In 2003, a little show called One Tree Hill hit the WB and its theme some “I Don't Want to Be” was quickly burned onto mix CDs by denim mini skirt, tie-belt, fedora wearing teen in the country. That theme song was sung by Gavin Degraw who stirred up a bit of early 2000 nostalgia as he performed at Ravinia with The Fray on June 25th.
Ravinia was packed to the brim to see the piano playing artists. Every seat in the Pavilion was taken, with swarms of people crowding over the railing to try and catch a view of the stage. I wouldn't have thought the headliners would have drawn such a large crowd with lawn seats running at $40 apiece and the heat climbing to just over 90 degrees at sunset. But with every grassy nook taken by late twenty, early thirty-somethings casually sipping drinks while they weren’t legally allowed to drink when the artists first debuted, I found myself pleasantly surprised.
Gavin Degraw opened the evening, playing some of my own favorites from his many albums including “Chariot,” “I’m in Love with a Girl,” “Not Over You,” and his most notable “I Don't Want to Be.” His set played for nearly an hour and a half and he could have played until the gates closed without argument from the audience. The Fray didn't play as long. In fact, their set had more covers than originals. “How to Save a Life,” the band’s second single and the song that propelled them to worldwide fame in 2005, was the only song that seemed to resonate with the crowd. The only other song that the audience seemed to know of theirs was “Over My Head,” and without many other top 40 Billboard topping songs to note, The Fray paled in comparison to Degraw’s soulful set. But the pairing between the singer-songwriter and American rock band went together like red wine and cheese. Both of the artist’s songs were tailor-made for dramatic TV moments. The next time the duo come to Ravinia their sets should be accompanied by a large movie screen with TV clips from early 2000 shows. Think The Fray providing theme music to dramatic scenes on Scrubs and Grey's Anatomy, Gavin Degraw playing over sappy moments on One Tree Hill, The OC, Gilmore Girls. It would probably draw double the audience and it would certainly double the Y2K nostalgia.
Ravinia is just getting their summer season going and has an incredible line-up with shows through September that span dozens of interests, musical eras, and genres. Visit www.ravinia.org for schedule and tickets.