The show started promptly at 8:30 with the opening band, Bowerbirds, who played an amazing set. They really got the crowd on their side when they said that we were a much better audience than Toronto. Why is Montreal superior to Toronto in so many ways? Anyways, after a very entertaining set, it was Bon Iver’s turn to wow the Montreal crowd. I had high expectations going in, and they were definately met if not surpassed. Lead singer Justin Vernon isn’t alone in a secluded cabin in the woods of Wisconsin anymore. He was joined on stage by a band of three (one of whom is a member of Bowerbirds). It was kind of interesting to hear some of the songs off of his outstanding debut LP, For Emma, Forever Ago, with a full band, sometimes all drumming at the same time while Vernon played guitar. Some of the highlights in this set were when he got the whole audience to sing “what might have been lost” at the end of the song “The Wolves (Act I and II)”. Also when Vernon thanked the audience for paying attention to Bowerbirds, unlike the people in Toronto who were apparently too involved in their conversations to listen. And then the encore was just amazing. After singing happy birthday to Mike, the newly 21 Bon Iver band member, Vernon led his band and the three Bowerbirds to the front of the stage where they did a cover of an excellent song by Nashville singer/songwriter, Sarah Siskind. It was the last song of the night, and may have been my favourite moment of the night. My only complaint about this show was that it wasn’t longer. Not that it was a particularily short set, there’s just never too much Bon Iver. Thank you Bon Iver and Bowerbirds for an amazing night.
Here are some terrible quality videos with decent to good sound quality:
Blood Bank (New Song):
Lovin’s For Fools (Sarah Siskind Cover):