Andrew Bird must have felt much more relaxed playing at the historic Orpheum Theater in Boston than he did two days prior at Carnegie Hall. After a solo introduction of looping his violin, whistling and plucking, Bird stripped off his black boots, down to a pair of hot pink socks. Surrounded by 8-foot tall gold-painted gramophone looking speakers (vaguely Dr. Seuss-ish), Bird began with the woodsy-ballad “Natural Disaster.”
His backing trio seemed reluctant at first to add much color during the first three songs, creating for a bit of a slow start. Bird was clearly the center of attention, but the part-time farmer from Illinois would have none of it. With a spark finally lit, the band shined on all four cylinders through 2007′s “Plasticities.” The song got a crowd of females in the back of the theater onto their feet, as the rest of the audience sat transfixed on the brilliant Bird whirling his way through the song’s jam. Punctuated by a custom built spinning Janus-speaker horn, Bird’s crystalline violin splashed across the theater in a serene display of music wizardry.
Coming from a classically-trained background, Bird clearly shines the brightest when he has his violin at hand. His acute attention to detail is hard not to notice, as his latest album’s production attests to (and his blogging on the New York Times about its creation). Bird restarted “Imitosis” three times because the violin part he looped just didn’t meet his high musical tenor. Some musicians may have looked aside and gone on, but for Bird he could accept no less than right on.
The set also included a re-worked version of “The Confession” from his 1999 “Oh! Granduer” album under the name of “Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire.” The frontman from the opening Swedish-folk rockers Dear, Lonely jumped up on stage to join Bird on vocals and tambourine.
Set List: Carrion Suite/Master Sigh/Masterswarm/Effigy/Oh No/Plasticities/The Privateers/Not a Robot, But a Ghost/Tenuousness/Fitz and the Dizzy Spells/Imitosis/Anonanimals/Souvarian/Tables and Chairs Encore: Why?/Fake Palindromes