The reopening of NYC's now-renovated Webster Hall has been accompanied by a pretty spectacular run of shows, including night one with Jay-Z and two nights each of Rosalía and Patti Smith. That run continued on Saturday night (5/4) with a sold out show from Sharon Van Etten. It was a slightly bittersweet night for Sharon, as she said from the stage: after 15 years, it was her last New York show as a New Yorker. As previously discussed, she is moving with her new child (and his father) to LA.
She expressed from stage that she never thought she'd be headlining Webster Hall, but nobody deserves it more. It's been amazing to follow her growing career for so long. Her career trajectory -- full of great albums -- has taken her from playing little shows at clubs all over town (like the 2008 BrooklynVegan CMJ set upstairs in the tiny room in tiny Pianos), to the very special moment that was headlining and selling out Bowery Ballroom for the first time, to this year selling out out the very large Beacon Theatre in February, before announcing and instantly selling out Webster Hall. She paid tribute to some of the NYC venues that played a part in her time in the city in the moving video for "Seventeen," where show spaces past and present, including Pianos, Zebulon, Union Pool, Baby’s All Right, Sin-é, and Cake Shop, all get a shout-out. It's fitting that she closed this chapter of her life at another renowned NYC venue. Webster Hall just had some new life breathed back into it through its renovation, and Sharon has embarked not only on moving, but on a new musical direction with Remind Me Tomorrow and a new stage of life: motherhood.
Remind Me Tomorrow's synth-driven departure from Sharon's more folky older material finds her able to embrace her role as frontwoman more than ever, dancing and moving around on stage. She and her band sounded incredible as they played every song from the new album and a few older favorites, as well. She was almost all business, moving from one song to the next with barely a pause. I did find myself missing her sometimes rambling but always delightful between-song banter I've gotten used to, but given the video rigs set up in the crowd and on stage, it's possible we may see footage from this show released in some form, and that contributed to less banter.
Sharon's secret weapon on stage may be Heather Woods Broderick, who Sharon referred to as "my Emmylou" when introducing the band. Her backing vocals really make the gorgeous harmonies in the songs stand out, and her opening set of haunting, atmospheric folk songs from her excellent new album Invitation opened the night perfectly (and should hopefully inspire some of those unfamiliar with her solo work to give the album a listen).
There are two more chances to catch Sharon in the NYC area coming up: at Forest Hills Stadium for the "ALT 92.3 Summer Open" on June 22 (tickets), and in Asbury Park for Sea.Here.Now, which is sold out except for super-VIP and resale options.
Check out pictures from Saturday night's show in the gallery above, and video clips, and Sharon's setlist, below.
Setlist: Sharon Van Etten @ Webster Hall, 5/4/2019
No One's Easy to Love
Black Boys on Mopeds (Sinéad O’Connor)
Seventeen (with Norah Jones)
Every Time the Sun Comes Up
I Told You Everything