This was my third Joe Henry show at Largo in Los Angeles, and if you’ve ever attended one of these shows, you know they are something special – a hometown show in front of a rapt audience, including many friends and family. Saturday evening’s performances – an early acoustic solo set followed by a full band show – were no exception while also being quite exceptional. The chance to see two unique performances in one evening is rare enough; to see JH perform with some of his most trusted allies – Patrick Warren on piano, Levon Henry on sax and clarinet, Jennifer Condos on electric bass, Jay Bellerose on drums and percussive racket and Greg Leisz on acoustic guitar and lap slide guitar – is nothing short of amazing (not to mention increasingly rare due to the demand on these players’ schedules).
Naturally both sets featured many songs from the new release, Invisible Hour. JH was bristling with energy, humor and confidence during both sets, an impressive feat considering he’d played the night before in San Francisco. Largo audiences are simply the best listeners I’ve ever encountered at any venue in the United States, and I can’t really tell you anything about this show that isn’t obvious by my description so far. It was announced that Joe would sign CD’s after the show, and true to form, he sprung into the courtyard mere minutes after walking offstage to greet a sizable number of friends and fans. I said a very brief hello and goodnight, and I imagine that he was there until the early morning hours, friendly and courteous as always.
I’ve tried to recall the general setlist from my bleary-eyed memory (please send me corrections and omissions if you have any). I’ve denoted the songs as follows – *both sets, +acoustic set, ^band set:
- Eyes Out For You*
- Believer (new song described as a cross between “Amazing Grace” and “Let’s Get It On”)+
- Invisible Hour*
- Grave Angels*
- Monkey (piano)*
- Our Song (piano)+
- Lead Me On+
- After The War+
- God Only Knows (piano)+
- Progress of Love^
- All Blues Hail Mary (really awesome – probably my fave of the night)^
- You Can’t Fail Me Now^
- Every Sorrow^
- Trampoline (with 14 yr old Charlie Hickey – really beautiful)+
- Kindness of the World+
And, of course, JH and Levon are back on the road this week, starting with The Birchmere in D.C. this Tuesday. Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion will be joining him, and they are well worth catching as well.
UPDATE: Fantastic review from The Hollywood Reporter. Full setlist included in the article.