Review and Setlist: The Avett Brothers at The Fabulous Fox Theatre, 9/29/12
“Pan, who and what art thou?” he cried huskily.
“I’m youth, I’m joy,” Peter answered at a venture.
“I’m a little bird that has broken out of the egg.”
– J.M. Barrie
The last song of the night on Saturday at the Fox Theatre was “November Blue”. Following a raucous rendition of “Talk on Indolence”, which included Seth Avett chucking a tambourine into the set dressing, the Brothers gathered solemnly around a single microphone under a lone, white spotlight front and center stage and sang that slow sweet track off their 2002 debut, Country Was.
The St. Louis encore felt special to some of us, especially since we learned hours later that “Blue” wasn’t on the planned set list according to cellist Joe Kwon (you see, it had been broquested* several times throughout the show).
Did the band’s physical arrangement and performance during this encore recall, simply, their respect for traditional country music?
Or did it, after Seth waxed philosophic about the disenchantment of commercial success and Scott told us we should all head over to Off Broadway after the show, sentimentally recall the early days of The Avett Brothers, who humbly created, packaged, and distributed Country Was in their home state of North Carolina ten years ago? (Most of us know the record because it was remastered and released again in 2009, the year of the Rick Rubin-produced I, and Love, and You.)
I like to think it’s the latter.
About halfway through the main set, the namesake Avetts stepped to that front and center mark of the stage alone, and gently, heart-wrenchingly duet-ed their way through “Murder in the City”. Those who were following along might have stumbled during the third verse, wherein Scott sang, “Make sure my daughter knows I love her / Make sure my son knows the same…” This little turn of phrase always garners applause during concerts. It’s one that’s changed as the band members have started to settle down and have kids**. It’s simple; it’s genuine; it’s a sentiment that we hope our sorry asses will be able to convey to friends/family before kickin’ the bucket. It’s also a microcosm of how and why The Avett Brothers are successful in today’s market: Youth and Joy. There were some fully grown women and men dancing, singing, even crying (it was during ONE SONG you guys, and my grandpa was a Carpenter who liked to play the slots, okay?!). In short, we were acting with abandon…we were acting like kids.
And so, long after the work of modern artists who use pomp as a pillar and crassness as a crutch have faded away, there will remain The Avett Brothers’ joyful, youthful music. Little birds broken out of eggs.
Die, Die, Die
Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise
Living of Love
Will You Return?
A Father’s First Spring
Paranoia in B-flat Major
Live and Die
Murder in the City
Souls like the Wheels
I Would Be Sad
And It Spread
The Perfect Space
If It’s the Beaches
Go To Sleep
Down with the Shine
I Never Knew You
Kick Drum Heart
The Once and Future Carpenter
I And Love And You
Talk on Indolence
Shady Grove (Traditional)
Alabama Gals (/Buffalo Gals, Traditional)
*Broquested: A not-word from the word ‘requested’, meaning a song suggestion that is drunkenly screamed at a band or artist while they are on stage, often during otherwise quiet moments of a concert.
**I found that “Murder in the City” has been recorded twice, once in 2008 for The Second Gleam and again in 2010 on Live, Volume 3. The Gleam version contains the line, “Make sure my sister knows I love her / Make sure my mother knows the same”, whereas on the Live version you hear, “Make sure my daughter knows I love her / Make sure her mother knows the same”. As mentioned earlier, that line seems to have changed yet again in 2012.