Last night excited fans filled Taft Theatre in anticipation of what would prove to be a truly memorable musical experience. Iron & Wine (Sam Beam) played two career spanning sets, during the first of which he was joined by an orchestra and 3 vocalists. Cincinnati was the first of only three lucky cities chosen for this performance in honor of the 15 year anniversary of Beam’s beloved record, Our Endless Numbered Days.
The show began with an introduction from conductor, David Campbell, who also arranged the orchestral music. He jokingly introduced the musicians as the “Sam Beam Philharmonic” and they opened with a beautiful instrumental piece entitled, "Follow My Heart" by Pauline Frichette who was also present in the audience. Beam then took the stage with a glass in hand of the latter half of his namesake. He instantly connected with the audience through humor and humility stating he was intimidated by the proficient orchestra behind him which was comprised of our friends and neighbors from right here in Cincinnati.
They opened the show with "Soon Forgotten" and "Free Until They Cut me Down," the 4th and 9th tracks respectively from Our Endless Numbered Days. He would play the album in its entirety over the course of the two sets with old favorites and new music scattered throughout. Although it was their first performance together you would never guess as Beam, Campbell, and the orchestra were so in sync and shared a visible comfort and trust between each other as if they’d been playing together for years.
The audience was met with humor between his profoundly sad and beautiful brand of folk, even after the most somber of pieces, calling "Naked as we Came" another "feel good hit of the year!" He shared a story of a friend's grill being stolen off his deck in Galveston before delivering a raw and moving performance of "Waves of Galveston" in set two. He performed set two solo joined again by the three vocalists from set one during the latter half of the set. My high school heart leapt out of my chest as he played "Jezebel" from 2005's Woman King and I had tears in my eyes as he closed out the evening with none other than "Love and Some Verses."
The Our Endless Numbered Days anniversary re-issue is now available on vinyl with new art, liner notes, and 8 previously unreleased demos!