Concert Review: Pat McGee @ Caffe Lena, 05/11/2023

Pat McGee rolled into Saratoga for a rare solo acoustic performance at Caffe Lena on Thursday night. McGee has been touring the world with the Pat McGee Band for nearly 30 years. PMB formed in Virginia and cut their teeth in venues like the legendary Trax in Charlottesville.

Pat McGee released several solo records after the untimely death of PMB drummer Chris Williams. He recently put the band back together and released the album “Sugar Packet.” McGee has also been busy hosting several yearly music festivals. For the last 15 years, he has hosted ” Down the Hatch,” a multi-day festival in the Outer Banks. DTH has shows in multiple venues and on the beach. This October, he is hosting another festival in Rhode Island. Dubbed “Ocean State of Mind,” the three-day excursion includes performances at Castle Hill in Newport and Blithewood Mansion in Bristol.

Pat McGee is a man of the people and treats his fans like friends. As I waited in line to get into the show he came up and shook my hand and introduced himself. He thanked me for coming. He repeated this with EVERY fan in line, asking their names and being genuinely interested in speaking with everyone.

McGee was in town to see his daughter Ellie row in the Atlantic 10 Championship at Fish Creek in Saratoga Springs. Ellie is the sophomore coxswain on the University of Rhode Island Women’s rowing team. (GO RAMS!) What better way to kill some time before the regatta than to perform an off the cuff set at one of the country’s most historic, revered listening rooms?

There was no planned setlist. McGee simply asked the crowd what they wanted to hear. It was like sitting around with an old friend and listening to them play. I personally got three requests played. It was clear how proud McGee is of his family and his children. He gushed over his daughter and her rowing. He even brought his young son Jack up on stage to play Cajon on “Runaway.” Jack looks to be about ten years old, but he’s got rhythm for days. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree in the McGee family. It was fantastic to watch them steal glances at each other as they played.

One of the requests he played was “Upgrade,” a track off of the latest record. He admitted that he didn’t know all the lyrics but was not deterred. He took the lyric sheet from one of the records at the merch table and used it to refresh his memory. The set was closed out with a pair of Bruce Springsteen covers which were requested by a table at the front of the stage. McGee said that he didn’t know the songs but would play them anyway. “No Surrender” segued into “Thunder Road,” sending the fans out into the warm Saratoga night on a high note.

1 Comment
  1. Beth says

    LOVE THIS! You truly captured the essence of this special show.

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