JOANNA NEWSOM + ROBIN PECKNOLD @ THE ORPHEUM THEATRE
Photos and recap by Maximilian Ho
Halfway into her show at the Orpheum Theatre, Joanna Newsom took a break to tune her harp during which she gave the audience the opportunity to ask her questions. “Who designed your dress? When did you start playing harp? What is your song “Cosmia” about? What’s your favorite animal? What did you have for lunch? What is your favorite flower? What was your last dream about?” A few answers that got the room laughing were:
Audience: Are you ever going to go to Alaska?
JN: I’d like that. You may have bought the only record I’ve ever sold in Alaska – but I’d love to play a show for you sometime.
Audience: How do you remember all your lyrics?
JN: I often don’t. I’ve messed up like six or seven tonight already.
Audience: What do you think about Donald Trump?
JN: Oooh. Pretty bad guy. Pretty big piece of shit.
Audience: How many hippies does it take to screw a lightbulb?
JN: Hippies don’t screw in light bulbs. They screw in dirty sleeping bags!
During the enchanting song “Divers,” Newsom’s fingers plucked away at her harp with the fluid motion of crashing waves as the notes rippled throughout the cavernous theatre like rain drops during a storm. Newsom was joined onstage by performers who played multiple instruments, depending on the song arrangement, including her sister Emily who played cello most of the night. The audience was so quiet and attentive at times, that the sound of a plastic cup being dropped could be heard throughout the gorgeous theatre. Primarily known for her harp playing abilities Newsom, also performed a fair amount of songs on the piano including “Soft as Chalk” with its bluesy passages. The two hour performance also included earlier material like “Peach Plum Pear” with its lush chords and beautiful melodies. Newsom wrapped up the show with the audience clapping along to “Baby Birch.”
Singer songwriter Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes) dazzled the audience with his beautiful classical guitar rendition of Pietro Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana.” He showed up again on the last few songs of Newsom’s set, along with Amber Coffman of Dirty Projectors.