Jan 2, 2012

Fleet Foxes @ Sydney Opera House

Iconic setting. Iconic band. Well, pretty much so. For in a few short years the Foxes of the swift variety have dug a hole in our heart and are here to stay. I think it's the voices. The majestic, soaring vocals that elevate us to a different place. A place of space and grace. A glorious summer night in Sydney was spent in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall. The first of three sold out nights. Those lucky people going to nights two and three are in for an experience and a half. This was faultless.

The heavy double bass of Morgan Henderson signaled the beginning of "The Plains/Bitter Dancer" and we were instantly wrapped in their strong arms. What a start. "Mykonos" and "English House" were like old friends, kind and gentle ones that said hello and gave good company. "Battery Kinzie" was all drums and thrust, delightful in all aspects. And so it flowed. Vocals rang out, harmonies floated in air. Smiles were breaking out everywhere. Mine was a watermelon. The flutes called us to "Your Protector" and its stark beauty kicked me in the chest. Then a double punch. "White Winter Hymnal" segued with ease into "Ragged Wood". Exhilarating. But the next double was truly sublime. Most of the band cleared out and Robin Pecknold gently serenaded us with "Montezuma". "So now I am older than my mother and father when they had their daughter, now what does that say about me..." Christian Wargo and J. Tillman gave considerable support with their superb harmonies. I think this is paramount as to why this Seattle band stands out from the pack. Besides them being superb and gifted musicians it is the harmonies. Oh, the harmonies. Voices gifted and sure. Clear and precise. Emotional and direct. Be still my beating heart. Oh, where was I? Oh yes, "Montezuma" led us to "He Doesn't Know Why". Glorious. The show rolled to an ecstatic finish with the rollicking "Grown Ocean" closing with perfection. An encore was gratefully accepted. Robin played a new song solo in "I Let You". There was stunned silence in the house. Closing the night with "Helplessness Blues" was perhaps predictable, but oh so great. Great. great, great. My only small complaint of the night was the fact that even though we were in a great room with amazing acoustics I really wanted to stand up and sing out loud. Maybe I could have, but there is a dread feeling of inhibition in venues like this. It can feel a little sterile at times. Small complaint though. Early days, but could be gig of the year!

Set List
The Plains/Bitter Dancer
English House
Battery Kinzie
Bedouin Dress
Sim Sala Bim
Your Protector
White Winter Hymnal
Ragged Wood
He Doesn't Know Why
The Shrine/An Argument
Blue Spotted Tail
Grown Ocean

I Let You (Robin solo)
Sun It Rises
Blue Ridge Mountains
Helplessness Blues


  • At January 04, 2012 , Anonymous Jenn said...

    I'm holding out for Drops in the River tonight, but this looks like a great set list! They were excellent at Falls, as well - it was wonderful hearing them fill a natural ampitheatre, and the crowd responded really well - lots of singing and dancing :)

  • At January 09, 2012 , Anonymous James S said...

    Pretty much the same setlist as the Melbourne show. I loved it but it lacked the intimacy of their last appearance three years ago.

    Don't get me wrong, the sound was incredible, but at our show, it came across a little too loud and so you missed some of the finer details. I'm guessing that wouldn't have been an issue with the Opera House show I'm sure.


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