A very humbled Justin Vernon, known to us as Bon Iver (pronounced bohn eevair; French for “good winter”) dazzled a sold out crowd at Berkeley’s Greek Theater last night. “We are very lucky,” Vernon told the crowd as he tried to explain the magnitude of this night to his fans.
Although the perfect acoustics and blinking city skyline of the venue made the performance feel immense, it was Vernon and his eight band members that delivered an almost religious experience to a crowd that surrendered to Vernon’s changing rhythms and moods.
The show began with “Perth,” which quickly reminded us of Vernon’s incredible vocal talents. “Calgary,” the hit single from his most recent album Bon Iver, was another early show stopper, with perfect synthesizer sounds. As the crowd swayed in silence, this is when they realized that they were in for an unforgettable experience.
The show really picked up when he performed “Blood Bank,” prefaced with the mention that the song “was about getting stuck in some shit.” Backed by lively red lighting, the band truly rocked out on this one and we saw a more aggressive side surface.
The next attention-grabber was “Towers,” a song about “virginity and non-virginity” as Vernon said, followed by a beautifully gentle solo of “Re: Stacks” that likely drew a tear or two from many members of the crowd. Vernon went on to pick us back up again with the yacht rock, Steve Winwood-esqe track “Beth/Rest,” followed by “The Wolves (Act I & II)” that ended with the crowd screaming “what might have been lost” against blinding white lights.
The encore was just as perfect, with the melodic “Skinny Love,” creating an indescribable energy in the air. The show ended with the band wowing us once again with “For Emma” as they jammed in perfect synchronization and let their fans loose with a feeling of gratitude and joy.
Congratulations, Bon Iver, on a magical performance that left us all humbled by your sound.
Photo Credit: http://www.facebook.com/boniver
Ashley Smith is a writer and music lover from San Francisco. You can check out what she is grooving to at www.thegrooveisontheloose.com.