Friday, September 20, 2013

Iron & Wine - First Avenue Minneapolis [9/18/13] - Review

Last night, Samuel Bean better know as Iron & Wine took the stage to a capacity crowd at First Avenue in Minneapolis.  The show had been listed as "Sold Out" for weeks, but upon arrival at the doors tickets were still available, but obviously not very many.  As a fan of Iron & Wine from a few years back, I had envisioned Bean on stage with his acoustic guitar and that was about it.  Memories of "Such Great Heights" and its simplicity are what had me hooked on his brand of melodic sound.  As Iron & Wine took the stage it was glaringly obvious that things had changed, as a dozen people and instruments found their spots and set up shop.


The big band sound that emanated from the stage was altogether something else.  Three guys on horns, three on strings, three female backup singers, a guy on drums and another on the keys...  It all made for a rich - diverse musical experience.  After a few songs, the lights dimmed and the rest of the band disappeared from the stage leaving Bean, his guitar and a microphone; exactly as I had pictured it.  The (somewhat older) audience sang along to nearly every song, to the point that Bean commented from the stage how cool it sounded coming through his in-ear monitors.  


They made the switch from big band to Bean solo a few times, creating a rising and falling tempo to the show.  While solo on stage, the room seemed to shrink.  As fans shouted requests from the floor Bean would respond directly to them.  When a robust "Boy with a Coin" came from the audience Bean's retort had the whole place laughing...  He said "I have played this song for every show for the last fucking seven years. If you eat the same fucking meal for the same seven years, it's time to try something else."   

To finish off the evening, Bean returned to the stage for a one song encore, the emotional and quintessential Iron & Wine track "Love Vigilantes".  Bean stood in front of the microphone and said "I'm gonna do one more then send you on your way"...


Sorry for the bump in the middle of the video - security was hassling me.

While we enjoyed the musical stylings of Iron and Wine, just across First Avenue legions of 50-somethings sat inside Target Center suffering through The Eagles.  One of the many requests shouted at the stage was "Hotel California", to which Bean replied, "Just lean your head out the window"... Thankfully, Iron & Wine ended about 20 minutes before The Eagles, allowing most of the crowd to avoid the walking sea of baby boomers.  

In whole, it was a great show.  If I had to come up with a complaint it was that when accompanied by the full band, Bean's vocals were at times drowned out.  The big band sound was a welcomed surprise, but if the sacrifice was to override Bean's melodic voice, it wasn't worth it in my opinion. 

Setlist

The Desert Babbler
Carousel
Kingdom of the Animals
Tree By the River
The Trapeze Swinger
Sixteen Maybe Less
Belated Promise Ring
Baby Center Stage
Monkeys Uptown
Such Great Heights
Boy With a Coin
Upward Over the Mountain
Resurrection Fern
Waves of Galveston
Caught in the Briars
Sundown (Back in the Briars)
Jezebel
Grace For Saints and Ramblers
Low Light Buddy of Mine
Your Fake Name Is Good Enough For Me

Encore
Love Vigilantes

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