Andrew Bird, Iron & Wine

Andrew Bird• Iron & Wine• June 21, 2022• Red Butte Garden Amphitheater

Reviewed and Photographed by Tiffany Mull

Iron & Wine and Andrew Bird filled Red Butte Garden with earthy folk and swanky strings Tuesday night. Both known for smart, bookish lyrics and singular performance styles, they go well together. Iron & Wine (Sam Beam) opened with “Love Vigilantes” followed by “Jezebel.” Without a band, he improvised some beatboxing during “Lovers’ Revolution.”

Iron & Wine

“I had a dream I was Mitt Romney. I guess I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be that tall and loaded.” Sam has a jocular, almost sardonic, presence. He sprinkled his cool, clever songs with conversational commentary. On stage in front of thousands, he made it feel like an intimate café setting. “What other flavors we got up here? Let’s see what this one tastes like,” Sam said as he switched guitars. “You guys are so well behaved. Good Lord, did you guys have a meeting beforehand or something? It’s been a kooky couple of years, huh? No one got out unscathed. Let’s take time to celebrate that we’re all here. I was definitely taking some shit for granted, that’s for sure.”

“Flightless Bird, American Mouth” followed “Right for Sky.” He joked that Mitt Romney wrote that song and allowed Sam to take credit for it. Iron & Wine’s chilled, whispery voice and breezy rhythms are the perfect vehicle for heady, cryptic lyrics. Most of his performance was dreamy and relaxing. “Rabbit Will Run” was the exception. This, he bellowed and howled over aggressive finger picking.

Andrew Bird

Andrew Bird is less conversational and more musically diverse. In his work you hear influences of jazz, swing, blues, folk, and more all woven together. He plays the violin (traditionally as well as experimentally), the guitar, and the glockenspiel. It would be fair to count his singular whistling as an instrument in its own right. Bird opened with “Make a Picture,” accompanied by a drummer, a keyboardist, and a bassist (who started off on electric and switched to upright as the night wore on). “Sisyphus” opens with clear, carefree whistling before interpreting the ancient myth not as a consequence of fate but as a conscious decision. Bird’s spinning horn, which manipulates the Doppler effect when in use, graced the back of the stage.  

Joan Didion wrote about atomization, how society fell and continues to fall apart. With unparalleled style and precision, she documented and analyzed America’s, and particularly California’s, fraying civilization. Andrew Bird drew clear, vocal inspiration from Didion for his new album, Inside Problems. He takes it a step further, examining ways that individuals are now atomizing and breaking apart. “Atomized” followed “Lone Didion.” “Inside Problems” was slower but still sprightly.

Andrew looped pizzicato and violin riffs to complete his live, unfolding arrangements. “Bloodless” played like lounge jazz. “Underlands” was intoxicating. Sam came back on stage to play “Muddy Hymnal” (a favorite of mine), “Give it Away,” and “Strangers” (the Kinks) with Andrew. Andrew and band closed the performance with “Pulaski at Night.”

Photo Credit: Tiffany Mull

­­Iron and Wine Setlist

1.     Love Vigilantes
2.     Jezebel
3.     Lovers’ Revolution
4.     Right for Sky
5.     Flightless Bird, American Mouth
6.     Rabbit Will Run
7.     Grace for Saints and Ramblers
8.     Passing Afternoon

Andrew Bird

1.     Make a Picture
2.     Sisyphus
3.     Lone Didion
4.     Atomized
5.     Inside Problems
6.     Bloodless
7.     Underlands
8.     The Night Before Your Birthday
9.     Eight
10.  Muddy Hymnal
11.  Give it Away
12.  Strangers (the Kinks cover)
13.  Manifest
14.  Three White Horses
15.  Pulaski at Night

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