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OtR tour


M. Leary
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I don't have the set list with me, I will post it tomorrow. But at the Chicago show they played about 16 or 17 songs. Most of them were from Ohio, two classics (All I Need Is Everything and Bothered), and two tracks from Films for Radio. I will post it in a detailed fashion tomorrow.

Now. Here is the deal. Over the Rhine has never played like this before. Their levels were off the meter consistently. I see a lot of fairly ripping instrumental shows here in Chicago (N.C. and the Bad Seeds, Dirty Three, Mogwai, Godspeed Y.B.E., the Orb, etc...). These bands depend on filling live venues literally with powerful walls of music that are characterized subtle tonal complexity. A lot of metal and a lot of strings. Somehow, they pulled this off, filling the venue with undulating waves of sounds both metal and acoustic that may someday rival the ecstatic voluminous efforts of someone like Nick Cave (who in turn has influenced so many with that approach to sound). Now they need a violin player and they are set.

Not to say they are there yet, but so many times they got close to a level they have never even hinted at before.

Needless to say, this is not what we expect from a typically acoustic Over the Rhine except in the odd-chance that they have a guitarist along that can do more than the typical No Depression "thing" (Jack was good, but a bit limited in range). So the last few years have been fairly tame for them. Very subtle, passionate, seductive, and evocative, but they never seemed to totally open up on stage.

This tour is something completely different. Compared to every other show I have seen (out of the dozens, I can think of maybe one that comes close), this is the first time I have seen them really go nuts with their music. Great bassist, excellent drummer, and of course: Paul, the new guitar go-to guy.

Here is an example of what was so different: They come out on stage and play about two minutes of "Spinning" that are so dense with sound from every orifice of the band that Paul's scitar playing cuts through it all like sonic razors. Their soundman cranks this out at an unbelievable volume, pushing everything to the limit until Karen steps up and translates the cacophany into a blistering rendition of Bothered that exploded through every exchange somewhere in the middle of the audience under the sway of Paul's lap steel. (Somewhere in there, unbelievably, he exchanged his scitar for a lap steel. Never seen that before anywhere.)

I will detail this when I post the set list. But Paul had about four incredible solos throughout the whole show, typified by the last song they played "Changes Come" (the second encore song). It was as ethereal as the studio cut but in a much different way. Karen stepped back and let Paul go nuts on his guitar, hovering inches above his bank of pedals on the floor and manipulating everything from his feedback to his reverb and sometimes all at once or not at all. Think: "Kiss me kiss me kiss me" meets "Animals" era Pink Floyd. Seriously. Take that and throw in Karen's voice and Linford's organ and you have this year's tour.

Believe it or not, that is what you are going to get with your ticket price.

A few criticisms:

1. Paul's voice didn't seem quite up to snuff that night. He fared well on the backup, but they should have kept his level down just a bit. I have heard he has been better on other nights.

2. The tenor of the show was so tightly strung that they couldn't seem to slow down for slower songs. "Suitcase" shot right past us all at a tempo far quicker than the studio cut. I think that they weren't able to slow down and give tracks like "Ohio" their due diligence and compassion.

3. Paul went a little too nuts on "Changes Come," I think he lost his line of thought because he broke something on his guitar. But his presence, his very mobile presence, on stage is a great addition. He is to Over the Rhine as David Rawlings is to Gillian Welch.

4. Over the Rhine crowds are typically reserved. That isn't going to cut it anymore. This tour is a lot different.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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Not to say they are there yet, but so many times they got close to a level they have never even hinted at before.

Your description rhymes with what I saw at Cornerstone this year. It felt like they showed me that what I had taken for the sky was actually a ceiling, and they smashed right through it, showing me just how much farther they could go.

In the next few months, I am eager for my birthday party, my anniversary vacation, The Return of the King, and Christmas. But I am waiting for November 3rd like you wouldn't believe.

Folks, if there was ever a time to discover Over the Rhine, this is it.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Wow. The first OtR setlist that I will have to use Grateful Dead bootleg vocab for.

1. Spinning --> Bothered

(Paul M. on sitar, then on pedal steel with a killer two minute solo.)

2. Long Lost Brother

(Paul M. on p. steel)

3. Show Me

(Paul M. on a slide.)

4. She

(Paul on this killer Guild he plays every now and then.)

5. Nobody Number One

(Paul on an electric mandolin)

6.Suitcase

7. Lifelong Fling

(Paul on p. steel)

8. Ohio

(Karen solo)

9. BPD

(From Karen solo to the full band.)

10. All I Need is Everything

(Paul on a 12 string.)

11. World Can Wait

(Wow. Note for note the studio cut with all of the vocal effects which eventually actually breaks out into a fairly metal "World Can Wait" jam in which Paul and the drummer feed off of each other.)

12. When I Go

(Paul does virtually a note for note rendition of the studio cut solo by Michael Timmins and then tosses in his own flair. His solo here was several incredible minutes long. Wild stuff the likes of which the OtR stage has never seen.)

13. Cruel and Pretty

(Wow.)

14. Changes Come

(Basically Karen and Paul stretching to the utter limits of thier abilities until Paul's guitar broke. I wasn't joking when I said: "Kiss me kiss me kiss me" meets "Animals" era David Gilmour.)

The clear standouts were Bothered, World Can Wait, Cruel and Pretty, and Changes Come. I would have been satisfied if that was all they played.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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No "Jesus in New Orleans"? I'm surprised.

I'm glad they've taken "Little Blue River" out of the rotation... I love that song, but they had toured that song into the ground.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Yep. Agreed.

But I hope the NEXT tour then will be the perfect blend of new and old. And now that they have Paul on the bus, maybe they will pull Like a Radio out of thier back pocket and dust it off for a new generation.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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  • 1 month later...

