On Saturday night I went and saw Glen Hansard play the first of two shows at Sydney Opera House.
Main Set: Just to Be the One, Winning Streak, My Little Ruin – When Your Mind’s Made Up, Bird of Sorrow, Renata, Wedding Ring*, Vigilante Man (Woodie Guthrie), Way Back When, McCormack’s Wall, Lowly Deserter, Astral Weeks (Van Morrison) – Smile (Pearl Jam), Star Star – Pure Imagination – Hotellounge (dEUS), Falling Slowly
Encore: Love Don’t Leave Me Waiting – Respect (Aretha Franklin), Say It to Me Now – Stay the Road, Leave a Light** (Peadar O’Riada),Aisling Gheal** (Peadar O’Riada), O Sean** (Peadar O’Riada), Gold** (Interference), Her Mercy
*with Curtis on vocals
**with Peader O’Riada on piano/vocals. (Setlist courtesy of Order in the Sound).
The highlight of any Glen Hansard gig is the stories he tells about each song - My Litte Ruin a song about the privilege friends have to speak the uncomfortable truth to each other; Renata written to a barmaid in a New York pub; McCormack's Wall a song written in the birth place of the great Irish Tenor John McCormack.
Other notable songs on the night were Bird of Sorrow, Viligante Man (adapted for Donald Trump), Way Back When (dedicated to the migrants in the world), McCormack's Wall and the beautiful fiddle section, Star Star (with its detour into Pure Imagination), Stay the Road performed without microphones, Gold (and the harmonies)
Hard not to leave a Glen Hansard show without feeling like you've been talking with a friend.The show is definitely among the best I've seen with the special combination of exceptional story-telling and brilliant music.