Posted in music on September 22, 2012
by Andrew Sacher
Bon Iver at Radio City - 9/21/12 (via BrooklynVegan Instagram)
"Cool!" exclaimed Justin Vernon, as 6,000 or so people tremendously applauded for the third (9/21) of four Bon Iver shows at Radio City, in the same awkwardly humble manner he said, "sweet hookup," when he won Best New Artist at the 2011 Grammys. As massive as Bon Iver continues to get, Justin's sense of modesty never seems to fade. He even still prefaces "The Wolves" with asking the crowd to join in on "what might've been lost" (I think by now it's safe to assume they would regardless). I guess it's what they say: you can take the boy out of the abandoned cabin the woods, but you can't take the abandoned cabin the woods out of the boy. (They say that, right?)
From the opening notes of "Perth," the band's atmospheres took over Radio City, and in typical Bon Iver fashion, their command over the audience didn't let up once throughout the show. Their pre-encore set included all of 2011's excellent Bon Iver, Bon Iver, with the only For Emma, Forever Ago song being "Creature Fear" (whose reworked live version fits best with the newer material), and the rest of that album's inclusions were saved for the encore. My personal highlight of the show was "Woods," the only song of the set I've never personally seen them perform before (and not a song they play often). Justin performed the song solo with just a mic and vocal manipulations. And like James Blake, who is perhaps most directly influenced by "Woods" than any other Bon Iver song, Justin did a pretty great job of keeping the room dead silent on those pauses, save for a few "woohoos!" here and there.
In this fast moving internet world, excitement for bands tends to rise and fall pretty quickly, and if it's been a while since they've released anything, tour announcements will inspire comments like "people still listen to this band?" We need constant reminders that a band is good, create absurd expectations for most of them, and will jump at any opportunity to decide an artist we love isn't good anymore. When Bon Iver decide to stroll through NYC for four Radio City shows over a year after their initial Bon Iver, Bon Iver tour brought them here, they continue to show that they don't fit this formula. The excitement felt throughout their entire show parallels that of the one felt upon first discovering their music.
Bon Iver's final night of the Radio City run is tonight (9/22) with Polica opening. (Folk singer Doug Paisley opened last night.) Tickets for tonight's show are still available. If you missed last night's show, did you stream it online? If you missed that stream, it will rebroadcast for 48 hours, starting this Monday (9/24) at the Bowery Presents Youtube channel. In the meantime, some fan-filmed videos and the setlist from last night's show are below...
Bon Iver - "Skinny Love" at Radio City - 9/21/12
Bon Iver - "Creature Fear" at Radio City - 9/21/12
Bon Iver - "The Wolves (Act I and II)" at Radio City - 9/21/12
Bon Iver - "Holocene" at Radio City - 9/21/12
Bon Iver - "Woods" at Radio City - 9/21/12
Bon Iver at Radio City - 9/21/12 Setlist:
The Wolves (Act I and II)