Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Iron and Wine – Paradiso , 27 January 2018

What better way to start the musical year than with Iron and Wine, live on the Paradiso main stage.

Back in 2011 I placed them as my second favourite show of the year, only behind The Avett Brothers and just as I noted back then, even as the first show of the year, the hauntingly beautiful folk-pop melodies of Sam Beam are going to be tough to beat all year long.

They started off the night exactly where they finished the show last time around, opening with crowd favourite, The Trapeze Swinger followed by Monkey’s Uptown from Kiss Each Other Clean.  

After two such well-known songs they then moved into three songs from their sixth and most recent studio album Beast Epic. Overall they would play 6 songs from the new album, which was about one third of the show. The songs went down well with the crowd, partly on the back of the new albums strength but also based on the crowd engagement with Sam.

The softly spoken South Carolina native uses his persistent politeness and easy laugh to interact with the fans between most songs. You get the feeling he could almost play anything he wanted and the people would listen, as long as it came with a bit of story and involved his gentle guitar picking and smooth vocals.

Epic Beast is a return to earlier sounds for the band, more fragile, unplugged, clearer vocals. And the remainder of the set tended to be songs that fitted that sounds, with a couple of songs from each of the earlier albums but no more from the louder, more electronic Kiss Each Other Clean.

The highlight of the night for me came from the final song before the encore, when to our very happy surprise they played Love and Some Verses.

This was the bridal waltz at our wedding and one of ‘our songs’ but the band very rarely play it any more so we did not have high hopes of hearing it on the night. It was a beautiful version, slowed down and a little quitter than the album version and we really enjoyed it.

They finished the night with Grass Widows, which I thought was a bit of a strange choice for a single song encore. Especially considering they could have gone with Such Great Heights, Woman King or Tree by the River all of which did makes the set-list tonight.

Perhaps the standard Saturday Night Paradiso Dance Party was demanding a tight finish and this was the best they could do.

Nevertheless it was a fantastic show and once again Iron and Wine have set the bar high for live shows in 2018.

Photos courtesy of Bibian Bingen @ Paradiso Amsterdam

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