Day 320 – Live Music Matters

19 Feb

I am finally able to write a little about the show I went to on Wednesday and just to warn you, this might turn into a long post!

Anytime I get to see live music is a good day but it is always a particularly good day when I get to see Josh Ritter. Not only do I love his music but to see him live is an entirely different experience than listening to a CD. Watching an artist do what they love is always inspiring but Ritter is on a whole different level than anyone I have ever seen live. His joy and enthusiasm while he is on stage is infectious and he is able to draw the crowd in unlike any other artist I have seen. He feeds off the energy of his fans and you can tell that he appreciates every single moment that he shares with you. At any given moment you can look around the room and see someone with a smile on their face that is inspired by the ever-present smile that is on Ritter’s face while he is performing. Each show I attend is better than the last and ends up being in my top 10 live shows. I guess as I get into double digits I am going to have to expand that list to a top 20.

One thing I love about going to Ritter’s shows is that each time I attend I leave a fan of some new great artist that I have never heard of before that he has brought with him on the tour. Wednesday night was no exception as Scott Hutchinson from Frightened Rabbit opened the show. Frightened Rabbit is a Scottish band that I had never heard of but Scott’s performance turned me into a fan. If that sexy accent didn’t do me in then his emotional, almost pained lyrics would have. I can’t imagine what these songs would have sounded like with a full band but the acoustic versions left me wanting more.

Scott Hutchinson

After Scott’s set was over we were eagerly waiting for Ritter’s set and Beth noticed a set-list under Austin Nevins’ (guitarist) table and as I scanned through it I didn’t see Girl in the War on the list. Now, I am sort of bummed, okay really bummed because this is my favorite song. I keep saying “I can’t believe he isn’t going to play it, I just can’t believe it” and Beth just looks at me like I am kind of crazy but she still feels very sorry for me 🙂 Once Ritter gets on stage I sort of forget about my disappointment though because he is just too darn happy to feel bummed out around.

He started the show off alone on stage with  Monster Ballad and since he was coming off his “Valentine’s Day Brawl” series all the mics were still decorated with roses!

Josh Ritter

Josh Ritter

He was eventually joined on stage by the rest of his amazing band for several more of my favorites like Good Man, Real Long Distance Call & Rattling Locks. My gosh was Rattling Locks AMAZING!!! I had heard from several friends how much I was going to like this particular song during the show and since it is already one of my favorites to hear live I was excited, but I had no idea. It is a very raw and gritty song live but they kicked it up to a new level as they were joined on stage by some friends and they killed it.

Austin NevinsAustin Nevins

Zack Hickman
Zack Hickman

Sam Kassirer
Sam Kassirer

Liam Hurley
Liam Hurley

Rattling Locks

After that unbelievable performance the band left Ritter on stage alone once again. At every show I have been to or seen videos of, it is clear Ritter likes to talk with the audience and enjoys the interaction, but he was more chatty on Wednesday than I have seen him at previous shows He schooled us on the evil that is manufactured holidays and humorously told us that the packed audience smelled less than fresh (it was very warm in the theater). I remembered that I actually have video on my SLR so I took a couple of videos and when you hear someone shout out “sauerkraut” and he says it “smells honest” that is what he is talking about 🙂

Click HERE to watch Don’t Make it Easy Babe or Click HERE to watch Wild Goose. I love how you immediately hear the crowd start to sing along when he starts up a new song, his shows are really something special. I recorded two songs in a row and by this time my arms were about to fall off because SLR cameras are not lightweight as is but holding them up and trying to keep them steady was hard work. I sat my camera down just as Ritter stepped away from the microphone and said “This is for Egypt”. As he played the first cord my mouth fell open because he started to play Girl in the War and I think I might have even teared up a bit. It was a perfect song to sing in dedication to what is happening there and it was a beautiful moment in the show because he stood on the edge of the stage away from the mic and sang to the crowd and the crowd joined him as loudly as we could.  Beth turned to me and said “I can’t believe you aren’t recording this” but I am honestly glad my arms had given out so that I could just sit and enjoy the song with the rest of the audience.

