Photos by Justin Goodhart

One of the most entertaining jukebox musicals that will have hit New York this year was so far off Broadway that it was presented in Brooklyn: indie pop/rock band Guster’s We Also Have Eras tour, a two-act, 30-year retrospective complete with a script, set changes and even a puppet or two.

“If I’m just casually going to a concert and this happens, I’m like what the fuck,” drummer Brian Rosenworcel told Highway 81 before the show. “But if I’m a deep fan of a band that I’ve seen 10 or 15 times, and that is the case for a lot of our fans, I’m like hell yeah.”

On March 29, there was a lot of “hell yeah” in the room at the beautifully renovated and just reopened Paramount Brooklyn. In a presentation that traced the Boston-area band’s career from its formation in the Tufts University dorms to songs from an album that won’t be released until May, the funny, touching nostalgia trip was a Guster fan’s dream concert. But, remarkably, despite the length of the show — 28 songs plus sketches and an intermission — and the zooming in on details of the band’s history, like record label and producer discord, the pace, humor and in-on-the-joke overacting, paired with the irresistibly catchy songs, allowed the show to be a hit with casual fans too.

The performance began with Ryan Miller and Adam Gardner strumming guitars in a dorm room, with Gardner pulling out a few lines from the Grateful Dead’s “Eyes of the World.” “Did you write that?” Miller asked. “Do you know the D chord?” The duo then launched into “Parachute,” the title track from their 1999 debut album.

Rosenworcel — “I know him, he’s kind of weird. He insists we call him the Thunder God” — shows up, and Guster (formerly Gus — there’s a joke about some useless T-shirts) is born.

Guster is on top of the world when legendary British producer Steve Lillywhite — played by a wigged David Butler, a touring drummer with the band — reaches out to produce what will become the band’s breakthrough album, “Lost and Gone Forever,” but danger is around the corner when Guster is dropped by its record label and contemplates splitting up. Act 1 ends on a bit of a cliffhanger when Rosenworcel takes center stage to sing his theme, “The Thunder Song,” gloriously off-key.

“Made a band with my college friends, now we’ve lost all our confidence, seems like we’ve reached the end,” he sang. “An office job is going to be the best,” he added, before running through a list of artists who opened for Guster and went on to win Grammys, something Guster has not done itself. “Is this the end?” he ominously intoned as Act One came to a close.

If Act One was the set-up, Act Two was the celebration. With additional members on stage and material drawn from Guster’s broader, post-major label era, scenes included Joe Pisapia’s emotional departure from the group. (Here, he was played by Luke Reynolds.) SNL alum Will Forte joined the fray for a heartfelt version of Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is,” adding to the goofy energy that punctuated the entire show.

A solo incarnation of Fruit Bats had the unenviable job of opening the show but performed admirably, with Eric Johnson managing to capture the attention of fans who were not only anticipating a very special Guster performance but also gobsmacked but the cavernous and ornate newly opened venue. Johnson’s gift for melody and quirky personality made for a nice warmup set, with highlights including the jaunty “Rushin’ River Valley” from Fruit Bats’ latest album, “A River Running Through Your Heart,” and the longtime favorite “Humbug Mountain Song,” a knotty minor key tune that gives way to a cathartic chorus. Fruit Bats will be back in New York for two shows in July: The 23rd at Music Hall of Williamsburg and the 24th at Racket.

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