I'm not the world's biggest Indigo Girls fan. Their records sometimes leave me feeling very sleepy. But give me a chance to see them live, and I'm there, because they bring some kind of fire to their live performances that their recorded work rarely approaches.
I've never seen them anywhere but San Francisco, so I don't know if it's true, but I've been told by many obsessed Girls fans that they are known for doing their best shows here. I can't quite imagine how they could have been any better than they were at their Nov. 9 and 10 shows at San Francisco's Warfield. (I wasn't at the Nov. 10 show, but a friend who was assured me it was actually better than the Nov. 9 show I attended. She also brought me the handwritten set list from the stage, thanks, Robin!)
Emily came out wearing an AC-DC t-shirt, which amused me perhaps more than it should have. They opened with the country-tinged "Little Perennials," the single off their current album Despite Our Differences. The folky "Pendulum Swinger" followed, which made the fans happy. Neither of those are songs I particularly care for, although I like them a lot more live than on CD. They then went into "Heartache for Everyone" from 2004's overproduced All That We Let In. This song is the perfect example of one I actively loathe on CD but enjoyed tremendously live.
Still, it was "Power of Two" from Swamp Ophelia (1994) that marked the moment the show caught fire for me.
I've got the complete set list after the jump, but the highlight of the show was, without question, "Kid Fears," sung with Three5Human's Trina Meade - this one literally brought the house down. Amy and Emily do magic with their voices. Even if you hate their music, you can't deny it. But that magic got magnified a hundred times when Trina joined them.
The Indigo Girls have incredible musicianship, and have been performing together for over 25 years now. They talk little to the audience, or to each other, but there's a palpable sense of connection anyway. They may be the only band I'd unhesitatingly take friends who mostly only like alt rock to see, because when they're at their best, they transcend genre and just make music.
The venue is good and the sound was mostly great. I could even hear most of the lyrics. But whoever set the drum sound levels should get their ears checked, especially in the second half - it was a mess.
Set list after the jump.
Set List from the Thursday, November 9th Show at the Warfield in San Francisco:
Heartache for Everyone
Power of Two
Three County Highway
Get Out the Map
Rock & Roll Heaven's Gate
Shame on You
I Believe in Love
The Wood Song
Money Made You Mean
Lay My Head Down
Kid Fears (with Trina Meade of Three5Human)
Fill it Up Again
Let it Ring (Amy with Bitch)
Closer to Fine (with Trina and Bitch)
Midnight Train to Georgia (with Trina and Three5Human)