A Great Big World at Gramercy Theatre – Review
If you are a child of the ‘60s (which, alas, I am not), the music of Simon & Garfunkel – songs such as “The Sound of Silence,” “Bridge over Troubled Water,” and “Mrs. Robinson” – are indelibly etched in your soul. The closest connection I have to the duo, beyond owning several of their albums, is that I studied classical piano with the same teacher as Art Garfunkel, albeit a few decades later.
Fast forward to 2010s and the meteoric rise of another duo, Ian Axel and Chad King, better known as A Great Big World. I had heard their first big hit, “This is the New Year,” before they assumed their current name but, while I liked the song, it didn’t really make much of an impression. That changed when I heard “Say Something,” which climbed to number 20 on iTunes in the United States almost immediately upon its release in 2013. When the two re-recorded the song with Christina Aguilera later that year, it debuted as No. 1 on the Billboard Digital Songs chart.
A few days ago, A Great Big World released its second album, “When the Morning Comes,” and the group is currently touring the United States, appearing Wednesday night at the Gramercy Theatre to a sold out house.
The new album’s main themes – love and hope – were abundantly clear from the music but, while it would have been easy for the tone to veer towards the maudlin, that was not the course chosen by the duo. Instead, it’s an upbeat look at relationships, both gay and straight, looking at their theme in a variety of ways.
While the opening for “Kaleidoscope” was reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Cecelia,” and the lyrics to “My life was black and white” did make me think of “Kodachrome” for a moment, A Great Big World clearly is charting its own path.
As I left the theater, words from the group’s single “Hold Each Other” resonated in my head.
“Something happens when I hold him… he keeps my heart from being broken”
“When the days get short and the nights get a little bit colder, we hold each other… we hold each other … we hold each other.”
(Photos: Accura Media Group)