by Andrew Sacher

Joanna Newsom @ Kings Theatre - 12/7/15 (photo via @kimberleigh_rc)
Joanna Newsom

Joanna Newsom began the North American leg of her tour in Boston on Sunday, and then hit Brooklyn's Kings Theatre last night (12/7) for her first NYC show since playing Carnegie Hall in 2010. It was my first time at the venue, which was renovated and re-opened earlier this year after closing in 1977. It's a gorgeous theater inside and out, and it was even more visually appealing for Joanna's set, as she was performing in front of a giant painted canvas that somewhat resembled the cover of her new album Divers. (Heads up for future first timers though: It's a very long line to get in because of security, which I didn't realize and missed most of Alela Diane & Ryan Francesconi's opening set. The tiny bit I did hear sounded good though.)

We got most of the Divers songs, and Joanna and her band -- which included Ryan Francesconi (pulling double duty after his opening set), Mirabai Peart and Pete Newsom -- mixed in an excellent selection of older ones: "Bridges and Balloons," "Emily," "Have One On Me," "Peach, Plum, Pear," "Cosmia" and more. My immediate reaction to Divers was that it wasn't as instantly overwhelming as her last three albums, but over time these songs soak in. In the live setting last night, they not only fit perfectly with all of her other material, they often highlighted the set. Sandwiched in between two of her most massive songs to date ("Emily" and "Have One On Me"), "Waltz of the 101st Lightborne" had the same show-stopping effect as those songs, with Ryan and Mirabi's guitar and violin flourishes popping out as much as Joanna's own presence.

Divers' lengthy title track was another show-stopper, but in the opposite way. It was one of the night's quieter songs, and had the crowd in a silent trance the whole time. The crowd was like that the whole show, really. If someone near you so much as coughed or shifted in their seat, you could hear them during Joanna's quiet parts. One thing Joanna has always known how to do is end an album, and her live shows are no different. The best moment for me was when she brought Ys closer "Cosmia" into the last pre-encore song of the night, Divers closer "Time, As A Symptom." It's the closest she comes to "anthemic" on the new album (and maybe ever?), and seeing Joanna and Mirabai belt out those chorus harmonies together last night was a truly powerful moment.

The encore began with Joanna returning on her own for "Sawdust & Diamonds" and then the band came back out to wrap up the show with "Baby Birch." Last night's show was sold out, but you can still get tickets for their next NYC show: Friday (12/11) at The Apollo. Like last night, Alela Diane & Ryan Francesconi open.

Setlist from Kings Theatre and a couple more pictures, with updated tour dates, below...


Joanna Newsom

Joanna Newsom @ Kings Theatre - 12/17/15 Setlist (via)
Bridges and Balloons
Soft as Chalk
Waltz of the 101st Lightborne
Have One on Me
Peach, Plum, Pear
Goose Eggs
Leaving the City
Time, As a Symptom

Sawdust & Diamonds
Baby Birch


Joanna Newsom -- 2015/2016 Tour Dates
Wed. Dec. 9 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer* -- SOLD OUT
Thu. Dec. 10 - Washington, DC @ Lincoln Theatre* -- SOLD OUT
Fri. Dec. 11 - New York, NY @ Apollo Theatre*
Sat. Dec. 12 - Munhall, PA @ Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall*
Sun. Dec. 13 - Buffalo, NY @ Asbury Hall @ Babeville*
Mon. Dec. 14 - Toronto, ON @ Queen Elizabeth Theatre* -- SOLD OUT
Tue. Dec. 15 - Royal Oak, MI @ Royal Oak Music Theatre*
Wed. Dec. 16 - Chicago, IL @ Chicago Theatre*
Thu. Dec. 17 - St. Paul, MN @ The Fitzgerald Theater* -- SOLD OUT
Fri. Dec. 18 - Madison, WI @ Orpheum Theatre*
Tue. Jan. 19 - Melbourne, AU @ Hamer Hall
Thu. Jan. 21 - Sydney, AU @ Sydney Opera House
Sat. Jan. 23 - Brisbane, AU @ Concert Hall, QPAC
Tue. Jan. 26 - Osaka, JP @ Osaka Club
Wed. Jan. 27 - Tokyo, JP @ Christ Shinagawa Church Gloria Chapel
Thu. Jan. 28 - Tokyo, JP @ Christ Shinagawa Church Gloria Chapel
Sat. March 26 - Los Angeles, CA @ Orpheum Theatre
Sun. March 27 - Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
Mon. March 28 - Portland, OR @ Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
Tue. March 29 - Seattle, WA @ Paramount Theatre
Wed. March 30 - Vancouver, BC @ Vogue Theatre
Thu. March 31 - Spokane, WA @ Bing Crosby Theater
Fri. April 1 - Boise, ID @ Egyptian Theatre
Sat. April 2 - Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot
Sun. April 3 - Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theater

* = with Alela Diane & Ryan Francesconi

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