Okay, so it’s been about two weeks since I’ve made a real post. This is largely due to two primary factors: school work catching up to me and the incredible weekend that was Oct. 14-17. School work’s dull and not largely worth talking about to you, my few precocious readers.
That said, the aforementioned weekend may very well be of interest. In a short four days I saw Iron and Wine, Sufjan Stevens, Obama and John Legend. In a short four days I traveled almost 800 miles via bus, car and foot.
Here is that story, in three parts.
Part 1: Iron and Wine
The first day was Thursday, Oct. 14. I woke up ten minutes after a midterm I had that day started and after jumping out of bed, my mind was entirely elsewhere. It wasn’t until I saw my friends from Cincinnati who had come up for this and who I would be traveling to Chicago with later that night that I realized what day it was.
October 14th, 2010. The First day.
Iron and Wine @ The Ohio Union’s Grand Ballroom, Oct. 14, 2010
Sam Beam is a surprisingly funny man. Iron and Wine’s show had a quiet, intimate feel despite the massive ballroom. The campfire feel was further helped along by the audience rather spontaneously choosing to sit down. Had this gone off without a hitch, it would’ve been a wonderful thing, but space limitations made it into an unfortunate chore. Beam, thankfully directed the audience and it was all eventually worked out–if it was still a little cramped.
The highlight of the show for me was his performance of “Carousel,” my favorite track from The Shepard’s Dog. The first song he did after we sat down and before we all got cramped, it caught the pinnacle of the campfire-esque atmosphere. Our seats in the middle gave the perfect view. It was the kind of simple, magical feel that one would expect out of an Iron and Wine concert.
Between songs, Beam was witty and funny. Responding to audience shoutouts. One particular exchange, in which someone asked him to play his Dark Was the Night contribution, “Die” and another audience member telling him to play “whatever he feels like” was particularly funny. Beam suggested they get together and work it out and come to him with a full plan. Later, after more requests he quipped “You guys have a lot of ideas–what is this a college or something?”
It’s also worth mentioning that he played a few new songs and they all sounded great and given the recent news of a new album, it was exciting to hear the kind of path he was going to take with his new work. It was all great and I enjoyed his new songs more than some of his old ones.
I should also bring up opener Daniel Martin Moore, who I was particularly excited to see after loving his recent collaboration with Ben Sollee. Unfortunately, the audience didn’t quite give him the quiet respect they gave Beam and it was difficult to hear his soft, crooning voice. His set was beautiful, but the blatantly disrespectful audience really damaged the mood of it. After one song he said thanks “to those of you listening” and I couldn’t help but feel bad for the guy. He was coming off a cold and had driven up to Columbus for the show from Kentucky. The man’s a great musician though and if he ever drops by Columbus again (I really hope he does) I’ll be sure to see him and give him a full write up just to make up for my less-than-kind schoolmates.
Unfortunately I had to leave the set early to catch the bus to Chicago (Part 2, coming up) and missed the last four or five songs. I’m told by my friends who stayed that I didn’t miss much, however and that I definitely got the peak of the show. His encore was short, just “Resurrection Fern,” and he didn’t play arguably one of his biggest songs, “Boy with a Coin.”
Here’s the album version of “Carousel.” It’s hard to say which version I like more, the live stripped-down one or this one. Anyway, get your headphones out for this song–the whole of The Shepard’s Dog is full of audio grooves.