This “Machine” Was Well-Oiled!
I eagerly anticipated this show by Dave Rawlings Machine at The Wilbur Theatre! Several friends introduced me to his music several years ago and I was instantly smitten. Finally, there was a show in the Boston area and it beckoned me!
Surprisingly, this show was not sold out but that did not diminish the energy in the theatre this night.
Everyone with whom I spoke was more than excited about this show. It had been a number of years since Rawlings played in Boston and he was missed!
The stage set was minimalist, with a rug, five mic stands, a table and a speaker on a chair. All the instruments except the acoustic bass were amplified by only a directional mic which made the sound extremely clean. I was standing up against the stage (at this venue, the orchestra tables are sometimes removed for open standing) and heard a lot of the music directly from the instruments which is always a pleasure.
The Machine as it is comprised for this tour is Rawlings on guitar, banjo and lead vocals; Gillian Welch on guitar and vocals; Willie Watson on guitar, banjo, fiddle, and vocals; Brittany Haas on fiddle; and Paul Kowert on bass and vocals. What a powerhouse quintet! I am a huge fan of them all individually, but together they are a force with which to be reckoned!
The set list included songs from both Rawlings’ new release, Nashville Obsolete, as well as his début album, as well as covers. Rawlings is a huge fan of Bob Dylan’s music, and that was evident in his careful renderings of ‘Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts’ and ‘Queen Jane Approximately’. The former lasted about twenty minutes!
Welch, Watson, and Kowert each had the chance to sing at least one lead. Welch sang two of her songs. Watson led the audience in a crowd participation favorite of his, the traditional ‘Stewball’. It certainly sounded as if everyone sang heartily!
Rawlings, though, is – simply put – amazing! His voice, his songwriting, his guitar licks… He smiled broadly throughout the show, clearly reveling in the adoration heaped upon him (not in an egotistic way, however – he looked almost endearingly embarrassed by it at times).
A testament to his talent was the number of Boston-based singer-songwriter-guitarists who were in the audience, most standing very close to me! I sense that was one reason the crowd was mostly extremely well-behaved. At one point, however, Welch admonished someone standing at the stage, saying ‘you know, we can hear you up here so be quiet.’ Good for her!
They ended the show with a couple of encores, and the last song (the traditional ‘Don’t Leave Nobody But the Baby’) was beautifully performed a cappella around a Grand Ole Opry-style mic (unfortunately, no photos of this as I could shoot only the second and third songs). It was an extraordinary finale to a magical evening!
Courtesy of a friend, here is the set list:
Wayside/Back in Time (Gillian Welch cover)
To Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High) (Ryan Adams cover)
Bells of Harlem
Keep It Clean (Charley Jordan cover)
Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts (Bob Dylan cover)
It’s Too Easy
The Last Pharaoh
He Will Set Your Fields on Fire (Bill Monroe cover)
Short-Haired Woman Blues
Stewball ([traditional] cover)
Method Acting / Cortez the Killer
Queen Jane Approximately (Bob Dylan cover)
Look at Miss Ohio (Gillian Welch cover)
Pilgrim (You Can’t Go Home)
Going Down the Road Feeling Bad (Henry Whitter cover)
The Weight (The Band cover)
Didn’t Leave Nobody But the Baby ([traditional] cover)
Thanks to Dave Rawlings Machine for the tickets; all opinions are my own.
Posted on November 23, 2015, in concert photos, concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged Americana music, boston, Brittany Haas, concert photos, concert review, Dave Rawlings, Dave Rawlings Machine, Gillian Welch, music, Paul Kowert, Wilbur Theatre, Willie Watson. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.