Josh Ritter

The band joined Ritter back on stage to finish the night off with a few more songs including Lantern (which now always makes me think of Bill) Kathleen (at which point he invited the entire audience to take part in a “long awkward” slow dance and a guy dressed as a mummy got on stage to lead us off) and Change of Time (another special moment when  he was singing one part of the song while the audience was singing another)

Josh Ritter

Josh Ritter
We got a bonus encore when Scott joined Josh on stage for their version of The Everly Brothers, Stories We Could Tell which was a very cool duet for the two of them and they had a lot of fun with it. Of course you can’t have a Ritter show and not get an encore of  To the Dogs or Whoever, which almost rivals Girl in the War as my favorite song. It is the perfect song to end each show with because it is so much fun to listen to and they play it about 100 times faster than the CD version so I can only sing about every third word 🙂

As I said on Wednesday…it was a good night. Thank you to Josh and his band for making each show an experience to remember. OH and HERE is a video of Right Moves as well. Sorry the music is so loud but I was standing right in front of Austin’s speaker.

Josh Ritter

Josh Ritter


10 Responses to “Day 320 – Live Music Matters”

  1. Susan February 19, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    Sounds like you got about the same show/set list as we did last week. I thought Rattling Locks was off the hook too. He must find some local folks to bring on stage for the extra sticks, in Boston he had three guys who accompanied them on several songs, including that one. I read on some blog (a guy posted the link for on Josh’s FB page after the Boston show)that he is recently separated from his wife. Not sure if it’s true, but I wondered if the passion he sang Rattling Locks with had something to do with that.

    Anyways, I agree wholeheartedly, Josh Ritter is something else. His joy and passion for what he does is infectious.

    • mindymilburn February 19, 2011 at 8:50 am #

      Strange that you should mention that. I have a tendency to watch guitarists hands and I noticed Josh wasn’t wearing his ring on Wednesday and there was something about the way he was talking about Valentine’s Day and love that felt so off from anything I had heard him say before. Thursday while I was editing photos I looked it up and found an interview he did stating that him and his wife decided to split in early February. It made me very sad. They were an adorable couple from what we were able to see.

      And thank you, that would be my dream job lol

      • BILL February 19, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

        CRAP!!! I had no clue! Makes me very sad too!

  2. Susan February 19, 2011 at 8:38 am #

    Sorry, awesome pictures!! You should be a concert photographer!

  3. Shari February 19, 2011 at 1:06 pm #


  4. Ken Shane February 19, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    Great photos,and a great description of the show Mindy. I will be checking out the videos next. When I saw Josh a few months ago he did the same thing, that is he stepped away from the mic for “Girl In the War,” and it was stunning. I’m pretty sure that he realizes that it is the favorite song of a lot of people and he probably plays it at nearly every show. Maybe it wasn’t on the set list because the band wasn’t involved. My other favorite of his is “The Temptation of Adam,” but I don’t recall having seen him do that one live.

  5. catherineross February 19, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    You are so amazing…this post is beyond spectacular! I love how you captured the talent and energy in these musicians…they should use your photos in marketing and promotional materials. Great work my Friend!!

  6. Kerri February 19, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    You’ve made a new fan out of me!

  7. Beth February 19, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

    I am so happy I was able to share another AMAZING Josh Ritter show with you. Thank You Thank You Thank You for introducing his music to me. I love watching him perform and the way it makes me feel when watching him. Its like a drug (or chocolate) I just want more and more. I am so excited we get to see him again next month. Thanks for posted videos of the show, I smile from ear to ear watching them. AMAZING!!

    Oh yea, LOVE the pictures too! They are amazing, but I didn’t expect anything less. Love ya!

  8. BILL February 19, 2011 at 10:49 pm #

    I’m smiling ear to ear, reading your recap, and picturing you at the stage. You are spot on, in your descriptions. Your pictures are amazing! I’ll be watching the videos on Monday, when I’m off work.
    Josh’s set list changes each show.. but I got spoiled at TOWN HALL in NYC. He sang ANOTHER NEW WORLD, full band, and it was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen or heard. He has not sung it again in any show that I’ve been to. I’m so glad you got to his show, and hopefully Louisville as well.

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