Free at Noon Flashback: Guster gears up for a busy 2019 at World Cafe Live

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Guster | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Guster is about to be extremely busy: in just one short week, the band will release Look Alive, their first album in four years, and head out on an extensive world tour. But this week they’ve been reveling in the calm before the storm, rehearsing new songs, and prepping their live set for a real-life audience. Their official release week festivities began just this afternoon, right here in Philly, as they joined us for a sold-out Free at Noon performance.

Many in the extremely packed audience seemed to be enthusiastic Guster fans (some might have been here for the band’s last Free at Noon, almost exactly four years ago), and their anticipation was palpable as they rushed to fill the room; only increasing with every second of the additional ten-minute wait for the band to come onstage. We soon found out why the band was running late — they have a lot of fancy technological aspects to their performance, some of which it seems like they’re still getting used to.

Guster | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

The set began with vocalist Ryan Miller shouting something barely intelligible into a heavily distorted mic; it was probably along the lines of “hello, everyone,” though it’s hard to be sure. But the new technology they’ve brought to their live show worked its way seamlessly into each song. Guster has always been known for their inventive sound, which has evolved steadily throughout the band’s 25+ year career, but it’s safe to say that the band’s Look Alive era will be something next-level.

“Ultimately, it’s a very optimistic record,” said Miller as the band launched into some of Look Alive‘s darker songs, like “Mind Kontrol,” promising that there were some upbeat ones on the new album, too. That optimism came in the form of the new song “Terrified,” which featured co-vocalist Adam Gardner repeating the lyric “open up your heart” while Miller tossed a few donuts into the crowd. Guster also treated the crowd to a few older tunes, including fan favorite “Satellite,” and indulged the cheering audience in a brief encore.

Revisit today’s set in the photos below.

Setlist:
Hard Times
Ramona
Mind Kontrol
Manifest Destiny
Terrified
Look Alive
Satellite
Overexcited

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