Jan 4, 2010

Andrew Bird @ Sydney Opera House

Having seen Andrew Bird live five times in the last three years, I wasn't sure if I would surprised by a new performance. Sure, I knew it would be good, but you know. Familiarity. But Andrew Bird is no ordinary performer. He is a consummate one. He keeps all his shows fresh and interesting by giving new arrangements to many of his songs and always giving the audience a diverse and intriguing set list. So 2010 kicked off in spectacular fashion Sunday night at the iconic Sydney Opera House. For close to two hours Bird dazzled and delighted a very appreciative audience.

This performance was different for a couple of reasons though. Andrew Bird recently injured his right foot. Meaning he was unable to do his customary looping through out the show. He actually entered the stage on crutches and remained seated for much of the night. He also has three people in his band now. Which meant that it was them that were fleshing out the songs and not Bird doing it all by himself as he usually does. So, even though I missed the intricate looping that makes watching a Bird show unique the band actually added extra layers to each song. Of course Martin Dosh on drums is an instinctive and tactile drummer, but Mike Lewis on bass and Jeremy Ylvisaker on guitar were excellent as well. To begin with Bird was solo, giving us a long instrumental intro to begin with and then a sublime rendition of "The Happy Birthday Song". In these songs Bird was looping with hands, giving us a taste that I guess would have been difficult to sustain through out the night. As said, it was a diverse set list. With "Sweetbreads" being an early delight. It was actually a combination of that earlier recorded song and the more recent "Dark Matter" as he explained with his usual off kilter wit. It was great to hear "Opposite Day" as well half way through the set. He gave us a new tune as well in the shape of "The Lusitania" which he described as an attempt to weld the event that brought the USA into World War One onto a failed personal relationship. Of course the wonderful "A Nervous Tic Motion Of The Head To The Left" was very well received, but it was the sublime "Armchairs" that gave me the idea that I was at a special performance tonight. To follow with "Tables and Chairs" (my girl wished for this), was the icing on the cake. I think we would have all been content at this point. Totally satisfied. But Bird returned and gave us a cover in "Some of These Days". He was joined for this song, off mic, by his two guitarists who sung beautifully to give us all a thrill. But it got better. Bird was left alone to give us a Dylan cover followed by his classic song in "Weather Systems", which finished off the night with great splendour. Thanks to an inventive mind, great arrangements and a supreme talent, it was a night to remember. A great reminder of just how unique a performer Andrew Bird is. 2010 was off to a great start.

Set List
The Happy Birthday Song
Sweetbreads (Dark Matter)
Natural Disaster
Opposite Day
Oh No
The Lusitania
Sectionate City
A Nervous Tic Motion Of The Head To The Left
Capital I
Scythian Empires
Tables And Chairs

Some Of These Days (Charley Patton cover)
Oh Sister (Bob Dylan cover)
Weather Systems


  • At January 04, 2010 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I got chills all throughout the show. He is absolutely, gob-smackingly and entirely amazing. I would pay double, even triple, of what I originally paid to see him again.

  • At January 04, 2010 , Anonymous jess said...

    Brilliant as usual and the Opera House was the perfect setting.
    I loved that the setlist was a mixture of his entire back catalogue... but no Fake Palindromes again! :(

  • At January 04, 2010 , Anonymous Karen said...

    I was really hoping for Fake Palindromes too Jess - I think it would sound amazing with the band! But I got Tables and Chairs so I was happy :)

  • At January 07, 2010 , Anonymous jess said...

    Karen: Tables and Chairs is a fave of mine too. Snacks are always welcome! ;)

  • At January 10, 2010 , Blogger scott_sea said...

    Like Grizzly Bear Andrew is at Southbound Festival this weekend, but unlike Grizzly Bear he did not play a Perth sideshow. Would of been a great double headliner if you ask me...

  • At April 27, 2010 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    It will be great to watch Bob Dylan,i have bought tickets from TicketFront.com looking forward to it.


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