i’ve seen iron and wine (seam beam) pretty much every time he’s come through new york since 2005. his latest show was at the beacon theatre on the upper west side, which i had never been to and was excited to check out. cool place and still small enough that we had a good view from the first mezzanine. touring with sam beam was his new band, a 13 piece filled with backup singers, a horn and string section, a piano/organ player, among others. i’ve always preferred the more lofi sam beam (a la ‘our endless numbered days’ and ‘the creek drank the cradle’ style), but the songs with the full band were good; about half were new and half were reworkings of his older songs. the highlight of the evening, however, was when sam came out and played by himself. the crowd shouted out requests and he ended up playing about half a dozen songs. he’s actually quite a funny guy, joking at himself about needing to practice more when he played the wrong chord (which happened a few times and was actually quite endearing).
i’ve always loved ‘upward over the mountain’ and the version he played at the beacon was amazing – its crazy how full the sound felt with just one person playing. perusing youtube, i was able to find a video of the performance — and though it doesn’t really do justice to how good it actually was — its still a nice flavor of the wonderfulness of sam beam. check it out below.