Justin Vernon’s voice is like a symphony in and of itself; put 8 talented musicians behind that voice playing everything from the saxophone to the electric guitar and you have what I consider a musical masterpiece. I usually prefer artists whose vocals are easy to understand (so that I can add my own lovely rendition along with them). Bon Iver is an exception. His lyrics are fragmented and difficult to pull meaning from even when I do read them from my digital booklet. My mother-in-law was convinced that the song “Holocene” included the phrase “shake and bake and stick with her.” (sorry Jean, I found out it is “jagged vacance, thick with ice” but I still hear your lyrics when I listen)
Back to the actual show. A couple months ago Tim read early one morning that tickets were going on sale that day and he raced through downtown Chicago on his bike to buy us tickets on his lunch break which sold out later that day (superhero husband, eh?).
They mostly played through their self titled album Bon Iver. You can listen to it here. However, a definite highlight of the show was their one and only cover song. No, sadly it was not Bonnie Raitt, but he covered Bjork’s “Who is it?” We’d never heard her version before, but we’re pretty sure he played it better than she did, including adding in a beatbox/clarinet duet (uh huh).
The encore included “Skinny Love” much like their version on The Colbert Report last month and if you haven’t seen it, you should definitely stop reading and click here. They ended the show with Beth/Rest which to me is reminiscent of some early 90’s sounds… I’ll let that be good or bad for you.
Chicago was Bon Iver’s 2nd stop on a their new tour. Their first stop was in their home state of Wisconsin where Milwaukee declared it Bon Iver Day. If you don’t know the history here is a little: Justin Vernon wrote Bon Iver’s first album in a cabin in the winter in northwestern WI while sick with mono right after a break-up. Sounds made up, doesn’t it? The first album is titled “For Emma, Forever Ago” and we both had a good laugh at the show when we saw a girl whose white V-neck shirt had “Screw Emma” scribbled across it in black.
Well, Emma, whoever you are, thank you for helping bring great music into our lives.
Friends, check out the tour dates and we hope you get to enjoy Bon Iver live as well.