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Gillian Welch

David Rawlings and Gillian Welch, Hoyt Sherman Auditorium, Des Moines, IA, August 12, 2007 We saw Gillian Welch Sunday night at the Hoyt Sherman theater in Des Moines. She and David Rawlings put on a outstanding show: the sound was so good there, they ditched the monitors, as she quipped, “So you can see our amazing footwork.” Acoustic as they are, they don’t really move at all—though Rawlings does bounce on his toes, it’s mostly because he has to play his guitar into the mic; they play with their eyes shut, and it’s a really intimate show because of it. I think I never realized how distinctive his guitar sounds until hearing it live; likewise, how well their voices harmonize, which is apparent but understated in studio recordings. I don’t know how often they play certain songs (I’m sure the Internet knows, if you want to look); but the set ranged widely, from “Dear Someone” to “Elvis Presley Blues” to Radiohead’s “Black Star”; they played “I’ll Fly Away,” “Big Rock Candy Mountain,” “Wichita,” “Jackson,” and ended the show with a second encore, an unmic’d “Long Black Veil.” Like the best concerts, the audience and the musicians grew enamored of each other, and everyone prospered because of that sympathy.

Welch and Rawlings, August 12, 2007

We had seats right up near the stage, but we weren’t close enough, apparently, to ward off giants, who of course got seats in front of us. If that weren’t bad enough, the one directly in front of me had big hair; I had to lean over to see anything. Although I’m generally opposed to legislating morality, there really ought to be a law to prevent giants from buying front-row tickets or otherwise crowding stages. Terribly selfish behavior that, and it ought to be punishable by death.

Finally, for me, the only good argument for moving back south is the chance to see musicians like this more often than every once in a while.



They weren’t actually as blurry in real life as they appear in the photos.

Unless you happened to be nearsighted and didn’t wear corrective lenses.

I do wish I could pull off the cowboy-boots-and-dress thing as well as Gillian does.