Posted in music | pictures | tour dates on January 20, 2010

words by Kurt Christensen photos by Tim Griffin

The Swell Season

The Swell Season returned to a sold out Radio City Music Hall last night (1/19), playing a long set of new and older songs along with a few incredible covers that had the audience eating out of the palms of their hands.

Josh Ritter opened the show while the crowd was still rolling in. He played a brief six song set - three songs from his upcoming album, to be released in May, and three older songs (Rumors, Girl in the War, To the Dogs or Whoever). The crowd was appreciative, but a longer set certainly would've won over the portion of the audience unfamiliar with his music. He will return to New York to play Town Hall on May 20th (tix on AmEx Presale).

The Swell Season's set started with Glen and Marketa sitting on the floor as they played "Fallen from the Sky". After a few songs, the rest of the band, consisting of members of the Frames joined them. After another set of songs, Glen took the stage solo. He unplugged his guitar and walked away from the mic to the front of the stage to sing "Say It to Me Now". He followed up with an incredible cover of Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks", playing the guitar so powerfully that it seemed as if his battle scarred guitar was going to explode.

A Swell Season show is known just as much for Glen's storytelling between songs as it is for the music. It is rare to see a band so genuinely happy to be on stage, and humbled by the adoration they receive from the crowd. Their sets usually feature several cover songs and plenty of requests for the audience to participate in the singing. Aside from the Astral Weeks cover, they also played Springsteen's Drive all night with Clarence Clemons' nephew on sax. Two songs were dedicated to Kate McGarrigle, and the show closed with "Red Chord", a Frames song, into "The Parting Glass", a traditional Irish song made famous by The Clancy Brothers. Even after a two and a half hour set, the crowd left happy but wanting more.

The Swell Season will make another appearance tonight (1/20) at City Winery as part of their four-show Haiti benefit series. More pictures and the setlist from Radio City below...

The Swell Season

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Swell Season Radio City Music Hall - 1/19/2010 - Setlist:
Fallen From the Sky
Lies
Low Rising
Feeling the Pull
In These Arms
The Rain
The Moon
If You Want Me
Fantasy Man
Say It To Me Now
Leave
Back Broke
Astral Weeks (Van Morrison Cover)
The Court of Newton (Violin solo by Colm Mac Con Iomaire)
I Have Loved You Wrong
Drive All Night (Bruce Springsteen cover)
Go With Happiness
When Your Mind's Made Up
Encore
Falling Slowly
High Hope
High Horses
Red Chord/The Parting Glass

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Comments (20)

What a great show. Glenn's take on Astral Weeks is a complete monster. So glad he did that again. Good times.

Posted by Anonymous | January 20, 2010 12:37 PM

Drive All NIGHT! Awesome!

Posted by Anonymous | January 20, 2010 12:40 PM

Third time I've seem them... "Astral Weeks" was as awesome as it has been in the past, but I have to say I wasn't blown away by the Springsteen cover (though the sax playing was cool). Overall a great show, though.

Posted by Gwin | January 20, 2010 12:47 PM

Great setlist. Damn. Parting Glass, even. Sucks they didn't play fitzcarraldo, but the rest of the set sure made up for it, eh?

Posted by Anonymous | January 20, 2010 1:18 PM

are the Frames ever going to tour again?

Posted by Anonymous | January 20, 2010 1:19 PM

The climax in high horses was sick

Posted by Anonymous | January 20, 2010 1:33 PM

I think this was the best concert I have ever been to.

Posted by Anna | January 20, 2010 2:03 PM

anyone get a recording? im looking at you nyc taper

Posted by Anonymous | January 20, 2010 2:03 PM

Great show...would have liked a little bit more from Josh Ritter...but Swell Season was great. Loved Astral Weeks

Posted by Anonymous | January 20, 2010 2:19 PM

Epic concert. Glen is such an amazing performer. I would've loved to see Josh come out and help support Glen & team since they're both awesome and have played together before. But overall, one of the better concerts I've been to for sure.

Posted by Anonymous | January 20, 2010 2:30 PM

Before the show the whole band and Josh Ritter played outside on the sidewalk in front of Radio City. Included another Van Morrison cover.

Posted by Anonymous | January 20, 2010 2:39 PM

What time did they play outside?

Posted by The Mighty KC | January 20, 2010 3:06 PM

There were a few verses of Mic Christopher's "Heyday" thrown in between "Red Chord" and "Parting Glass."

Posted by Anonymous | January 20, 2010 9:03 PM

This was one of the best shows I've seen in my life and I've seen a lot of shows. Thank you so much for posting the set list because I couldn't remember the name "High Hopes" and it was one of my favorites of the night. I can't wait for them to put that out. "Red Chord/The Partying Glass" were are perfect ending. What a night. What a night!

Posted by Shelley Nicole | January 21, 2010 12:37 PM

saw them at beacon couple years ago when oscar discussions were brewing, and glen seemed genuinely giddy just to be among those even considered. such a down to earth dude, glad to see their continued success.

Posted by Anonymous | January 22, 2010 11:25 AM

"are the Frames ever going to tour again?"

Technically ... this is the Frames + Marketa Irglova :D

They play a couple Frames songs here and there, though, surprisingly less than they did when it was just Glen & Mar with a backing band. I do have a feeling Glen will pick his electric guitar back up and do another Frames tour soon after, though.

Posted by Jeff | January 22, 2010 3:39 PM

Posted by Kurt Christensen | January 25, 2010 6:46 PM

Awesome show. This was one of the best concerts I've ever been to. This concert has significant meaning to my boyfriend and I- the songs were very meaningful, Swell Season has a unique way of connecting to their audiences souls- or mine at least. Their set was incredible playing not only the Frame's songs, but Van Morrison and Bruce Springsteen. I loved how Glen got the audience participating singing the songs, the storytelling with such a great sense of humor and encore!Terrific experience.

Posted by KurlyKeels | January 31, 2010 9:28 PM

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