Father John Misty 5/11/17

(a) setlist

    1. Pure Comedy
    2. Total Entertainment Forever
    3. Things It Would’ve Been Helpful To Know Before The Revolution
    4. Ballad of the Dying Man
    5. Birdie
    6. A Bigger Paper Bag
    7. When the God of Love Returns There’ll Be Hell to Pay
    8. When You’re Smiling And Astride Me
    9. Strange Encounter
    10. Nothing Good Ever Happens At the Goddamn Thirsty Crow
    11. Funtimes In Babylon
    12. Nancy From Now On
    13. Chateau Lobby #4 (In C for Two Virgins)
    14. True Affection
    15. Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings
    16. I Love You, Honeybear
    17. The Ideal Husband

Encore:

  1. Bored in the USA
  2. The Memo
  3. I’m Writing A Novel
  4. Real Love Baby
  5. So I’m Growing Old on Magic Mountain
  6. Holy Shit

(b) highlights

  • Didn’t think the setlist could get better from the night before, and then the setlist got better from the night before
  • This was the closest I’d ever been to Josh during a performance and it was, uh, a lot of emotions
  • This was my first time at Brooklyn Steel and it was bomb; the stage set-up fit perfectly despite being standing-room only, the lighting was still ace, and the energy was so fresh
  • Adding “The Ideal Husband” and “Real Love Baby” and “I’m Writing a Novel” totally killed me – three wonderful songs that felt like a perfect treat
  • The crowd was so hyped, Josh was so into every song, every moment, and every feeling; felt like a religious experience by the time everything ended

(c) lowlights

  • If I had to choose one thing, I’d say that people yelling out at Josh between songs makes me so upset. Stop demanding songs from him, stop trying to get him to be your monkey and make him dance. (But this crowd really was overwhelmingly great minus a few, good job FJM fans.)

(d) overall thoughts

As I mentioned in my previous post, I wasn’t sure anything could top seeing Father John Misty perform at Kings Theatre the night before this show. And in a way, that show remained untouchable and in tact. But this first night at Brooklyn Steel was a whole other bag of goodies. It was magical, intimate, enlightenment, and special. He played for over to hours, what more could you ask for?

My first night at Brooklyn Steel was promising. I’m always skeptical of new music venues in the city – especially when they’re in Brooklyn – but this venue was fire. Feels like Bowery Ballroom in the front and looks like Terminal 5 in the back, the acoustics were solid, the space was well-used, and I’m psyched to go back. If only because it might remind me of this show with Josh.

Opening with Pure Comedy again in that sort of space felt so deliberate and intentional that it was impossible to not get wrapped up in its meaning. Josh has no fear in performing songs whose main component is “existential dread with no situation for dancing” and I love that so much. I stood second row center and felt like everyone hung on his every word from beginning to middle to end. The thematic structure of the performance was my favorite part, hands down. With the first third of the night featuring his newest album, Josh eases you into a sense of The Current. It feels like now, it feels politically scary, but it remains ever so hopeful. You reflect over and within every song and feel yourself give away to his story. Then the second third of the show begins.

If the performances first third was all about existential dread, then the second third was all about slowly unraveling to carnal desires. The Honeybear-heavy set reminded everyone how stupidly and sonically perfect that album was, while also highlighting beautiful it is to watch Josh become unglued over a woman. The inclusion of Fear Fun moments painted a picture of Josh as an artist and I could not look away. By the time he got to “The Ideal Husband,” half the crowd was jumping around and dancing everywhere, completely juxtaposing the beginning of the set when everyone stood quietly agape and listened to how the world might end. The lights were wild, I was jumping and scream-singing along, but couldn’t help asking myself, “How did we get here?”

When the encore hit, I didn’t think the show could get better. But that’s right when the final thematic kick happens. Just at the end it when you reach enlightenment. I lost it at the inclusion of “I’m Writing a Novel” and “Real Love Baby,” which took on a different light in that context. When “Holy Shit” began, it felt like everyone around me was crying, or at least in some other emotional headspace. I still have no idea how we got from point A to point B to point C, but I was so willing to let Josh take control and give us a ride. And damn, was that ride a wild and magical one.

Bottom line: This performance at Brooklyn Steel was one to always remember and never forget. The essence of the stories Josh tells might not always ring true for everyone present, but it’s undeniable that you walk away learning just as much about yourself as the mystical man who performed them. Go see Father John Misty, or miss out on something special.

