Either through irony or accident, Grace Potter’s four-man backup crew, the Nocturnals, looked very much awake as they filed on stage at Red Butte Garden Sunday to play instrumentals in “Hot Summer Night.”
Potter somehow made the amphitheater mercury head north as she began the set from the crowd and voluntarily lost her shawl into the front row after she hit the stage, unveiling a healthy bit of skin along with a sprawling vocal scale.
The band kept its best-known tunes (like “Paris” and “Medicine”) for the heart of the set. They played crowd favorites after Potter began to set the stubborn sun, as the crowd kept warm in the cooling breeze.
Potter is known for her knee-buckling, high-pitched notes, which she hit at Red Butte. The crowd kept up with the band throughout the night, with die-hard followers filing forward and flowing and singing and dancing with Potter’s direction for the entire two-hour set.
Earlier, as the crowd filled the amphitheater to the brim, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real turned Potter fans into the rock star’s own cohorts.
The California-based band was without its South American percussionist, but fans eager to lounge were coaxed into dancing by the guitar-driven music.
A new fan, Jeramie Hansen, tried to teach his daughter, Kairi, how to jam in the Father’s Day heat, but decided to head to the dance floor for the remaining POTR songs (“Start to Go” and the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil”). Kairi was rewarded with drummer Anthony LoGerfo’s stick as the band lingered with new converts while awaiting the start of Grace Potter’s show.