I got to the concert really early because the concert hall is in an area that is frequently one huge congested maze, so that if you don't give yourself some extra time, there will be a traffic jam and if you do give yourself some extra time, there will be no traffic jam and you will get there almost an hour early.
This was all right, though, because it gave me a chance to sit and watch the crowd. It was a very eclectic crowd. There were people there who looked like somebody's grandparents or great-grandparents--at least one person with a walker. There were people who were old enough to be grandparents, but still had that hippie air about them. There were young couples, and middle aged couples. There were women in fancy evening dress and some in jeans and t-shirts, and there were about a million girls with short, strapless sundresses and cowboy boots.
It's been a very long time since I have been to a concert that was anything other than classical music, and those have been few and far between. I guess the last rock concert we went to was Bob Dylan's There's a Slow Train Coming Tour, so 1979. As I was sitting in the theater waiting for the show to start, I thought, "Wait a minute, wait a minute. The reason I like music is because I like to sing. I'm going to have to sit here all night long listening to this music and I'm not going to be able to sing. (I told the woman next to me to slap me I started humming.) And another thing is that I don't like things to change. If I get used to hearing a song one way, I don't want anybody messing around with my idea of what it should sound like. I wonder if I'm going to hate this."
Well, I didn't have anything to worry about. The entire concert was great. They started off with two of my favorite songs (although if I started listing favorites it would take all night), Tear My Stillhouse Down, and Scarlet Town and then continued on with what was a very enjoyable and entertaining concert. I didn't even have to worry about change because GW sings almost every note exactly as it is on the albums. Dave Rawlings, though, is another story. You just never know where he is going to go next, but you know you will probably be glad you are there.
I chose the above picture because I wanted to show the painful-looking position that GW assumes when she isn't singing. It's like she is brooding over the guitar. The longer she plays, the lower her head goes. During Revelator, DW had a very long (maybe 10 minutes, I don't judge time well) and exceedingly wonderful guitar solo, and by the time he was finished, all you could see was her hair hanging almost to her knees. Had I been in that position, they would have had to carry me to the hospital and pry me out of it, but she just stood up and started singing.
There is a song on The Harrow and Harvest, Six White Horses, in which, I had assumed, there is someone playing spoons. I found out Tuesday that I had been wrong. The sound you hear is GW clapping and slapping her legs, which is quite entertaining to watch. There are several YouTube videos of the song, but none of them seems quite as energetic as the performance we saw. Parenthetically, people have uploaded so many videos from this tour that you could probably watch the whole thing piece by piece.
The concert includes songs from all their albums (one, Ruby from A Friend of a Friend, Dave Rawlings album), and there were several that I did not know. I had not planned on buying the two albums I didn't have, but I downloaded Hell Among the Yearlings and will probably break down and download at least some of the songs from Soul Journey.
After about three hours, GW and DR pulled out one last treat, and I think it was the best of all. It was Long Black Veil, and they sang it at the front of the stage without microphones. They sang it very slowly and quietly and it was absolutely captivating. After they finished, there was that momentary silence that comes when something has been perfect. Again, there are several videos on YouTube, but the one below, although not the greatest to watch and it is missing the first line of the song, is closest to what I heard, although of course nothing can capture the feeling in the concert hall.