It was a night for a man and his guitar at the University of Rochester’s Riverside Campus. Dressed in a suit and looking dapper as ever was Sam Beam, better known by his stage name Iron and Wine. Taking to a bare stage and flanked only by a stool on one side and a second guitar on the other, he captivated the sold out crowd of 900 for nearly two hours.
He started the acoustic performance with a crystal clear voice singing “Sodom, South Georgia” and immediately warmed the crowd with the gentle song. Without the backing of his full band or the distraction of a vibrant light show, Beam’s talent stood on its own. His whispery melodies swirled over the audience, drawing them into what sometimes felt like falling into a starry dream. Singing slowly and softly, the crowd was happily lulled by his nostalgic words.
Chatting in between songs, Beam remarked on how moving sucks (he recently relocated from Texas to the East Coast), learned about Rochester’s ‘Garbage Plate’ and quipped when he started to play old songs and found the words escaping him, “I spend more time writing new songs than practicing old ones”. However, he did oblige the audience with numerous requests for old favorites such as “Naked as We Came” and “Boy With A Coin”. Songs from the most recent album, Ghost on Ghost, “Caught in the Briars”, “Low Light Buddy of Mine” and “Grace for Saints and Ramblers” all made appearances as well. Old or new, each song ended to an eager eruption of applause and more shouts of requests from the enthusiastic crowd. Full of gratitude and good spirit, Iron & Wine joked with the audience and humbly thanked the the crowd after each song.
At the last song, he ended in saying, “I’ve got to bail out, while the gettin’s good.” He graciously thanked the audience one last time and and closed with a fan favorite, “Such Great Heights”.
Setlist: Sodom, South Georgia, Resurrection Fern, Jezebel, Caught in the Briars, Low Light Buddy of Mine, Lion’s Mane, Waves of Galveston, Mary Anne, Naked As We Came, Winter Prayers, Grace for Saints and Ramblers, Upward Over the Mountain, Jesus the Mexican Boy, Fever Dream, Boy With a Coin, The Trapeze Singer
Encore: Such Great Heights