The Civil Wars | Beale Street Music Festival
Memphis, Tennessee | May 6, 2012
Fast-forward a year, and I finally get it. When they were announced as part of the Beale Street Music Fest line-up, I decided it was finally time to figure out what the hype was about, and – better late than never – I get it.
The harmonies and songwriting of Joy Williams and John Paul White is, in a word, phenomenal. I bought Barton Hollow a few weeks before the festival and must have listened to it dozens of times. It is that good.
Their set was as good as the album; it’s always a crapshoot when you take an acoustic act – let alone an acoustic duo – and drop them onto a big festival stage, but the pair delivered. It was remarkable to see the two adequately transfer their studio sound to a wide-open field. The set covered most of the record and a few great cover tunes, and was enjoyable from front to back. ”I’ve Got This Friend,” probably my favorite track from the album, was fantastic, and the title track was really powerful as well.
All in all, it was maybe my favorite single set of the entire weekend. While they would probably be a tad better in an intimate theatre, they were able to bring that atmosphere to the riverside, and it was a lot of fun.
Set: Tip of My Tongue, Forget Me Not, From This Valley, 20 Years, I’ve Got This Friend, Safe & Sound, Barton Hollow, Falling, Oh Henry, To Whom It May Concern, Birds of a Feather, Sour Times, Billie Jean, Poison & Wine, Dance Me to the End of Love
Gear used: Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 5D, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS