Delicate Steve, since his release of Wondervisions in 2011, has made quite a name for himself as an instrumental musician with an innovative style that some claim defies genre. Last Saturday Steve made a return visit to Wesleyan’s campus with an electrifying set. After the amazing opening bands had finished and before Steve's set began, the crowd was sparse but lively with anticipation. As a longtime fan, I made a point of getting a spot at the front, but not directly in front of Steve himself (in fear of making too much eye awkward contact). I turned around again to see a full house as the set started. Steve gave his guitar a powerful strum, the “stage” lit up with the glow from the synchronized lights, and the show was off.
Songs from all three of Delicate Steve’s albums – This is Steve (2017), Positive Force (2012), and Wondervisions (2011) – were all heavily featured throughout the rather lengthy show. He played older hits like “Butterfly” and newly popular songs like “Winners,” but some left disappointed when he left out one of the most popular songs from his second album, “Ramona Reborn.” Regardless, Steve’s show was one of the best I have seen at Wesleyan. Steve’s complicated sound requirements and setup made me nervous, but the show appeared to go without any noticeable issues. The fun lighting added to the ethereal ambiance and/or rock energy, and the general showmanship of Steve kept the concert lively, as if his music were not enough.
There was rarely, if not never, a point in his set during which people were not moving to the music. During certain songs, like “Butterfly,” the crowd seemed to come alive and really feel the music in a way that I rarely see at Wesleyan shows; the energy was palpable. The touring band consisted of Steve on lead guitar, another guitarist, a drummer, and a bassist. Steve told me afterwards that they just started playing together, but they sounded incredibly in sync. Even after the long set, the crowd screamed for an encore, which was just as energetic, nuanced, and beautiful as the rest.