Oh man.

Look at this from Linford's latest letter:

They're planning a special, short Christmas tour this year in select areas (not mine!) with special guests Susan Enan and Pedro the Lion.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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I will hit the Chicago leg of that, and probably the Milwaukee one. You guys are more than willing to crash at our place for the Chicago show if you need to JO.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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Important news from the OTR e-mail list:

People talkin', keep on walkin'... Lucinda Williams

Hello again,

This is humbling and hard to write but necessary.

We've been having the most amazing tour musically this year and we extend our deepest gratitude to all of you who joined us at the concerts in the past five weeks or more. The people we are touring with inspired us deeply, worked hard and played their hearts out every night. Our thanks to Will, Paul, Rick, Spinner and Hunter: we hope to reunite with you all soon.

We have postponed the rest of the dates for this year's Over the Rhine tour indefinitely for personal and family reasons. There are two trees in our lives (we do choose our record covers carefully): one is our music and one is our marriage. Sometimes we water one or the other, hopefully both.

We've poured our hearts and our souls into our music this year, and we've seen that tree bear a lot of fruit and flourish. But we've increasingly realized that there has been very little room left over for anything else including our relationship and marriage. As difficult a decision as it is, we've decided we must go home to do some much needed caretaking and work to preserve this part of our lives.

We aplogize for the timing and to those of you who made plans to see us in the coming weeks. We're human beings and we're all broken and sometimes our lives get way out of balance. Knowing this is an amazing place to start. Please keep us in your prayers and again, we hope to see you soon when the time is right.

We really love what we do, but we're not willing to sacrifice our relationship and marriage on the altar of a career. We think you'll agree when we see you again that our music is more alive than ever.

Best,

Linford and Karin

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Impressive, and I am grateful for their willingness to put first things first. It must have been a difficult choice in many ways, especially since performers' careers are often centered around meeting the expectations of others. I wish them well.

Methinks this action may speak louder about their faith than many songs.

"Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?"

« Nous connaîtrions-nous seulement un peu nous-mêmes, sans les arts? »

Quoted on Canada's $20 bill; from Gabrielle Roy's novel La montagne secrète. The English translation, The Hidden Mountain, is by Harry L. Binsse.

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Impressive, and I am grateful for their willingness to put first things first. It must have been a difficult choice in many ways, especially since performers' careers are often centered around meeting the expectations of others. I wish them well.

As do I... I just wish I would've known before my friends and I drove 3 1/2 hours, only to find out the show had been cancelled. D'Oh!

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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God bless them. They're doing the right thing, and I love them for it.

But man... I was so pumped up about next Monday night!

Looks like I'll have to console myself with the Revolutions screening on Tuesday night. :?

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Wow...

Yeah, something must have happened. But as much as I was looking forward to the show next week, I am proud of them. It takes some guts to write something like that...probably written to themselves as much as to the fans.

Well, I've still got Ohio. I'll make it...we all will.

And the "premonition," (M)Leary...?

So you ladies and you gentlemen, pull your bloomers on...

-Joe Henry

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WhyFjord wrote:

: It takes some guts to write something like that...probably written to

: themselves as much as to the fans.

I don't know. When a couple's marriage and career are as intertwined as this couple's are, then the problems in one aspect of their lives will become VERY evident to people who normally pay attention only to the other aspect of their lives pretty quick. I'm not saying it didn't take guts to write the letter ... but for artists who have made their personal life a part of their public life, and who have prided themselves on their honesty and authenticity, it would arguably have been career suicide to keep going on stage and going on tour in the middle of whatever issues they might be facing in their relationship right now. The INauthenticity of their act would, perhaps, have become obvious very soon -- and it arguably might have taken even more guts to live through that sort of artificiality.

To put this another way, I think it might have been gutsier for a SOLO musician to call off a tour because of problems in his/her marriage. When the marriage itself is a part of the act, then problems with the marriage will pretty much make a cancellation inevitable, the same way a sore throat will force vocalists to cancel whatever concerts they've got lined up. Granted, admitting that there's a problem in the first place -- to oneself, let alone to others -- is itself a gutsy move, and I don't want to diminish the gutsiness of what Karin & Linford have done here. I guess I'm just trying to think through this in some sort of broader context.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I agree, Peter. To me, what was most significant was the admission itself, the gentle but clear recognition of a problem followed by decisive action. And while I can't personally speak for Karin and Linford, you have to wonder how easy it would be to "put on an act", even given a large amount of artist->audience honesty. To bury yourself in the emotion of performance...this is an easy escape from what I hear. If a marriage is rocky, what could be easier that falling back onto old love tunes, escaping into the memory, giving yourself another injection of emotion to get through a few more days? And so I have to wonder if the admission, this rejection of the "easy" way out, wasn't just as much for themselves as for us.

This is, of course, rhetorical, and I'm by no means suggesting that Karin and Linford followed this route. But it's interesting to think about...the combination of extraordinary circumstances (a national tour, 10 albums) and very ordinary humanity (Karin, Linford, you, me, etc).

So you ladies and you gentlemen, pull your bloomers on...

-Joe Henry

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I got to see OtR in concert a few weeks ago in Indy. An amazing experience. I was expecting a quiet acoustic-based show, and instead was treated to guitar pyrotechnics and a funky backing band (not to mention wonderful singing and keyboards :wink: ). Best $12 I've spent in a long time! Alone, their encore rendition of "Changes Come" was worth the price of admission. No breaking guitar strings this time (as I read in an earlier post about an earlier show).

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read.

--Groucho Marx

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  • 4 weeks later...

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