Home Live Review Live Review: Dispatch w/ National Symphony Orchestra @ Wolf Trap — 7/21/23

Live Review: Dispatch w/ National Symphony Orchestra @ Wolf Trap — 7/21/23

Live Review:  Dispatch w/ National Symphony Orchestra @ Wolf Trap — 7/21/23
Dispatch performs with the National Symphony Orchestra at Wolf Trap, July 21, 2023. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

The iconic folk-rock band Dispatch recently took the stage at Wolf Trap, enthralling their loyal fans with an extraordinary and unprecedented performance alongside the prestigious National Symphony Orchestra. The atmosphere was electric with excitement as the band embarked on their first-ever collaboration with a symphony orchestra, a dream they had nurtured for years.

The idea of joining forces with the NSO had been on Dispatch’s mind for quite some time, but various hurdles, including pandemic-related delays and their co-headlined tour with OAR last year, had postponed the realization of this ambition. However, destiny had its way, and on this remarkable night, Dispatch was ready to make history.

Months of dedicated effort and meticulous planning led to this musical spectacle at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center on July 21. In January 2023, Brad “Braddigan” Corrigan and Chad “Chetro” Urmston from Dispatch delved into the intricate scores, working closely with the NSO composer, Scott O’Neil, to ensure a seamless fusion of their folk-rock sound with the NSO’s classical prowess. Intensive rehearsals with the NSO, under the baton of conductor Steven Reineke, added to the anticipation, building up to a performance that would be etched in the memories of both artists and fans alike.

The concert kicked off with a setlist that perfectly complemented the creative vision for the night. Dispatch, along with Scott O’Neil’s collaboration, meticulously chose the songs, ensuring that each piece showcased the best of both worlds. The brilliance of the National Symphony Orchestra’s instrumentation seamlessly intertwined with Dispatch’s signature roots rock sound, elevating the entire experience to new heights.

The audience was treated to a captivating journey through Dispatch’s discography, with hits like “Windylike,” “Only the Wild Ones,” and “Out Loud” taking on an enchanting new form. Additionally, the band paid homage to legendary artists, delivering a soul-stirring rendition of Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Lookin’ Out My Back Door.”

As the night progressed, the music flowed effortlessly, creating an ethereal atmosphere that enraptured everyone present. Standout moments included the live debut of “All This Time @Info,” an emotionally charged performance of “Letter to Lady J,” and the anthemic “The General,” which had the crowd singing along in unison.

The encore was nothing short of breathtaking, as Dispatch treated their fans to a surprise cover of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train,” infusing it with their unique style. The heartfelt and nostalgic “Elias” closed the night, leaving the audience in awe of the musical brilliance they had just witnessed.

Dispatch’s collaboration with the National Symphony Orchestra proved to be a triumph, a testament to the band’s artistic vision and the NSO’s adaptability and versatility. The combination of folk-rock with classical symphony orchestration was a delightful fusion of genres that left a lasting impression on all who were fortunate enough to be present.

Stream Live From the Boston Woods by Dispatch on Spotify:

Chad who provides vocals, guitar, bass, percussion, trombone, and piano and Brad who provides drums, percussion, guitar, harmonica, and vocals as well, co-founded Dispatch in the mid-1990s with Pete Francis Heimbold who is no longer in the band. Chad and Brad are joined on tours by Matthew Embree (backing vocals, guitar, bass), Jon “J.R.” Reilly (backing vocals, drums, percussion, congas, bongos, cymbals, and tambourine), and Mike Sawitzke (backing vocals, guitar, banjo, trumpet, mandolin, and keyboard).

Dispatch’s journey doesn’t end here; they are now set to take this extraordinary show to Red Rocks, teaming up with the Colorado Symphony for what promises to be another unforgettable experience. This collaboration showcases Dispatch’s indomitable spirit and their commitment to pushing boundaries and exploring new frontiers in music.

In conclusion, Dispatch’s performance with the National Symphony Orchestra was a triumphant celebration of artistic innovation and musicianship. The concert was a beautiful tapestry of sounds, emotions, and shared experiences that will be cherished by their loyal fans for years to come. Dispatch has once again proved why they stand tall as one of the most successful bands in independent music history.

Enjoy some photos of Dispatch performing with NSO at Wolf Trap on July 21, 2023. All images are copyright and courtesy of Ari Strauss.


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