Monday, November 1, 2010

A jet plane and a big idea

For a long time now, I've wanted to see a show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.  I've seen The Avett Brothers live twice, and thoroughly enjoyed both concerts.  So when the Avetts announced a pair of Halloween shows at the Ryman earlier this year, including one on Saturday night, I thought, "Hey, I should go to that."  And I did.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals opened the show, calling out a surprise guest on one song for a duet: Kenny Chesney.  I honestly wasn't sure if it really was Kenny Chesney at the time - it seems it was - but he did sound good.  Grace Potter's crew was dressed in NASCAR gear for Halloween, and Grace claimed that she and her bassist were dressed as "professionals ... not professional musicians."

The curtain closed between sets, keeping stage preparations a mystery.  In the meantime, the well-costumed crowd entertained itself by singing loudly along with "Living on a Prayer" and "Rocket Man."  Eventually, the lights dimmed and the curtain parted to reveal a suitably creepy Halloween setup.  The band, dressed as mummies, lurched onstage and hammed it up before beginning the show with fitting opener: "Die Die Die."

Judging from reports of Friday's show, the Avetts varied the setlists widely across the two nights.  I was happy to hear "In the Curve," and "SSS," even if I missed "Laundry Room."  Bob Crawford, Seth, and Scott all took solo turns on Saturday.  "Murder in the City" was the first song of the encore, with Scott sporting a new tiara along with the mummy costume - an interesting juxtaposition with the simple, heartfelt lyrics of the song.  I think I've seen "Murder in the City" each time I've seen the band, but this was the first time I heard Scott sing "my brother" and "my father" in place of "sister" and "mother." (The other two times, I think he substituted wife and daughter.  It's a versatile song.)

Two hours after the show began, it ended with Grace Potter and a couple of her band members dancing on stage with the Avetts, and Scott and Seth cutting off pieces of their mummy costumes to hand out to audience members.  I left the Ryman happy on Halloween Eve - and even returned for a backstage tour the next day before my flight home.  I'm pleased that I can check the Ryman Auditorium off my list of places to visit - and very pleased that I saw The Avett Brothers one more time in 2010.


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