It had been way too long since we'd seen Gillian Welch. And even though both Sarah and I are in stages of flu, we sucked it up and went to see them at the Wilbur last night. Luckily we got seats this time ... great ones in the first row of the balcony.
Did the normal Theater district preludes, and got over to the balcony of the Wilbur on 11/16 almost in time for a quick nap before they came on. Gillian's partner of course, is David Rawlings and they sometimes release records and tour under the name of the Dave Rawlings Machine. Their most recent record (a few months old) is Nashville Obsolete and is another quirky masterpiece.
They're touring with Brittany Haas on fiddle, Paul Kowert on bass (two thirds of the fabulous Haas Kowert and Tice of course, though you might associate her with Crooked Still and him with Punch Brothers), and Willie Watson of Old Crow Medicine Show. Just a few incredible musicians to try to keep up with Dave and Gillian!
We really enjoyed the show, especially details such as Haas's tone and Gillian's harmonies. But I can't say we were enthusiastic concert-goers with the flu problems we were having. However, though the place was not sold out (the balcony was only a quarter full if that), the crowd response was beyond enthusiastic so that was good. Since the first time I heard a whisper of a song from Gillian I've been a massive fan and there are plenty of us. This is the good stuff!
They played most of the tunes from the two Dave Rawlings Machine records and threw in a few surprises like Lily, Rosemary and the Jack Of Hearts and Stewball. They did some of the songs I most wanted to hear, like Wayside Back In Time, Pilgrim (You Can't Go Home), Bells Of Harlem, To Be Young, their fantastic arrangement of Bill Monroe's He Will Set Your Fields On Fire, etc. And they finally did a GD song, attempting to finish with Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad.
But the crowd wouldn't let them leave and they came back out for a second encore (after three songs in the first). We took off at the last notes of The Weight, and just caught a bit of Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby as we walked out into the Fall cold. Here's the full list:
Wayside/Back in Time
To Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High)
Bells of Harlem
Keep It Clean
Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts
It's Too Easy
The Last Pharaoh
He Will Set Your Fields on Fire
Short Haired Woman Blues
Method Acting / Cortez the Killer
Queen Jane Approximately
Look at Miss Ohio
Pilgrim (You Can't Go Home)
Going Down the Road Feeling Bad
Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby
Made it back to Beacon Hill and then back to Woburn and soon to bed! Probably would have been a record time for Wilbur-to-bed if we hadn't been walking slowly up the hill.