I think everyone can agree that there’s a fundamental problem with the way Ticketmaster sells tickets is that true fans often get beat to the seats by “bots” or people in the business of buying tickets just for resale on outlets like Stubhub. For very high demand concerts, I pretty much am resigned to the fact that I’m not going to get a ticket even though I’m logged in and requesting within the first second of the presale or public sale open time.
Imagine my surprise to find that I was able to get a ticket, yes just one because I didn’t want to push my luck, to the one-time concert produced by T Bone Burnett (Oh Brother Where Art Thou) to promote the music in the upcoming Coen Brother’s film, “Inside Llewyn Davis.” The proceeds from this concert benefited the National Recording Preservation Foundation. The lineup not only included several of the cast members who are featured singing in the film and on the soundtrack – Oscar Isaac (lead role), Carey Mulligan, Garett Hedlund, Stark Sands (Kinky Boots), and John Goodman – but several big name musicians (see poster above). Alas, no Justin Timberlake because he had a concert in London, but his self-labeled “understudy” was there to fill in: Elvis Costello.
Of course my favorite part of the night was when Marcus Mumford performed with several other artists on two Bob Dylan songs, an Irish folksong, and John Fahey’s “Cornbread When I’m Hungry,” in addition to the song he collaborated on with Oscar Isaac for the soundtrack, “Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song).” Aside from the Mumford songs, I was blown away by the Punch Brothers, who ended up jokingly being the house band for the night. Lake Street Dive is one to keep an eye on as well, though their sound is more jazzy than folk. Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops performed solo and got one of, if not the only, full house standing ovation for her performance of a traditional Gaelic song with the Punch Brothers. Good news, everyone who was not able to go to the concert can see it on Showtime this December 13th.
The full setlist was:
“Tumbling Tumbleweeds”- The Punch Brothers
“Rye Whiskey”- The Punch Brothers
“Will The Circle Be Unbroken”- Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings with The Punch Brothers
“That’s The Way It Goes”- Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings
“Midnight Special”- Willie Watson with Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings
“I Hear Them All/This Land Is Your Land”- Dave Rawlings with Gillian Welch and Willie Watson
“The Last Thing On My Mind”- Stark Sands with The Punch Brothers
“New York”- The Milk Carton Kids
“Tomorrow Will Be Kinder”- The Secret Sisters
“You Go Down Smooth”- Lake Street Dive
“Please, Mr. Kennedy”- Elvis Costello with Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, T-Bone Burnett and The Punch Brothers
“Four Strong Winds”- Conor Oberst with Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings
“A Man Named Truth”- Conor Oberst with Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings
“Tomorrow Is A Long Time”- Keb’ Mo’
“Blues Run The Game”- Colin Meloy
“I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night”- Joan Baez, Colin Meloy, and Gillian Welch
“All My Mistakes”- The Avett Brothers
“That’s How I Got To Memphis”- The Avett Brothers
“Road Full Of Doubt/Head Full Of Promise”- The Avett Brothers
“Did You Hear John Hurt?”- Jack White
“We’re Going To Be Friends”- Jack White
“Water Boy”- Rhiannon Giddens
Gaelic Traditional- Rhiannon Giddens with The Punch Brothers
“Hang Me, Oh Hang Me”- Oscar Isaac with The Punch Brothers
“Green, Green Rocky Road”- Oscar Isaac
“Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”- Patti Smith
“People Have The Power”- Patti Smith with Joan Baez, The Avett Brothers, Dave Rawlings, and Lake Street Dive
“Rock Salt and Nails”- Bob Neuwirth with The Punch Brothers
“The Auld Triangle”- The Punch Brothers with Marcus Mumford
“Go To Sleep, Little Baby”- Gillian Welch, Carey Mulligan, and Rhiannon Giddens
“500 Miles”- Elvis Costello, Carey Mulligan and Stark Sands with The Punch Brothers and Secret Sisters
“Which Side Are You On?”- Elvis Costello and Joan Baez
“House Of The Rising Sun”- Joan Baez
“Give Me Cornbread When I’m Hungry”- Joan Baez and Marcus Mumford
“I Was Young When I Left Home”- Marcus Mumford
“Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song)”- Marcus Mumford and Oscar Isaac with The Punch Brothers
“Farewell”- Marcus Mumford with The Punch Brothers
FYI…I really wanted to share some amazing videos I took of the concert that embody the spirit and energy of the night, but I’m getting a lot of threats from Warner Brothers Music about posting them on YouTube. Maybe someday I’ll be able to add them in an update to this post.
I read that this benefit concert may be just the beginning of what could become the next “Oh Brother Where Are Thou” album, which sold 8 million copies and was part of the last Burnett/Coen Brothers film collaboration. Supposedly Jack White is going to tour with Burnett to promote the growth of new acoustic music. Regardless, the music was fantastic and the people watching was equally as fun. I got to “hob nob” with several TV and movie industry people like Paul Rudd, John Slattery, John Gallagher Jr. Taryn Killam (SNL), Glen Close, Julianne Moore, Frances McDormand, Joel Coen, Alex Karpovsky (Girls), Mare Winningham, then the others who you just couldn’t place but you definitely recognized them. I heard Jesse Eisenberg and Zooey Deschanel were also in the audience, but I did not see them.
Of course, this concert was in New York City; and when I go to New York City, I don’t like to sit on my butt. So after a morning bus ride up, I arrived in time to catch a matinee performance of the current Broadway show, First Date, starring Zachary Levi (“Chuck”) and Krysta Rodriguez (“Smash”). The show was cute, not necessarily Tony caliber, but I will say I was really surprised at the richness of Zachary Levi’s voice. I didn’t even know he could sing! To be honest, his voice (and the others in the small cast) overpowered Krysta as the Broadway veteran in the show. I was amused by all of the stereotypical traits of a first date scenario the writer was able to incorporate – hey, they are called stereotypes for a reason because they happen to all of us out there in the dating world! Most memorable song: “First Impression.”
It was Zachary Levi’s birthday, so at the stage door the cast asked everyone to surprise him with a rendition of the classic “Happy Birthday” when he came out.