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Review: Ryan Star @ Webster Hall, 1.18.11

Portrait of Ryan Star from the CBS reality

Portrait of Ryan Star from the CBS reality show Rock Star: Supernova filming in Los Angeles, California. Rock Star: Supernova is created and produced by Mark Burnett. Photo by Danny Moloshok 2006 Danny Moloshok for Mark Burnett Productions 6/08/06 Credit: DANNY MOLOSHOK/Danny Moloshok

Ryan Star certainly had a lot to celebrate last night.

Not only was it his biggest headlining solo show yet, his single “Start a Fire” has climbed to No. 19 on the pop charts. But, most importantly, his big sister, Lauren, who was an early manager of his band Stage and helped inspire his music career, is set to get married today.

“We want to make this the coolest rehearsal dinner ever,” the Dix Hills native told the Webster Hall crowd.

Well, there may be some competition in a couple of months from across the pond thanks to some Brits named William and Kate, but Star's fiery 75-minute show – along with the sets of his longtime Long Island friends Gambit and Hesta Prynn – certainly keeps the night in the running.

A road warrior over the past year, Star doesn't get the chance to do a full set very often. So when he does, he certainly enjoys to stretch.

His opening five songs from his “11:59” album are rock solid now – from the rousing “Brand New Day,” which he attacks like a true rock star, to the anthemic “Breathe,” which has grown into a full-fledged sing-along. Both the set-closing “Start a Fire” and the finale “Back of Your Car,” which included bits of both La Roux's “Bulletproof” and Antoine Dodson's “Bed Intruder,” are as powerful as ever.

However, it's when he stretches that Star shows he's not finished yet. On the winding “Take a Ride,” he brought several fans onto the stage to play tambourines the way rockers do in arena shows. The way he let his stunning piano ballad “Sink or Swim” move into “Losing My Religion” was a throwback to his “Rock Star: Supernova” days where his interpretive skills as a singer won him an international TV following.

“We've been looking forward to this evening for a long time,” Star said, after repeating “Right Now”'s payoff line for emphasis. “I'm where I want to be.” It certainly showed.

SETLIST: Brand New Day / Right Now / 11:59 / Last Train Home / Breathe / Psycho Suicidal Girl / The One You Know / Take a Ride / We Can Work It Out / Start a Fire // ENCORE:
Sink or Swim / Losing My Religion / Back of Your Car

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