Glen Hansard played the Fillmore, San Francisco on 10/6/12, the final concert of the American leg of his Rhythm and Repose tour.
Getting there, honestly, with joy and friendship
Glen Hansard and his big band of brilliant musicians Colm Mac Con Iomaire (violin), Joe Doyle (bass), Rob Bochnik (guitar), Graham Hopkins (drums), Justin Carroll (keyboard), Steven Bernstein, Erik Lawrence, Curtis Fowlkes, (Helm’s brass), and Andra Makulans (violin) and Teddy Rankin Parker (cello) finished their American tour in The Fillmore in San Francisco on Saturday 6th Oct 2012. I had made my way there via Southwest and Amtrack to bear witness.
If the opening concert of the tour in Los Angeles back on 6/20/12 was about healing, then the 3 1/2 month transcontinental musical medicine tour showed its results in the Fillmore in San Francisco in the form of an extremely lively and happy group. The moon may have been waning but the energy of the group was full. At the end of the Wiltern concert I wrote that I would love to see this group again at the end of the tour to see how the sound would evolve. I discovered that it had become loud and brash and bold and free and confident. This parting was all about having fun. You could see them relaxed and truly enjoying it all. They are happy in their own skin and it fits well and sounds great.
I got a Southwest flight from LA to
San José to the Amtrack station
to San Francisco and walked to the Fairmont Hotel.
Yeah I stayed there and yeah, it’s definitely a step up from my usual Motel 6. Friday was for walking the town and the noise of the planes practicing for the air show scared me. Saturday was for sightseeing from Coit Tower. The murals inside were impressive and outside
Columbus spied a Stealth Bomber. I ‘Oo’ed and ‘Aw’ed like everyone and it took a tweet from Ireland to pull me back to reality. When I posted a picture of the Blue Angels one person asked if I meant Angels of Death. That shook me. Yes, it’s true. These machines are instruments of death and they scare and maim and kill people in foreign lands but a whole crowd forgot that as a show distracted us all. I was a victim of mass deception. Duly humbled I went back to the hotel to recover from what had just happened via 400 steps down
and lots of hills up. From there on top of Nob Hill I hailed a taxi and was surprised when the doorman did not know where the Fillmore was. He suggested that maybe we were looking for Fillmore tailoring. Oops. The taxi driver did know the way, thankfully. His dog Helen sat in the passenger seat and we shared dog stories. Mine was about how my dog bit my daughter’s first bad-news boyfriend and I rewarded him with raw steak.
Here’s how Glen and the gang got there: http://instagram.com/p/QdAHMqjUCl/
The excitement was building in the taxi as I approached The Fillmore as this was the reason for the trip. I was surprised by the venue. It is much smaller than the Wiltern in LA where this journey had begun. Taco Bell beside it stood out more at that time of night. In line a charming inebriated gentleman with a boom box taught me some local lingo and some moves so I could ‘Get with it’ and do a funny wiggle finger greeting (Thank you, sir!). I saw Graham (drummer extraordinaire) unload equipment into the building. People in line were happy.
Inside it was dark and two rows of chandelier lights dimly lit up the place. This instragram is by Graham http://instagram.com/p/QdxtvLjUG0/
My guy chose a spot for us next to the trash cans. Another oops. At least I could rest my back against the wall.
The Lost Brothers
They opened the show. These two Irish guys have talent, good guitar skills, lovely harmonies and songs of loss and leaving (sometimes fatally).
Their set was mellow and melodious and well done. Glen, and some of the guys joined them for ‘I Shall Be Released’. Check them out: http://thelostbrothersband.com/
The Lost Brothers’ Set list
1. By the Pale Moon
2. Won’t Help Me Change My Ways
3. Sendin’ Me Off To Sleep
4. Now that the Night Has Come
5. In Spite of Being Blue
6. Angry at the Sun
7. Song For Levon Helm with Brass section and Graham on drums
8. Moon River (for Andy Williams)
9. City of the Rose
10. The Goodbye Kid (very good)
11 Under the Turquoise Sky with fiddle and cello
At least, that’s as much as I could make out.
Then on came Glen!
GLEN HANSARD & Company
Honesty: wise words
Glen likes to talk and it’s guaranteed to make you smile (yeah, I have Eddie Vedder’s song in my head now 😉 ). The best message from this concert was the honesty of the declaration that we do not stop loving people. That is true. I have not heard anyone state it so clearly and openly in public before. The fact that we are with someone does not mean we stop loving people we loved before. We may not sleep with them or even want to but the love does not die. Thanks, Glen.
Glen’s words of encouragement for the non-Romney side were welcome too. I’m a little more cynical or idealistic or both. I’d like a democracy that isn’t bought and wonder why no one has heard of the Green Party candidate Jill Stein. No I don’t wonder, I know why. But I greatly appreciate that Glen loves the country and its people and basic rights enough to care to lend support to Not Romney in public.
