November 24, 2010

Joanna Newsom played Carnegie Hall

As soon as Joanna Newsom scampered on stage with excitement about playing New York's pristine concert hall, it was clear it was going to be a special evening. Newsom's sprawling epics of grand stature sounded perhaps more at home in Carnegie Hall than any other venue she has played. Her heavenly whimsical lyrics and harp plucking were sometimes met with thunderous percussion and twisted guitar work that added brilliant complexity to her songs. Old favorites "Inflammatory Writ" and "Peach, Plum, Pear" were given new arrangements to fit the mood of her more recent record, the lavish Have One On Me. The evening was spent switching between the piano and harp which required extra tuning and allowed Joanna to be her chatty self and poke fun with her band mates. Even the dare I say simple songs (at least in comparison) off Milk Eyed Mender sounded rich and full and were played with such precision as little snaps and clicks from the drums were placed perfectly among blasting trombone and distinguished harmonies. Invigorating applause was given after the mesmerizing opener "Bridges and Balloon" and both tracks off of the (in my opinion) flawless Ys, however new tracks "Good Intentions Paving Company" and "Go Long" featured stunning and elegant vocal work against tight-knit song structures. For the encore the ensemble returned for a tremendous rendition of the rare "Colleen" adding the final touch to an exquisite evening.

Bridges and Balloons
Have One On Me
In California
Inflammatory Writ
Go Long
Good Intentions Paving Company
Peach, Plum, Pear

*photo from Brooklyn Vegan

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Uggh, I had a buddy who was totally down for a renegade mission to NYC for that show and we both just dropped the ball! Such a shame! That set list sounds pretty similar to the one I heard in London last May, though I don't believe she played 'Colleen,' I would have given anything to hear 'Sawdust and Diamonds.' annnd your totally right, 'Ys' is pretty much perfect.