Sorry. I can’t resist the cliché. It was a swell evening of music Monday night as The Swell Season (Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová and The Frames) returned to Pittsburgh to perform at the Byham Theatre.
The set-up was very similar to their September 2008 concert. The Frames were in a semi-circle on the stage with white back-drops and back-lighting essentially framing the performers. The front of the stage up-lighting was very effective throughout the well paced two-hour and fifteen-minute plus performance.
Irglová quietly opened the show center stage with “If You Want Me”. Hansard, talking about their drive in to town, sang the “Ohio River Boat Song”. “Low Rising” came next with Hansard sampling Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”.
When I get a cold, I lose my voice. When Glen Hansard gets a cold, he doesn’t cancel a show, instead he takes lots of drugs and still performs at the top of his game.
During “Leave” Hansard showed no signs of a cold. Back in 2008, The Swell Season opened up with “Into the Mystic” and they didn’t forget to include it again this year, providing a stunning moment in the middle of their show.
Recently, American Idol brought “Falling Slowly” to the forefront again, but it will probably be most remembered for winning the Academy Award for Best Original Song from the movie “Once”. Hansard said “Falling Slowly” was their final song. He apparently meant before the long encore.
Hansard was talkative during the ending moments of the concert, but they still kept those heartfelt songs coming. He sang “Say It To Me Now”, after sharing a story of meeting a woman in Chicago in a hotel elevator who lost her son in the 9/11 attacks. Irglová debuted a new song called “Crossroads”. We all sang “There” on the chorus of a new song (which apparently has already has been covered and can be found on YouTube). They included a song from The Frames, with Hansard still able to give his all on the “Red Chord”. The show ended with a traditional Irish song “The Parting Glass” and an extended standing ovation.
It was just, swell.
Glen Hansard’s friend, who is now a resident of Pittsburgh, Mark Dignam opened the show with a well received 40-minute set of 7 songs and also joined The Swell Season on stage for a song during the encore.
Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host