels they’re getting an intimate experience.”
“Even if we’re playing to 30,000 people the night before, the night after. We’re gonna enjoy the spirit of making music no matter how many tickets are sold.”
The fans at the celebrity definitely got their money’s worth.