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There’s something in a Band of Horses show that makes me appreciate the group a little more each time I see them. This intimate set they played at the Ed Sullivan Theatre on Monday night, as part of the Live on Letterman series, was another tip of the hat in their direction. In the close quarters of the legendary venue, the band’s charismatic nature and heartfelt songs shone in a 45-minute set that showed off some of their new tracks and old hits too.
The setting made for one of the most delicate versions of No One’s Gonna Love You More I’ve heard. Ben Bridwill’s solitary, stirring voice enveloping the theatre, with only Tyler Ramsey’s guitar to accompany him, is one of those concert memories you’ll want to keep forever in your pocket, and take out when your heart needs a little patch-work done.
Pics: Jeffrey Neira/CBS
The band played new tracks off Mirage Rock, their second release on a major label. In between the country rock tinges and Southern-leaning new tracks, the solid set from the band was peppered with some banter between the members that showed that their light-hearted side.
As always, kudos to the Live on Letterman series for allowing us a glimpse into the band on the eve of the release of their new album. It was a captivating occasion.
Just like the LBD, the LBH never seems to go out of fashion. And while a Little Black Dress has been known to fix many a Little Broken Heart, there’s much to be said about the timeless ability of music to ease those kinds of wounds too. Enter Norah Jones, stage left, with her fifth studio album, Little Broken Hearts, filled with songs about her most recent break-up.
Norah took to the stage at one of my favourite venues in New York – the Ed Sullivan Theater, for Live on Letterman. She performed songs from the album, produced by the deft Danger Mouse, which released yesterday. In a set that saw her play the guitar more than she did the piano, Norah showed she has a new heart to go along with that new album and new band of hers. In between songs, she joked with the audience about inappropriately touching herself after she spilt water on her dress, and made endearing small talk about the weather.
Pics: John Filo/CBS
One of the stand-out moments of the show came when Norah showed what happens when she isn’t as likeable. On Miriam she took to the piano, singing in her velvet voice, an ode to her lover’s mistress, and how she’s saved her best punishment – not for her cheating boyfriend – but for the object of his transgressing desires.
Snow Patrol performed in South Africa a few years ago, so I’ve seen them play before, but somehow I don’t remember frontman Gary Lightbody being as amusing as he was on stage at Live on Letterman this evening. Perhaps it was the intimate venue, but his self-deprecating humour and jokes about hearts not looking like the way we draw them created a lively and light atmosphere as the group played some of their classic tracks, and a few new songs off of Fallen Empires, their latest album.
The title track from this ends the set – a truly rousing song the likes of which I don’t think we’ve seen from the band before. It’s anthemic, yes, with it’s “we are all lights” chorus, but it’s driven by a ukelele-and-bongo-combination that is a force all on its own.
For the first half, Adams’ barely said a word in between songs, moving from one to another, as he moved from guitar (red, yellow and green) to guitar (black) and piano. When he did speak, he was goofy funny, cracking jokes about touring solo these days because he doesn’t like fighting for the mirror before a concert, and lamenting the theme song change of the Moonlighting TV series.
The jokes seemed to counter the intensity of the songs in his performance. Played bare and stripped down, with Adam’s voice holding the audience’s gaze, listening, they compelled pure silence. He opened with a delicate version of Oh My Sweet Carolina, then the title track off Ashes & Fire, his latest solo offering and If I Am A Stranger, from his 2011 album with The Cardinals. When he took to the piano he played a completely stripped down New York, New York - the line “I’ll always love you though New York”, leaving Adams’ imprint in the venue where The Beatles first performed in the US. Continue reading →
Peter Gabriel and a 46-piece orchestra – what a way to visit The Late Show at the legendary Ed Sullivan Theater for the first time!
The New Blood Orchestra re-imagined arrangements of many of Peter’s songs – without guitars or drum-kit – for Gabriel’s latest album New Blood, and a selection of this was played out live for the taping.
Gabriel opened his set with Red Rain, before heading into the solemn hymn of Wallflower, a song he wrote in the years after Biko, as a beacon of strength for “those who have the courage to stand up for what they believe in.” In tribute to the Arab Spring, he performed Signal to Noise, lauding the social media tools that, when connected like dots, can take single acts of courage that in the past would have burnt out like fireworks, and make them last so much longer. With each song, the orchestra echoed his lyrics and the stories he creates with them.
Then, just like Carl Jung, the protagonist in his song, Rhythm of the Heat, the audience became utterly mesmerized – by the rhythm of the pan drum; the hand movements of conductor Ben Foster; the heights Gabriel’s voice reaches. A rousing rendition of Solsbury Hill rounded out the set, all too soon. But then he returned, with Biko, still as poignant as ever. And as he left the stage, fist in the air, his words resonated as the orchestra played its final notes: