The Avett Brothers helped roll-in the Santa Barbara Bowl’s 2018 season on Sunday, March 25th, with a souled-out show that showed again why they are one of the best live bands extant, managing in the process to even transcend their outstanding recordings. In only their second appearance at our Bowl, and without an opening act, the band stormed onto the stage and strummed their
Throughout their 2-1/4 hour set the Avetts drove an emotional rollercoaster between frenzy and quietus, opening at full-tilt with the gospel-tinged “Satan Pulls The Strings” and the adoring, multi-generational crowd thumping along, and then downshifting into the winsome waltz of “Down With The Shine.” The multi-instrumentalist brothers, Scott and Seth Avett, together with bassist Bob Crawford and cellist Joe Kwon and concerted accomplices Mike Marsh (drums), Paul Defiglia (keyboards) and Tania Elizabeth (violin), would then roll through a 24-song set list that naturally featured songs from their 2016 album “True Sadness,” but also spanned most of their discography.
Highlights included crowd-favorite “Head Full of Doubt, Road Full of Promise” during which Scott (
Some rarer (but worthy) songs showed up, including “Part From Me,” “Salina” (near and dear to Midwesterners’ hearts), aficionado-favorite “February 7,” and “Backwards In Time.” But two cover-songs struck particular gold this night. The Avetts cover others’ songs as well as anyone, and their take on “Just Be Simple” by the late, great Jason Molina (Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co.) was stunningly heart-rending with only Scott swaying solo on piano. And then they sucked the crowd in with the
More highlights followed, including a particularly delicate take on “I Wish I Was,” with only Seth and Scott gathered around a single mic, singing of love and longing. During the
The poignant deep-cut, “If It’s The Beaches,” closed out the main set with Seth displaying his classical guitar acumen while interlaced with Joe Kwon’s deft cello.
Check out all the show photos by Santa Barbara Bowl House Photographer, A Arthur Fisher, on our photo library.
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