I doubt I’m going to be able to sleep tonight. It’s more than obvious that Bon Iver is more than just a band. More than just an outlet for Justin Vernon heartbreaks and self-exploration.
Strictly speaking, in the past 12 months I’d say some of the freshest live acts I’ve seen had to be Sufjan Stevens and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. I’ve seen hundreds of bands but they’ve managed to surprise me, not subtly, but in my face surprise me. I personally didn’t make it down to Coachella to catch the post-Taylor Swift-incident Yeezy comeback performance (stayed behind to catch the Animal Collective gig), but I still got goosebumps just watching the YouTube stream of the set. And I knew it was MUSIC history when Justin Vernon was laying down the eerie auto-tune. Kanye was just losing himself in Vernons’ vocals, channeling into the memory of his mother, all the while a brigade of ballerinas were swaying and dancing in a ritual like fashion to the heavy beats. Ya its true, I hate my buddy for being there first hand for ‘Lost in the World’. I’d doubt that performance can ever be topped. And with same expectation I walked into the Greek Theatre in Berkeley last night, and I was humbled. Yes, Bon Iver has accomplished a lot in the indie scene, he’s sold more than 100k albums in the first week of release, pretty impressive this day in age. The people who complained the Greek was too big of a venue for the show didn’t take that into account when his tour was announced. And of course it ended up selling out, and I can’t think of another worthy venue for the epicness that went down. Playing all the goodies (alright alright he didn’t play Woods), changing up the setlist from stop to stop, with a full band behind him. From synthed keys to dropping down some beats, booming drums and some slow clean solos on a Les Paul. The brass instruments really went well with the fog machines which syched me out during the show, I had forgotten about them and I had thought it was just the Bay area fog that had rolled in. My favorite songs of the night had to be Holocene, Beth/Rest, The Wolves (Act I and II). They were the last 3 songs before the encore and at least for me that was like the end of the show, I was satisfied and the encore was just bonus action.
Sonic Ambulance’s Siren counts are off the scale for this show. 5 outta 5 ain’t enough. This whole week has been filled with anticipation. A friend caught Bon Iver headlining for Fleet Foxes and the Walkmen, and then Bon Iver is on CNN on Monday and it’s just the same old thing like on the Colbert Report, people just keep talking about his first album and being out in the cabin. He’s been a good sport and talked about his experience, but please, somebody acknowledge that something new, fresh, crisp is going down. SPIN magazine got it right when they said, “Kanye’s Bud gets lit up.”
For more pictures visit our imgur: http://sonicambulance.imgur.com/bon_iver__berkeley