Madison Square Garden is hallowed ground, even a Boston sports fan such as myself has to admit that. Musically, only the greats have ever been able to play there, and one of this generation’s best did that very thing two Friday’s ago. Bluegrass/Rock/Americana/whatever you want to call it band The Avett Brothers recently played a sold out show in the famed MSG and it could not have been a better experience for all parties involved, musicians and audience.
I’ve seen my fair share of Avett shows but it had been over a year and a half since my last one and I had developed a pretty serious jones to watch the boys live again. And as usual they rose to the occasion, only this time the occasion was particularly unusual.
This was by far the most high energy I have seen the Avetts play to date. They kicked off the night with the majorly up tempo “Talk on Indolence” which as usual had the audience feebly attempting to “rap” along with Scott, who never fails to impress with his skills. If this whole Americana thing doesn’t pan out the man has a very promising future in hip hop. After such a loud and fiery start, the momentum just kept on carrying until their usual break where most of the band leaves and Scott and Seth play some of their softer ballads. As usual this wasn’t until 11 songs in and the audience was already exhausted from jumping around for over an hour.
As Seth and Scott moved toward the middle of the outcrop jutting off the main stage with the spotlight on them, they were joined by the extremely talented opener, Brandi Carlile. The brothers along with Ms. Carlile proceeded to drop into a stunning version of “Murder in the City,” though not without its twists. Rather than Scott singing the entirety of the melody the song was divided up between the three, each of whom got their own verse. With the comical twist of Seth singing about how much trouble Scott got in while he was always “let go” and Brandi singing an inspiring “tell me wife I loved her make sure our daughter knows the same” the crowd got plenty of emotional bait to really let out some thunderous applause. The moving tune is always a highlight of their show and the new choices of singers for it really added another layer to an already phenomenal song and live experience.
One of the best parts of an Avett show is having very little idea of what will be played. Yes there are a standard three songs that you can expect to hear every time but no complaint here because “I and Love and You” “Murder in the City” and “Laundry Room” are all amazing ESPECIALLY live. Other than that though the setlists range from some of their first bluegrass standards to tracks off whatever their latest album is or will be. As of now the newest album is True Sadness and the band played quite a few numbers that we should expect on the summertime release. As usual the songs are practically impossible to classify into a specific genre and contain all the same amounts of self understanding and honesty. If their live performances are a sign of what’s to come this album is going to be another great musical achievement.
There isn’t much more to say really, every second of this show was a pleasure from the first note to the last bow. What really struck me was watching the artists come to realize the extent to which they made it. Standing front row to the stage afforded me the opportunity to catch the moment each band member had their big realization. Looking back at the crowd it was easy to see how those types of moments could happen, it was enormous and everyone their was on their feet from the nosebleeds to the pit. Not only did the Avetts seem genuinely thankful for the crowd coming out but it was obvious they were having an absolute blast. They were jumping around smiling and laughing, all par for the course as far as Avett shows go, but this was different I have never seen them all so jovial before, it was a real pleasure to watch.
The brothers have announced new tour date which can be found at their website here. This band puts on one of the best live shows around, they are not something to be missed. If you haven’t had the chance to go, this is your time get out there and enjoy the show!