He's come a long way Justin Vernon. From log cabins to small venues. The Grammys (Go Bonny Bear!) to the Sydney Opera House. Three sold out nights in fact. Tuesday night was night number three. And what a night it was. Spectacular. Amazing. Sublime.
It takes a lot of talent to write great songs. It takes even more talent to have those songs explode to life on stage. With grace, excitement and extreme joy. Bon Iver did that with ease. A band that now comprises nine members, their sound is explosive, expansive and sometimes extraordinary. There is however still room for subtlety and grace. Bon Iver have grown from small semi acoustic numbers to an all encompassing sound. The stage was awash with instruments. Violin, guitars, horns and two drummers! They were all great but special mention should go to master saxophonist Colin Stetson. The Montreal native is a massive talent and he is a special addition to the band. As mentioned, they managed to swing from bombastic to delicate with ease. It was certainly bombastic with the opening number. "Perth" assaulted the senses and was accompanied by a stellar light show. In fact the lighting and the sound was great through out the night, enabling the band to show off the intricate arrangements that they have surely practised for quite a while. Basically every song was a stand out on a night as good as this, but here are a few of the extra special moments. "Holocene" was breath takingly good, one of those moments when you just wish time would stand still. "Baby Breath" was a welcome addition to the set, a quiet beauty of a song. The opening piano line of "Wash." was just sublime, whilst "Blood Bank" was ferocious and wondrous, a moment where the band rocked out with full and total effect. We also lapped up the moment when the band departed the stage and left Justin to serenade us on acoustic with "Re: Stacks". His voice carries so much drama and pure soul. Of course "Calgary" was great and "Skinny Love" received a huge cheer when it closed the set. After a huge standing ovation we were treated to a possibly predicted encore "The Wolves" and "For Emma". Both great in their own right and a special way to finish the night. The music of Bon Iver has obviously connected with audiences world wide in a big way. The music is grandiose and yet still personal. It contains sweeping statements and grand gestures. On a night like last night it's very hard not to get caught up in it.
The Wolves (Act I And II)