June 5, 2008
Bon Iver played St. Giles-in-the-Fields Church
After spending the past five months in London I cannot think of a better way to end things then with this show on Wednesday night. After seeing Battles a few weeks ago I thought it would be a while before I saw another great show, however this did not turn out to be the case. Port O'Brien opened the show and for never having heard them before I was pretty impressed. Great job of foot stomping folk tunes to get the crowd ready for a great night ahead. While these guys were good, the spotlight clearly belonged to Bon Iver.
The church setting could not have been more perfect for the angelic voices that descended upon the audience as these three men took the stage. I was a little nervous about how well the album would translate live as those voices are simply gorgeous on the recording, yet I was anything but let down. From the opening distorted guitar sounds I knew that this show was going to be something special. Everything seemed to be perfect. The harmonies were unreal, the percussion was thundering, and the guitars were filling in all the right places. I cannot think of a better sounding live show that I have ever witnessed. The guys played "For Emma" in it's entirety (albeit out of order) and never missed a beat.
Justin kept thanking the audience over and over and referred to the experience as a dream after the audience erupted in joy and applause after each number. "Skinny Love" ranks right up there with other classics as one of the best songs I have ever seen performed live (Others being "Paranoid Android" and "Hey Jude"). However the ending rendition of "For Emma" in the middle of the church sans microphones and just and acoustic guitar and those amazing vocals was directly in front of me is an experience I will not soon forget.
The show was simply breath taking. There was nothing to complain about from the brilliant sound to the absolutely quiet audience. The last time I saw people so enthralled with a performance Thom Yorke was playing the opening to "Exit Music (For a Film)". The only thing that the show made me sad about was the fact that I do not think listening to that record will ever give me the satisfaction I felt from hearing it performed live.