Father John Misty 5/10/17

(a) setlist

    1. Pure Comedy
    2. Total Entertainment Forever
    3. Things It Would’ve Been Helpful To Know Before The Revolution
    4. Ballad of the Dying Man
    5. Birdie
    6. A Bigger Paper Bag
    7. When the God of Love Returns There’ll Be Hell to Pay
    8. When You’re Smiling And Astride Me
    9. Strange Encounter
    10. Nothing Good Ever Happens At the Goddamn Thirsty Crow
    11. Funtimes In Babylon
    12. Nancy From Now On
    13. Chateau Lobby #4 (In C for Two Virgins)
    14. True Affection
    15. Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings
    16. I Love You, Honeybear

Encore:

  1. Bored in the USA
  2. The Memo
  3. So I’m Growing Old on Magic Mountain
  4. In Twenty Years or So
  5. Holy Shit

(b) highlights

  • Three words: JOSH. U. A.
  • Where do I begin…everything. Just everything. The beginning, the middle, the end
  • That setlist. The whole thing seemed to be constructed in three parts, somehow representing a bit from each album and telling a wider narrative with interweaving narratives, god I wanna puke, it was great
  • The Kings Theatre. Holy shit, what a place. It was staggering how impressive it was in person. The high ceiling, the seats, the acoustics. Fantastic.
  • I had amazing seats: dead center and maybe 20 rows back. I got to see the whole stage set-up while feeling still so close. It was beautiful.
  • The lighting was next-level and whoever constructed it needs a raise
  • Josh was just…wow. Wow. Josh.

(c) lowlights

  • The venue was hard to get to, but I am reaching so hard here, I might throwing my back out. The night was perfect.

(d) overall thoughts

I’ll admit, I was looking forward to this show for months. The first time I saw Father John Misty live was last summer at Gov Ball. Even then, I had been listening to his albums and was super hyped for that set, which totally killed. I went into that show excited and a fan of his music. I left saying, “When he comes back, I’ll follow him anywhere.” So I guess that’s how I ended up seeing Josh three nights in a row. This was night one.

I’ve written my thoughts on Pure Comedy elsewhere, but to sum it up: it’s damn good. It’s complicated, it’s sad, it’s raw, it’s great, it’s too much, it’s just right, it’s an existential nightmare. It’s a bit like Josh himself. To say that the show – particularly the first third -that really functioned as a mini-Pure Comedy microcosm is an understatement. We were taken to Pure Comedy‘s depths almost instantly. I know Josh initially conceived this tour as a musical, or at least a more traditional theatre type of performance, and you could really feel that in the first third. Every word sung felt heavy with meaning and a sort of permanence. Every note was relevant and every movement deliberate.

I was so incredibly shocked and moved by “When The God Of Love Returns They’ll Be Hell To Pay” – a song that I had neither hated nor exceptionally loved the first twenty or so times I heard it. But seeing it live made it click in such a real way that I’ll never forget that performance. “The Memo” is my favorite song on the new album and I was ecstatic when he played it. It lived up to all my expectations and more. Getting to hear more of Fear Fun is always a treat and we all know Honeybear is timeless art.

I think the most memorable part of the show will be how, for the first time in quite literally my whole concert life, by the time we got to the end of “I Love You, Honeybear,” I genuinely thought the show was over. Because it felt over. It felt perfect. The thought of an encore didn’t even occur to me. I seriously had the thought, “What else could he even play? He played everything and it was perfect” even though I know intimately the depths of his discography. But then he came back and played more. And again, at the end of every song, I thought, “That was perfect. This could end here and I’d be happy.” But he kept going. And he it kept getting better and better. Somewhere just before the key change in “Holy Shit,” I was crying.

As a whole, the show was perfectly presented in the best setting and, above all, beautiful. Josh directed the crowd several times throughout the night to either sit or stand according to whatever song he was playing and there is no reason at all that should’ve worked for someone with an average fan-age younger than 60, but it did. He was the perfect conductor and I felt totally at his whim in the orchestra.

Bottom line: Father John Misty is a vision, a poet, a performer not worthy of our time. This performance is one that will stick with me for years to come and I’ll never not see this man live if he comes to town. If I could be so lucky.