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Posts Tagged ‘Civil Wars’

I made Serenity (and a few other friends) jealous last Friday when I tweeted, “So excited to see The Civil Wars in concert tonight!” I promised a review, so here it is in one word:

Stunning.

In a few more words:

The Berklee Performance Center is a lovely venue, all dark wood paneling and soaring acoustics and rows of comfy seats. (It was a packed house.) The opening act, Milo Greene, was astonishing – five musicians, four of whom sang, and all of whom (except the drummer) played “Chinese fire drill” with their instruments, handing off their guitars to one another and (in one case) sometimes picking up a tambourine. They electrified the place with their energy, and as J said, “I love bands where everybody sings.” We were both wowed and smitten, and we bought their EP after the show. (3 songs for $5. A bargain.)

And then the Civil Wars came out, and we floated away on a tide of gorgeous harmonies.

Sounds a bit dramatic, perhaps, but John Paul White and Joy Williams left us gaping at the sheer, aching beauty of their intertwined voices. They both seemed to intuit the other person’s every move – even their ad-libbing was perfectly in sync. And it was plain they were having so much fun up there – whether they were jamming out on “Barton Hollow” and “From This Valley,” winking at the audience on covers of “Billie Jean” and “Dance Me to the End of Love,” or holding out those notes of love and longing on “Poison & Wine.”

I think the best musicians know how to connect with both the audience and one another – and Joy and John Paul did that perfectly. She took the lead on the between-songs patter, teasing John Paul and flashing her dazzling smile at the audience, and he responded with deadpan comments that had us all howling with laughter. (Side note: he really does bear an uncanny resemblance to Johnny Depp.)

Even though the theatre was packed, it still felt intimate – “like a big living room,” as Joy said. A big living room full of music from two incredibly talented artists. I could have listened and laughed and clapped all night long.

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