The Fillmore seemed full. It filled up quietly and casually. It’s a San Francisco vibe I guess. This is a city of strange smoke and that was mentioned a few times from the stage. It may have been part of the mellow atmosphere. Before it was called San Francisco this town was called Yerba Buena (good herb). There was a heady aromatic smell around the city when I walked around it on Friday and some was from the original wild plant that gave it that name and in other parts the scent came from an abundance of people smoking plants.
The joy got raucous at times. There was a bar at the side right behind me and some people had a little too much to drink. Occasionally they became loud. I’m conflicted on shout outs. I understand the ‘Up Donegal’ cries that are really a cry of longing to be home again but it does get a bit much sometimes. Glen handled it well.
Then the boys settled in to play and the night was full of joy. The guy in front of me only knew Low Rising and was delighted when they played it. He had a good time. I was glad I was there to see it all. I passed a note of praise and thanks in Irish on to Colm Mac Con Iomaire (truly brilliant fiddle player) and, bless his heart, he answered at 4:20am. They must have gotten back to their hotel then.
We got a lovely poster on the way out
and saw some photos on the walls of the greats who had played there as we made our way down the stairs. So, I would have been really happy with that but didn’t know that the next day was going to be even better. Read about it here: https://ancroiait.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/65-glen-hansard-hardly-strictly-bluegrass/
I got to see Vicky & Bob (Glen’s biggest fans) at the end of the night. They spotted me on the way out. Lookin’ good, guys! Missmizz (a Swell Season site regular) was there too but I didn’t get to see her. The last time, in LA, I wrote about how the band has grown and it’s not necessary but who cares. That’s still true. It felt like a group of good friends hangin’ out on stage and they played together real well. During Fitzcarraldo (THANK YOU!) I found myself longing for Marketa’s piano part and for a more sparse treatment. John Carney was right. This was all brilliant and fun but it is even more magical when Glen holds back a bit.
Nothing in the world would have made me deny him his joy in The Fillmore though. He deserved this! My man who claims not to like Glen’s music at all (yeah, I know) was transfixed for most of the night and finally noticed me singing my heart out to Revelate and looked at me like he had never seen me before. I think it was something tender he mouthed but it was too loud to know for sure.
A new friend of the band:
Glen called up a guy he had seen perform earlier and a Wolverine lookalike hit the stage and ripped into the guitar with passion and power.
Reignwolf (Jordan Cook) has some guitar and rockin’ skills! Check him out: http://www.jordancook.com/
The concert was a mix of The Swell Season, The Frames, the Rhythm and Repose album, new songs like This Gift (Oscar, Oscar!!! You deserve an Oscar!) and Movin’ On that has been around a while but needs to be officially recorded.
The Set List:
1. The Storm, It’s Coming
2. Talking With The Wolves
3. Love Don’t Keep Me Waiting (with Aretha’s Respect at the end)
5. When Your Mind’s Made Up
6. Low Rising
7. Bird of Sorrow
9. In These Arms
10. Astral Weeks (Van cover) + Gloria (Van) + Smile (Vedder cover)
11. This Gift
12. Movin’ On
13. High Hope +Maybellene (Chuck Berry cover)
16. Where Is My Mind (Pixies cover)
17. Star, Star + Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star + Willy Wonka + Hotellounge (deus) + The Most Beautiful Widow in Town (Sparklehorse)
18. Song of Good Hope
19. Encore 1: Say It To Me Now
20. Gold – Glen and Colm (to Dan + Ashley in her wedding dress – just married!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEsQMu_tAww
21. Jordan Cook Reignwolf & Graham, Corrina, Corrina (Bob Dylan cover) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUg8izvxZww
22. Where ‘ you been so long? with The Lost Brothers and band
23. Encore 2: Banana Man
24. Don’t Do It (Helm cover)
25. Drive All Night and The Parting Glass (Springstein and traditional song – with snippets of Van the Man and Hiatt’s Feels like Rain)
Someone mentioned ‘Walking Dead’ during The Parting Glass and I didn’t understand until I saw they use that song for the series on TV.
Thanks, Sheri, whoever you are 🙂
Videos and another review of the Fillmore from Order In The Sound here: http://www.orderinthesound.com/6-october-2012-san-francisco-ca-the-fillmore
Good luck on your travels east and down under, guys!
For those who are new to Glen Hansard, start with the movie called ONCE. Then check out
The Swell Season: http://www.theswellseason.com/
The Frames: http://www.theframes.ie/
Once The Musical: http://www.oncemusical.com/
Glen Hansard: http://www.glenhansardmusic.com/songofgoodhope/